Skin Deep

Everything You Need to Know About Your Mail-In Ballot

by Michaela d'Artois

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Skin Deep

Everything You Need to Know About Your Mail-In Ballot

Listen up — this is important.

As we ease into election season, it is clear that the President will go to increasingly worrisome lengths to protect his position. Many U.S. citizens fear their wellbeing is hanging in the balance on November 3rd. For those who vote by mail, it feels even trickier to maneuver the hurdles we currently face. We’ve got the 411 on how to make sure your mail-in ballot gets counted, and just WTH is going on with the USPS. 

WTH Is Going On With The USPS?

Remember when those little blue mailboxes began disappearing from our street corners? And when our President poked at the legitimacy of voting by mail by calling it a magnet for fraudulence? And when he appointed Louis DeJoy, an American businessman, to be the 75th Postmaster General of the USPS even though he had never worked a day for the agency? And when together they announced they would cut funding to the USPS by $25 billion? All of these are ways the President has attempted to silence the people’s voices in hopes of remaining in his position of power. 

Let’s be clear: an attack on the United States Postal Service is an attack on democracy. It’s an attack on communities of color and low-income families. It is nothing less than voter suppression. Exercising our right to vote has never been more convoluted or more necessary. Now that we’ve established that, let’s get clear on how we can avoid mishaps with our precious ballots and support the USPS while doing so.

Does Voting By Mail = Voter Fraud?

Trump claims that voting by mail increases voter fraud — a claim that has been disproved time and time again. In fact, it’s extremely rare to see fraud take place with mail-in ballots. It is actually much safer to vote on pen and paper rather than electronically at the polls, as physical ballots cannot be hacked. This is nothing more than a fear tactic. Know that your mail-in ballot is safe in the hands of your local mailman.

“Exercising our right to vote has never been more convoluted or more necessary.”

Can They Reject My Mail-In Ballot?

Ballots have already begun trickling in, and the fear that yours may not be counted as legitimate is a real thing. It was reported that 550,000 absentee ballots were denied in this year’s primaries. However, there are a few ways to minimize the likelihood of this happening. 

First and foremost, register to vote. The deadlines to register are coming up quickly (in many states as early as October 4th), so don’t wait! If you have registered, double-check your registration. You can never be too sure. Once you receive your ballot, make sure you fill it out correctly. Use this resource to guide you through the process according to your state’s guidelines. Most importantly, do not forget to sign your ballot — this is the number one reason ballots get rejected.

How Can I Support The USPS?

Voting by mail directly supports the USPS. Every ballot cast equals funding for the postal service. If you want to go above and beyond, join Vote Forward and write letters directly to voters to help increase voter turnout. 

How Do I Make Sure My Mail-In Ballot Gets In On Time?

You know what they say about the early bird: she uses her voter privilege to dismantle toxic governmental systems. In order for your ballot to arrive on time, plan on sending it by October 20th. Check your state’s deadlines as well, so you can send in your ballot with plenty of time to spare. For extra insurance, place 2 first-class stamps on your ballot instead of utilizing the business reply postage provided. This way, your letter will not be included with regular bulk mail and will be delivered faster. And check to see if your state offers ballot tracking — if so, sign up and follow to make sure your vote is counted.

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