Friday, October 22, 2010

Absentee ballots, early voting, and other voting issues

I've been getting emails and Facebook messages from readers who are confused about the law regarding absentee ballots, early voting, and other election issues.  I thought it would be easiest to just put up a post to address the most frequently asked questions and hopefully help everyone make sure they get to vote this year.

If you requested an absentee ballot, you can still mail it in.  There is plenty of time for it to get to the Supervisor of Elections ("SOE").  As we get closer to November 2, 2010, you may want to consider hand-delivering it  directly to the SOE, because mail delays do sometimes happen and if your ballot doesn't arrive on time, your vote will not count.

If you prefer, you can take your absentee ballot to an early voting location and turn it in there.  If you want to vote on a regular ballot during early voting, you will still need to  bring your absentee ballot with you, the procedure is that first, you turn in your absentee ballot so the SOE can void it and they will issue you a regular ballot.

All registered voters can participate in early voting.  It's not just for people who requested absentee ballots and you didn't have to sign up on any list for it.  You can go to any early voting location in your county.

If you still have your absentee ballot on November 2nd, you can either hand deliver it to the SOE or take your absentee ballot with you to your regular precinct. You cannot turn in absentee ballots at your regular precinct on Election Day, instead they will void the absentee ballot and issue you a regular ballot to vote.  If you don't bring the absentee ballot with you, the SOE will check the records to see if your absentee ballot was already turned in.  Depending on the circumstances, they may require you to vote with a provisional ballot. (Remember too, on Election Day, you must go to your assigned precinct, or you will only be able to vote with a provisional ballot.)

And while I know that 99.99% of y'all are good, honest people, if anyone out there thinks they can be clever and get an absentee ballot and then show up at the polls and vote again, the SOE knows exactly who requests absentee ballots, who sends them in, who votes during early voting each day, and who votes on the actual election day.

If your name shows up on more than one voter list, they will catch you.  Voter fraud is a crime.  Don't even think about it.

If anyone has any questions about voting, absentee ballots, or early voting, post in the comments below and I'll do my best to help you out.

Now, get out there and VOTE!  Early voting is happening NOW!  Haven't made up your mind yet?  Here's my recommendations

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