Whether you have registered for a mail-in ballot from your state, intend to submit a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) or will send in both – or even if you are voting via email – it is critical to read the instructions first before completing your ballot. No one wants a disqualified ballot!
Disqualification of Mail-In Ballots
Mail-in/absentee ballots are disqualified by election officials for multiple reasons, depending on each state’s guidelines. Below are the most common reasons for disqualification of a mail-in/absentee ballot:
- Late arrival – Make sure you mail your ballot in time to arrive by your state’s deadline, not just postmarked by the deadline. Click here to learn your state’s deadline.
DA Greece recommends you mail your ballot by October 3 to ensure it will be processed through both the Greek and the US postal systems to arrive by your state’s deadline. After that, you may want to pay for a courier.
- Missing postmark – In many states, a missing postmark immediately disqualifies your ballot. CNN had a report on it. We recommend that you ask the postal clerk at your ταχυδρομείο to frank your ballot in front of you and take a picture of it with your phone cam.
Missing signature(s) – Make sure that you sign the affidavit or inner ballot envelope that may be included in your state’s ballot package. Some states require 1 or 2 witness attestations with their signatures and addresses. See this link to learn your state’s verification requirements. Please check here for any COVID-19 changes your state may have implemented to its requirements.
- Signature does not match signature on file – Election officials compare the signature submitted on the affidavit/envelope with the one on file for the voter. Make sure your signature is the same as on your original voter registration card or your driver’s license (for states with license voter registration). Only 15 states allow correction of signature discrepancies.
- Envelope/ballot tears/stray marks/mistakes – If you’ve ordered your ballot sent by regular mail, be careful when opening your ballot package not to damage the contents. Also, take care when completing the ballot. Use any specific color ink required and DO NOT CROSS OUT or CORRECT. Follow directions carefully on sealing the return envelope(s). In some states, the use of sellotape/staples to seal and/or repair an envelope may disqualify the ballot.
Likewise, if you’re receiving your ballot by email or fax and printing the return mailing label on paper, glue it on an envelope. Avoid tape and staples!
This election, mail-in/absentee ballots can make the difference. You can make the difference.
In 2016, three key states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—determined the 2016 election by fewer than 80,000 combined votes. In Michigan, it was just 10,704 votes. See a CBS News report for more on this. Every vote counts!
Many states still accept registrations, some until Election Day. If you haven’t done so already, check your state’s deadline and fill out the registration application at Vote From Abroad!
If you need help registering or completing your mail-in/absentee ballot, please contact DA Greece, or take advantage of DA Global’s Live 1-on-1 Registration Assistance on Zoom, every Sunday, midnight to midnight US Eastern time.
Report compiled by Stephanie Nichols