Mail-in mistakes: how to make sure your ballot and vote count

Oct 31, 2018, 3:37 AM | Updated: 7:47 am
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PROVO — We have less than a week before Election Day, and the deadline to mail your ballots is quickly approaching.  Some election officials say there are some common mistakes they’ve seen several people make.

mail in ballot election deadline

The postmark deadline to mail in a ballot is 5 p.m. the day before Election Day.

If someone is going mail their ballot, the hard and fast deadline is that it has to be postmarked by 5 p.m. the day before Election Day.  Why 5 p.m.?

“The Post Office has told us to remind everybody 5 o’clock, because they can’t guarantee Monday’s postmark after 5 o’clock,” Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson says.

There are occasions when a voter will accidentally mark the wrong candidate, and they’ll call Thompson’s office for a replacement.  However, he says the most common mistake people make with their ballots is forgetting to sign it.

“That’s how we validate.  We match their signature against the signature we have on file on their driver’s license record or their previous voter registration,” Thompson says.

Another mistake people make is assuming the U.S. Postal Service will forward their ballot to their new address after they’ve moved.  Thompson says the U.S.P.S. is not allowed to forward ballots, by law, even if that person asks them to.

“People will call us and ask, ‘How come I didn’t get the ballot?’” he says.  “In fact, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple weeks is just responding to those types of questions.”

Utah is a historically Republican state, and Thompson says mail-in ballots tend to follow the same trends as the more traditional ones.  However, he has seen late voters drastically swing the results of presidential elections on a national level.  He says the early votes in the 2016 election were leaning Democrat.

“Republican voters tended to wait until the last minute,” according to Thompson.

Some counties have paid for postage on ballots, but not all of them have, so make sure your ballot has the proper postage, if necessary, to ensure it gets where it needs to go.

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Mail-in mistakes: how to make sure your ballot and vote count