Harrisonburg registrar explains common mistakes on mail-in ballots

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 11:19 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - As more Americans cast their ballots early this year by mail, some small mistakes could disqualify votes.

When voting in-person, if there is a mistake, like checking an extra box on the ballet, the machine will kick it out, but that won’t happen for by-mail voters.

Mark Finks, the general registrar in Harrisonburg, said he has seen issues arise with the "B" envelope people receive with the mail-in ballot.

Finks said ballots must be placed back into the "B" envelope, sealed and signed. He said voters need to make sure they include their full legal name and the address they’re registered to vote at on the outside of the "B" envelope, as well.

He said registrars can catch these mistakes and attempt to reach out to voters for them to correct the error, which sometimes is difficult.

“It is difficult sometimes to contact voters because we don’t always have telephone numbers or emails with each voter. A lot of times we’re just working with an address and have to mail a letter," Finks said.

But if voters think they’ve made a mistake, Finks suggests reaching out to their local registrar immediately.

"If a voter does think that they might have forgotten to put the signature on here or didn’t put the residence address, calling us will definitely help expedite that, the curing process for us,” Finks said.

Finks said they will reach out to voters about ballot errors up until the deadline for receiving ballots up until 12 p.m. on Nov. 6.

At the bottom of the "B" envelope, there is a line for a witness signature, but because of COVID-19, that is not a requirement for this year’s election.

Finks said compared to the number of votes cast the past few weeks, the number of ballots with errors has been a small percentage, but voters should still be sure to double-check their ballots before mailing them to ensure their vote counts.

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