3 most common early voting mistakes and how to avoid them in 2020

Local News

Editors Note: Shawnee County early voting will start on Monday, Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Election Office.

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – There are 18 days until election day and nearly 21 million Americans have already voted early, according to a report from the Associated Press.

“I’ve voted every year since I was 18. I’m 77 years old,” said Shawnee County voter Judy Billings. “I just want to make sure my vote gets counted so I’m here today to turn in my mail-in ballot. I got it today, filled it out, and it’s going inside.”

If you’re voting early with a mail-in ballot like Billings, the Shawnee County Election Commissioner Andrew Howell said to expect it in your mail box in the next day or two if you haven’t gotten it already.

When you get your ballot in, Howell said to pay close attention to three big things.

  1. “Make sure that you have a signature on your envelope. That’s probably the single biggest one,” Howell said.
  2. “Make sure that you put the same address that you registered as, on your envelope.”

If you don’t sign your ballot the first time, or the signature doesn’t match what’s on their file, officials will have to give you a call to validate the ballot, delaying your vote getting counted.

Billings said that’s why she made sure to read through all of the instructions on her advance mail-in ballot carefully.

“I want to make sure my vote is counted. Our democracy is in jeopardy right now so this year is more important than any other year,” Billings said.

And if you can avoid it, the Election Commissioner’s third recommendation is for voters not to change how they’ve decided to vote.

3. “If you ask for a mail ballot, you’ll probably want to go ahead and vote that. Otherwise, it ends up being a provisional, which prolongs the process and a lot of extra work that goes with that,” Howell said.

If you chose to vote with an advance mail-in ballot, you have a few different options to make sure your vote gets counted:

  • Early voting will start on Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Election Office.
  • A mobile dropbox program is moving around the county for the next two weeks.
  • You can drop it off at any post office box. You do not have to include a stamp.
  • On election day November 3, you can drop your ballot at any of the 94 polling places in Shawnee County.

Here are some of the locations you can drop off your ballot:

October 27 is the last day to get an application to the Shawnee County Election Office if you want to vote by mail.

Advance voting in person starts Monday, October 19 at 8 a.m.

For more information from the Shawnee County Election Office, click here.

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