Politics2020 Election


Vote Smarter 2020: Will You Be Notified If Mail-In Ballot Is Rejected?

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 12:37 PM, Oct 07, 2020

If your mail-in ballot gets rejected, will you be notified?

"A lot of states allow voters to track their ballots and they can find out whether they've been sent and received. But only about 15 states, actually tell you whether it's been accepted or rejected," said Lonna Atkeson, the director of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy at the University of New Mexico.

It's a voter's responsibility to diligently fill out their mail-in ballot and return envelope correctly. But at least 20 states notify voters if their ballot is rejected, giving them the chance the fix the error. In North Carolina and New York, this process is new.

"It's going to happen in North Carolina, this time for the first time. People should have the opportunity to correct what usually are just small mistakes," said Bob Brandon, the president of the Fair Elections Center.

States vary in how they notify absentee voters of a problem. To protect your ballot, experts say you should make sure your local elections officials have multiple ways to contact you.

"You probably saw on your absentee ballot request or maybe on your registration form, they were asking for your cell phone number and your email address. And I know that a lot of voters are concerned about giving that kind of information. The reason they need that information is for this 'curing process' so they can get you quickly so that you can you can correct your ballot error or your valid or invalid error and get counted for Election Day," said Matthew Weil, the director of the Election Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.