Understanding absentee voting, mail-in voting and early voting

by Sep 15, 2020Blog0 comments

Happy Tuesday!  Today is September 15, 2020, we are now 7 weeks away from Election Day.  In some states, thanks to early voting, election day begins later this month!   This week’s voting reminder begins by first directing your attention to watching a short video included below:
Understanding absentee voting, mail-in voting and early voting
The video above, is a segue to a topic that I want to highlight in this week – The Postal Service’s (USPS) postcard about voting by mail.
Some of you, like myself, may have recently received a USPS postcard in the mail about voting by mail in the 2020 election.
If you haven’t received the USPS postcard, or don’t remember receiving it, here’s what the postcard looks like:
The postcard itself has been the subject of controversy among state elections officials across the country, due to information content that’s confusing or perhaps even misleading.  In fact, the State of Colorado’s top elections official, filed a lawsuit against the Postal Service over the postcard issue, in which a federal judge granted Colorado a temporary restraining order against the USPS from mailing the postcard to more Colorado voters.  Read the Colorado Public Radio (CPR) news article at https://www.cpr.org/2020/09/12/colorado-secretary-of-state-sues-the-u-s-postal-service-over-election-mailer/ for more information.

In essence, the controversy centers on two points mentioned in the USPS postcard, that state elections officials believe will confuse people about the vote by mail process in their respective states:
USPS Tip: “Request your mail-in ballot (often called “absentee” ballot) at least 15 days before Election Day.”
In actuality: Some states will proactively send ballots to their registered voters because of COVID-19, or because they’re “vote by mail only” states.  In this scenario, voters do not need to make any ballot requests!
USPS Tip: “We recommend you mail your ballot at least 7 days before Election Day.”
In actuality: Mail your completed ballot ASAP!  Some states may also provide secure ballot drop box locations, and/or provide in-person options to submit your mail-in ballot.

If you’re voting by mail, the key takeaway to grasp, is this:
  • Seek out accurate & trusted sources of information from your state’s Secretary of State office, or from your county election office
U.S. Vote Foundation: State Voting Requirements & Information / Ballot Return Options (50 state guide)
Everything You Need to Vote
File an Online Complaint: USPS Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG)
Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE)
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) for U.S. military members & overseas U.S. citizens