JoCo election commissioner shares tips to ensure mail-in ballots are counted

Posted at 9:26 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 17:48:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As election officials prepare to mail out hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, they are asking voters to take steps to ensure their ballots are counted.

Below are common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake No. 1: You did not sign your ballot envelope.

The top reason why mail-in ballots are not counted is because voters do not sign the envelopes before returning them. Each voter must sign the ballot envelope for it to be counted.

In the August primary, 93 submitted ballots were not signed by the registered voter, according to the Wyandotte County Election Office. In Johnson County, 108 voters did not sign the ballot envelopes for August’s election.

Johnson County Election Office Commissioner Connie Schmidt said when the envelopes are not signed, there is a lot of work from the election office to reach voters and have them come in to "cure that problem" so their vote can be counted.

"There are a lot of steps we have to go through," Schmidt said, "and there’s always a potential to reach the voter and then we cannot count the ballot."

Mistake No. 2: Turning in your ballot too late.

The second biggest reason mail-in ballots are rejected is that they arrive too late.

In Kansas, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and arrive in the hands of local election officials by end of business on the Friday following Election Day.

During August’s primary, 673 ballots in Johnson County were not counted because they were either postmarked after Election Day or arrived at the Johnson County Election Office after the Friday deadline. In Wyandotte County, 50 ballots were not counted because they arrived to election officials too late.

“The post office for returning your ballot could almost be your last resort,” Schmidt said. “We have a lot of options within the county for returning your ballot.”

By Oct. 17, seven ballot boxes will be installed at Johnson County Public Locations. Voters can drop off mail-in ballots at these boxes until 7 p.m. on Election Night.

Voters also bring their mail-in ballots to any in-person voting location.

Mistake No. 3: Worrying the election office did not receive your ballot.

The first day mail-in ballots can be mailed out in Kansas is Oct. 14.

To see if your ballot has been mailed or received by the election office, you can check the status online.

41 Action News is committed to providing comprehensive information on the 2020 primary and general elections with an emphasis on several key issues — the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations. Count on us to provide news and information to help you make an informed choice at the polls.