Because of the COVID-19-related expansion of absentee voting this year a lot of people are voting by mail for the first time. People are rightly worried that they will fill out the forms incorrectly and their vote won’t be counted, so my co-District Leader Kim Moscaritolo and I threw together some more detailed instructions and a graphic explaining what needs to be filled out.
- First, fill in the ballot. You must use only blue or black ink, you must fill in the bubbles entirely, and you must not make any other marks or tears on the ballot paper (same as if you were voting in person).
- There will be a square box on the ballot itself saying “election district information.” Leave this blank. It is for internal use by the BOE only. On the ballot itself you must only fill in the bubbles near the candidates for whom you intend to vote. Nothing else.
- Second, fold the ballot and put it in the “small” envelope. The packet they sent you should have included two return envelopes: a smaller one with no postage and a larger, postage-paid envelope.
- Third, sign and date the back of the “small” envelope. Your vote will not count if you forget to sign here.
- The back of the envelope should have an “official absentee ballot” box asking for personal information. Filling this out is optional – it won’t affect your ballot one way or the other. Next to that box is a typed-up box with your personal voting information (your name, address, assembly district, etc. – it’s blacked out in the graphic below) so the BOE will have everything they need if you choose to leave it blank.
- Finally, seal and stuff the “small” envelope in the “big” envelope. Seal the big envelope, and mail it. It is postage-paid so you do not need a stamp. Drop it off in a mailbox and you are good to go.
- Even if the envelope says “place stamp here” you do not need a stamp. USPS policy is to deliver all mail-in ballots regardless of whether or not the postage has been paid and the BOE reimburses them for the cost.