Common Mail-in Ballot Mistakes

The US Election Assistance Commission found that nearly a quarter of all voters (33 million) cast ballots by mail in the 2016 presidential election. Of those, 318,000 (1%) were rejected.

In the 2020 primary elections, over half a million primary ballots were disqualified.

Protect your vote by taking steps to avoid these mistakes:

1

Improperly filling out your ballot

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE:

If you think you made a mistake when filling out the ballot, call your local election office and ask them what to do. Do not try to fix the mistake on your own.

2

Forgetting to sign your envelope

Every state requires a voter to sign an affidavit on the outside of the envelope containing their mail ballot. This is the MOST COMMON reason ballots are disqualified.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE:

3

Using a different signature from what your state
has on file

31 states use signature verification to confirm the authenticity of voted ballots.

The signature used is the voter's most recent signature on file with the election's office,
the Department of Motor Vehicles, or another government agency.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE:

4

Not including required additional documentation

Some states require you to take additional steps, like having a signature from a witness
to authenticate your ballot: Alabama (2 witnesses), Alaska (1 witness), Virginia (1 witness),
Wisconsin (1 witness).

Some states require additional postage on their return envelope.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE:

5

Sending your ballot back too late

Ballots received after the deadline do not get counted.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE:

6

Taking a selfie with your completed ballot

Taking a photograph of your completed ballot can get your vote disqualified in many states.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE: