7 things to remember when voting by mail

Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and convenient way to cast your ballot. Here are some best practices to ensure it goes smoothly.

Early mail-in ballots for Nebraska’s May 10 primary election are arriving in the mailboxes of those who requested them. Registered Nebraska voters can vote by mail for any reason – Nebraska is among the nation’s “no-excuse” states when it comes to absentee voting. 
Here are a few best practices for voting via an early mail-in ballot.

Check it. Check it real good.

Of all ballots, primary ballots vary the most. That’s because in Nebraska, they can be Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Nonpartisan, Nonpartisan Republican, Nonpartisan Democratic, and Nonpartisan Libertarian variations (whew). Our election workers are awesome, but they’re human – and mistakes sometimes happen and you may get the wrong variety. Be sure you’ve got the right ballot in front of you before you begin. 
Also, confirm that an election official’s signature is at the very bottom of the ballot. If you don’t see one, call your county’s Election Commission Office right away.


Paint it (all) black.

Use a black ballpoint pen – no pencils, no magic markers – and fill in the oval completely. Don’t use blue, red, green or any other color. BLACK. Be sure you’re using an ink pen, as well. Don’t use a pencil, and don’t use a marker. 
Finally, completely darken the ovals that correspond with your choices – no X’s, no check marks. Leave no doubt what you’re voting for.

Swear by the moon and the stars in the sky.

This is absolutely required – no exceptions: The Voter’s Oath. This is located on your submission envelope and MUST be filled out fully before your ballot will be accepted. Complete each line (printing your name and your mailing address). Then, sign the Voter’s Oath where designated. In our experience, the most common reason for rejected early mail-in ballots is because the signature space was left blank. 

Fly like an eagle.

We strongly recommend you mail your early mail-in ballot no later than May 3. If you plan to use the U.S. Mail to return your ballot, put a regular first-class stamp on it and get it in the mail seven days before Election Day – that way, our dedicated Postal workers have plenty of time to get it to your Election Office. 
After May 3, we recommend you place it in a secure county dropbox. You can do this until 8 pm CDT (7 pm MDT) on Election Day. No postage is needed if you drop it off.

Don't come 'round here no more.

Don’t take your early ballot to your neighborhood polling place on Election Day. You’ll be turned away and told to take it to the nearest county dropbox. Polling sites are for day-of, in-person voters, and they will have no way to accept your ballot. 

Follow me, everything is all right.

Once you return your ballot, you can track its progress online. Go here to follow its journey from submission to receipt to acceptance. If your ballot appears to be hung up for any reason, contact your Election Office right away to find out how you can get it corrected.

Help is 'round the corner.

Do you have questions about the vote-by-mail process? Civic Nebraska can help you. Call our Election Line at 402-890-5291, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. We’re happy to help.

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