Seniors urged to avoid common mistakes on mail-in ballots

Staff Report

As the 2020 primaries approach, Jennifer Anderson, Hays County Elections administrator, wants to make sure that persons applying for and casting a mail-in ballot understand there are several common errors that by law will cause your application or ballot to be rejected.

“In every election, some of the applications for a mail-in ballot and some of the mail-in ballots themselves are rejected by law because of unintentional errors, some of which are very easy to make,” Anderson said. “Our office wants to help end these errors, and we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes.”

Applying for a
mail-in ballot

Who is eligible:

• Registered voters 65 years or older on the first Election Day in which they plan to vote can apply annually beginning Jan. 1 to receive mail-in ballots for the calendar year by marking the application as such. The ballot must be reapplied for each January; it is not automatically renewed.

• Disabled voters can apply annually beginning Jan. 1 to receive mail-in ballots for the calendar year by marking the application as such. The ballot must be reapplied for each January; it is not automatically renewed.

• Voters who will be out of the county during both early voting and Election Day. The ballot itself must be mailed to and from an out-of-county address.

Double-check not once but twice to ensure the application is not rejected

Make sure the application is completely filled out and signed by the voter. The signature must match the signature on your ballot. The address on the application must match the address on the voter registration card. And, apply for the ballot as early as possible to ensure time to receive the ballot, vote, and send the ballot back to the Elections Office.

During even-numbered years, political parties, candidates and groups often send out “pre-filled” applications for ballot-by-mail. If you do use the preprinted version, make sure that the address and party affiliation (for a primary election) are marked and correct, and that you have signed the application. The Election Office always urges voters to visit the elections website and print the official ballot-by-mail application for complete instructions and information on how to properly fill out the form to avoid rejection of the application and resulting time delays with the ballot.

Deadline to apply for ballot-by-mail for the March primary election is Feb. 21.

Casting (mailing) your mail-in ballot

Only one ballot is allowed per envelope (even for married couples or persons at the same address), and if more than one election is occurring simultaneously ensure that each ballot matches the correct envelope before sealing the envelope. Forever stamps can be used on the envelopes. Make sure your ballot is mailed in plenty of time to reach the Elections Office by the deadline.

As with the application, the signature on the ballot envelope must match the signature on the ballot-by-mail application. A spouse or parent cannot sign the ballot envelope for the voter. The envelope MUST be signed in the red box over the flap. Not signing is a reason for rejection of the ballot.

Persons assisting a voter with a ballot must place their own name, address, and signature on the envelope.

Deadline for the Elections Office to receive your ballot is March 3, (Election Day) by 7 p.m. The ballot must be mailed in and can only be hand-delivered to the Election Office by the voter on Election Day. Mail ballots cannot be hand-delivered to a polling location unless they are being surrendered and cancelled.

Questions? Visit the Hays County Elections Office or the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Office for information or call the Hays County Elections Office at 512-393-7310.

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