Mail-in ballot frequently-asked-questions

The Butler County Democratic Committee is pleased to report that the first batch of mail-in ballots are on the way to voters, and more will be going out each day, according to Butler County Election Bureau Director Aaron Sheasley. First to receive theirs should be people who applied earliest, when they applied to vote by mail in the primary. We know Republicans have been critical of voting by mail, and are gearing up to criticize the process where they can. So, to avoid any problems, please take some time with these frequently asked questions before you vote, and then safely cast your ballot.  

Q. Why haven’t I received my ballot yet?
A. Election bureau officials say the mailings should be caught up by early next week, Oct. 21-26.

Q. My ballot is listed as “mailed” when I check its status online. But it still hasn’t come. Did something go wrong?
A. We learned in the Primary that “mail” date was the date your mailing label was printed. There can be a significant gap between the label printing and actual mailing. The good news: you’re in the queue! Election bureau estimates that the mailings should be caught up by next week.

Q: Are there ballot drop-boxes available in Butler County?

A: Unfortunately not, but you may drop your ballot off the Bureau of Elections in the Butler County Government Center – 124 W Diamond St, Floor LL, Butler, PA 16001 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Q: Can I drop off a ballot for my spouse, family members or friends?

A: No – every person must drop off their own ballot and provide proof of identification when doing so.

Q: Can I vote at the polls on November 3 if I already applied to vote by mail?

A: Yes, but it is critical you follow these steps: 

  • Keep both envelopes along with the ballot, as mailed to you
  • Take all to your polling place and inform the workers that you want to vote in person
  • THIS WILL NOT WORK IF YOU ONLY HAVE THE BALLOT
  • Your mailed ballot will be officially voided and recorded as such, and you will be allowed to vote on the machine as usual
  • If any part of this process goes wrong you can vote with a provisional ballot, but this is not the preferred option.

Q: How do I fill out my ballot correctly to ensure that it is counted?

A: Very carefully.

  • Check to see how the elections bureau has your name recorded. You’ll want to sign the ballot exactly the same, such as with hyphenated last name.
  • Complete your ballot with a blue or black pen, and fill in the ovals completely when making your selections.
  • Place the ballot inside the secrecy envelope provided and seal it.
  • Place the secrecy envelope inside the return envelope and fill out the information on the back of the envelope. 
    •  Where “date” is requested, fill in the date you completed the ballot. 
    • Sign the back of the envelope; the Bureau of Elections will compare this signature against their voter rolls so it is very important that you sign it yourself and match the signature they have on file.

Q. I put my birthday on the outer envelope instead of the date I signed it. Will my vote still count?

A. Yes, this is a common mistake and the county elections bureau confirmed ballots will be counted if the date is wrong.

Q: When must I mail my ballot for it to be counted?

A: Your mail-in / absentee ballot must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, November 3, and received by the Bureau of Elections before 5 PM on Friday, November 6.

Q. Can I use an express mail service to send in my ballot?

A. If you’re worried about timing, you can pay for express mailing via USPS, Federal Express, or UPS.

Q: Can I drop off my mail-in ballot in-person?

A: Yes, you may drop off your ballot in person at the Bureau of Elections in the Butler County Government Center – 124 W Diamond St, Floor LL, Butler, PA 16001. IMPORTANT: Only the voter can bring their ballot to the bureau, and identification is required. If you are planning on dropping it off in-person, please make sure to do so by 8 PM on election night (November 3). If you are dropping your ballot off before election night, the bureau’s hours of business are Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Q. I have power of attorney for a relative. Can I sign for them and bring their ballot to the bureau?

A. Yes, if you have legal power of attorney bring that documentation along with the ballot.

Q: Can I vote early, in-person, even if I haven’t applied for a mail-in ballot?

A: Yes. If you haven’t applied for a mail-in ballot yet, you may do so in-person at the Bureau of Elections, and complete and submit your ballot in the same visit. In-person voting will continue through October 27.

Q: When is the deadline to register to vote in the 2020 general election?

A: The deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 19. You may register online at register.votesPA.com, or in person at the Butler County Government Center – 124 W Diamond St, Floor LL, Butler, PA 16001. If you register in person, you can also apply for a mail-in ballot and complete it in the same visit.

Q: When is the deadline to apply to vote by mail in the 2020 general election?

A: Your completed application must be received in the county office by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, October 27th.

Q: How do I register to vote by mail?

A: Apply online at votesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot. Another option is to request a mail-in ballot by calling the Bureau of Elections at 724-284-5308 or 724-284-5309, or by visiting the elections office in-person at the Butler County Government Center – 124 W Diamond St, Floor LL, Butler, PA 16001

Q: When is the 2020 general election?

A: Tuesday, November, 3, but early voting has already begun in Pennsylvania. Polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM on election night.

Q. When will vote-by-mail votes be counted?

A. Mail-in ballots will be counted started at 8 p.m., after the polls close. Counting will continue as long as needed, but probably not complete until after midnight election day, according to the election bureau.