How to make sure your mail-in vote gets counted in the 2020 election

Posted at 11:19 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 12:52:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Time is of the essence as the United States Postal Service prepares for what could be an overwhelming amount of absentee ballots amid "dire financial conditions"

"Everybody expects the surge but it's going to be unlike we've ever seen," former Chesterfield County Registrar Larry Haake said.

According to the Washington Post, the Postal Service recently sent out letters to 46 states, including Virginia, warning that they cannot guarantee that all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.

"I say good for them for bringing it up now rather than late October," Haake said.

Haake said he's not shocked by the news but adds the key players in all of this will be the voters.

"If the voter acts early, request the ballot early, gets it early, gets it back quickly, it can be a non-issue," Haake added.

The Washington Post adds that some states are anticipating 10 times the normal volume of election mail and are under the heightened warning that some mailed ballots will arrive too late, which Virginia falls under. Haake said not only will the postal services be overwhelmed but the registrar offices themselves.

"In Chesterfield, in a presidential year, we'd have twenty thousand absentee ballots, well it could be double that now," Haake said. "You take a small office like Colonial Heights or Petersburg office. They may be used to 1500, all of a sudden they're going to have 3, 4, 5,000. That's a big hit on them."

Haake said the big take away will be getting ahead of it all.

"Voters, don't wait until the last minute. If the ballots become available September 18th, be there," Haake said. "Ask for it, go vote in person or ask for the ballot to be mailed to you sooner rather than later."

Click here for information on voting early, by mail, and how to register.

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