The first ballots of the 2020 presidential election have already been sent!
As the country continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of states are expanding the use of mail-in ballots. Whether you’re planning on voting by mail or in person, it’s important to have the facts so you can practice your constitutional right this November.
Each state has different guidelines for absentee or mail-in voting. In some states—like Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—every registered voter automatically receives a mail-in ballot. Other states may require you to list a reason for wanting to vote by mail. Sorting through all the information is hard, but we’re here to help!
Below you will find resources and information that will help you understand your state’s requirements, request your mail-in ballot, and help others do the same.
The Mental Health for US voter resource center is a one-stop-shop for all your voter registration needs. Visit mentalhealthforus.net/voters to check your voter registration status, register to vote, sign up for election reminders, or register to receive a mail-in ballot!
Vote.org makes finding your state’s voting information easy by offering state-by-state election guides. Visit their website to easily find your state’s voter registration deadlines and policies about mail-in voting.
When We All Vote understands that every vote matters—that’s why they want to help you inform yours. Visit their website to find your personalized voter guide, request a mail-in ballot, and learn about the people and issues you’ll be voting on this November.
Be a resource for your friends and family – here are some quick responses you can use to answer any questions you might get during your outreach.
What’s the difference between an “absentee” and “mail-in” ballot?
Some states prefer one term over the other, but both “absentee voting” and “mail-in voting” refer to the method of using the mail to deliver ballots to voters. When the use of mail-in ballots began during the Civil War, it was originally reserved for individuals who would be “absent” from their voting jurisdiction on election day while serving in the military. The practice has since been expanded to make voting more accessible for anyone who is either unable to, or chooses not to vote in person. Learn more.
Is voting by mail safe?
Voting by mail—a practice that has been used in American elections since the Civil War—is safe, secure, and reliable. According to Washington State’s Director of Elections Lori Augino, of the nearly 3.2 million ballots cast in Washington in 2018 (a state with universal mail-in voting), only 0.004% of the ballots may have been fraudulent. Learn more about the security of mail-in ballots from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
If the election is November 3, when do I need to send my ballot in by?
As more and more people opt to vote-by-mail this November, it’s more important than ever to request your ballot early and return it as soon as possible. Make sure you check the resources above to learn about your state’s deadlines for requesting and returning mail-in ballots. As a general rule of thumb, USPS recommends that voters request their ballots at least 15 days before Election Day and mail their completed ballots at least one week before the due date.
Have you taken the WEVOTE Pledge?
If we want to create real change in our mental health and addiction care systems, it won’t be enough just to vote. We need to ensure the entire mental health and addiction community is empowered to make their voice heard!
The Mental Health for US coalition needs your help—take the WeVote Pledge and commit to helping at least five friends or family members register and make a plan to vote between now and November.
Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan, educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction to national policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The Mental Health for US coalition is comprised of 95+ organizations from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthforus.net.
Exercise your constitutional rights and pledge to help five friends register to vote before the November elections! #WEVOTE