Politics2020 Election


Vote Smarter 2020: Tracking Your Mail-In Ballot

Newsy's Vote Smarter 2020 aims to provide you with all the information you'll need to safely and successfully cast your ballot this year.
Posted at 3:16 PM, Sep 21, 2020

Can you track your mail-in ballot?

"Every absentee ballot has a unique barcode on it that connects to you the voter, they, they know where it came from, they can track it. So the ballot that you get, while it protects your identity when you actually submit the ballot, it is trackable," said David Hawkings, the editor in chief of The Fulcrum.

Federal law requires all states to provide ballot tracking for military and overseas voters, and at least 44 states and Washington, DC have some kind of online ballot-tracking system for everyone else.

"Now some states will allow voters to track their ballot the way they would track UPS package coming to their home or being sent to someone else," said Barry Burden, the director of the elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

And though the level of detail provided varies, but it can give voters some peace of mind. 

"From the voter side, they can verify that someone hasn't taken their ballot from their mailbox, intercepted it, stolen that or something else and marked it. And if that's the case, the ballot can be canceled and a new one issued. Just like when a fraudulent check is discovered," said Burden.