Warning #1: Your absentee or mail-in vote might not count

Voters considering the Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November and legislators considering what to do if it passes, need to pay heed to the facts and experience of early voting in other state. Common sense is not always a reliable guide.

Did you know that when you vote absentee or mail-in, you might be disenfranchised at a much higher rate than if you voted at the polls?

There are three major reasons that we are aware of:

  • Your ballot might not be received in time to be counted.  It might be delayed or actually lost in the mail. In Connecticut such votes must be received by 8:00pm to be counted.
  • You might have made a mistake in the somewhat complicated process of placing your ballot inside outer and inner envelopes, or forgetting to properly fill out the envelopes. The law requires that ballots  with certain errors be rejected.
  • You might have overvoted i.e. voted for more candidates than allowed. This can happen when you make an inadvertent mark in a bubble or if you miscount the number of votes in a vote for multiple race. Such errors are caught for you when you vote in a polling, where the error is explained and you are offered a chance to vote again on a new ballot.

Here is a recent article on a study covering some of those problems, in California where mail-in voting is an increasing factor in elections California: Mail-in-ballot rejections analyzed in study | <read>

Voting by mail surpassed 50 percent of votes cast in a general election in California for the first time in 2012. A new study shows that nearly 69,000 mailed ballots, or about 1 percent, were not counted, and why they were rejected. The top three reasons mail-in ballots were rejected: not arriving on time, not being signed or because signatures could not be verified…

Romero said. “People have taken the time to study the issues, fill out the ballot and mail or deliver it. They trust it is going to be counted.”

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