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Worried about whether your vote will count? Here’s how to submit a ballot without using the mail

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis (Getty Images)

With the United States Postal Service mired in financial issues and the COVID-19 pandemic making people more hesitant to go to polling locations to vote, many are worried about how their absentee ballots (those requested by voters to be sent in the mail) and mail-in ballots (ballots some states send out on their own) can be counted in the upcoming primary and general elections.

Fortunately, there are other ways people can make sure their ballots get to the right place so they can be counted, according to CBS News.

Have you considered the following?

Early voting in-person

This is where voters are allowed to cast votes in person at a time prior to the election to avoid crowds.

Restrictions and types of early voting vary by state, but 40 states and the District of Columbia do offer some form of early voting.

To find out more information by state on early voting, click or tap here.

Turning in ballots at a local election office or polling location

Just about every state allows voters to bring ballots in person to turn them in at local election offices. Those offices can be found on your state’s Board of Elections or Secretary of State websites.

If you’re not close to a local election office to turn in a ballot, some states allow ballots to be turned in to alternate locations or the polling locations.

There are 11 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Washington) and the District of Columbia that allow voters to drop off ballots at any in-person voting location in a county, according to the NCSL.

New Hampshire and Vermont allow voters to return ballots to a polling place.

There are 26 states, along with the District of Columbia, that allow someone else to return ballots on behalf of voters, while 10 states (Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma) allow an absentee ballot to be returned by a voter’s family member.

Visit the NCSL website for further details on each state’s ballot collection.

Drop boxes

These are special containers that allow voters to drop off absentee or mail-in ballots in sealed envelopes. They are monitored by cameras, are often available 24 hours a day and are commonly located at city or county office buildings, libraries, community centers or college campuses.

The number of boxes do vary by state, so check your state’s Board of Elections or Secretary of State websites to see the drop box locations.


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