Mail-in ballot frequently-asked-questions

The Butler County Democratic Committee recognizes voting by mail in PA-and especially Butler County–has had a rocky start. As information evolves, we are providing updates to this list of frequently asked questions to help ensure every vote is counted, no matter how it is submitted.   

Q. Can I vote in person with a mail-in ballot?
A.
The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot and do all-in-one early voting (applying for your ballot and voting in the same visit) is TUESDAY, OCT. 27. If you applied previously but haven’t received your ballot, you can cancel the application and vote in person during this period. Unfortunately, this only works if you’re available to drive to Butler between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Voters can continue to drop off mail-in ballots at the government center until 8 p.m. November 3, so long as they’ve applied for it by October 27.

Q. Why haven’t I received my ballot yet?
A. The election bureau previously said the ballot backlog should be caught up by Oct. 26. If you applied but haven’t received a ballot, call or, if possible, visit the bureau in person to find out why and complete a ballot.

Q. My ballot is listed as “mailed” when I check its status online. But it still hasn’t come. Did something go wrong?
A. The “mail” date is inaccurate, but if one appears on your status, your ballot should be set to mail. If you want to vote in person, you can go to the bureau, cancel that previous application, and vote using a new ballot. But you must do this by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 27.

Q: Are there ballot drop-boxes 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: Only if you have Power of Attorney or other advance documentation to assign you that authority. Otherwise, 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.

  • 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.

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, for example, 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.  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 someone else return my ballot in person if I’m unable to?
A.
If you have physical limitations as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, you can designate an agent using this form.

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 was Monday, October 19. 

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 4:30 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.