Column: Make a Plan to Vote, Especially if Voting by Mail

This past week, I saw an ad by some celebrities who appeared nude and were talking about voting. That’s a sentence I definitely did not think I would ever write. 

Timely as the ad is, the celebrities were discussing the discrepancies with the process of mail in voting. This is a conversation that has been very widely discussed during this election process as the evolution to more people voting by mail has caused controversy. 

The current administration has made claims that absentee ballots have been effective and not been tampered whereas the vote-by-mail ballots have been the source of problems. 

The problem that the administration has more recently articulated is that ballots are being sent to supposedly everyone who is breathing, even people who aren’t citizens. This has been debunked, however. 

States that have automatically sent out mail in-ballots, which is a term often interchangeably used with absentee ballots, only send these ballots to people already registered to vote. These ballots are verified by several levels of election officials. Signatures need to be placed in proper places in order to be counted, where the irony of the naked celebrities comes into play.

“Naked ballots”, as they have been coined, are essentially completed ballots that are not sent back in the correct means. When these ballots are sent out, they enclose a secrecy envelope the ballot is supposed to be returned in. 

Those who send the ballot back without placing it within this envelope have had their initial ballots voided. To avoid this there are several layers of directions on where signatures are needed, where to circle, x or fill-in your responses. 

While this may be slightly more uncharted territory than in previous elections mainly due to the pandemic, there has been a strong foundation for votes by mail in the past. The extent has been expanded due to the circumstances of this year, but these foundations have worked and been overly cautious in the past. 

There has not been overwhelming fraud or faux ballots in past years. Any kinds of discrepancies have been pointed and corrected beforehand.  

With all of this being said, if you are choosing to vote by mail the deadline to request your ballot is by Nov. 2 and must be postmarked by Nov. 3. 

Others who are opting to vote in person should be prepared. Fortunately, Minnesota allows same day registering, but it will not hurt to register early and find your polling place. Go get involved!

Header photo: Vote stickers are seen at a satellite election office at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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