Vote-By-Mail Ballots: What You Need to Know

Photo courtesy of

The vote-by-mail system may be intimidating for those unsure of official ballot guidelines. To ease some anxiety caused by misinformation and provide some clarity on the vote-by-mail system, here is everything one needs to know to cast a valid ballot in the upcoming election. 

First up is deadlines, according to the US Vote Foundation, the deadline to register to vote in the state of Oregon was on October 13, 2020. Make sure you are officially registered to vote in your current state before you receive your mail-in ballot. To request an absentee ballot (otherwise known as the mail-in ballot), the request must be submitted before October 29, 2020. If this deadline is missed, the absentee ballot will not be sent in time for the election. The deadline to turn in your absentee ballot to an official ballot drop-box is 8 pm on November 3, 2020. If the ballot has not been mailed yet, it is important to make sure the ballot is handed in at an official ballot acceptance site. If the ballot is mailed by the USPS after October 20, it is likely that the ballot will not arrive in time to be counted in the election. Here are the official ballot drop-box sites in Jackson County.

Next up are mistakes that could potentially invalidate a ballot, even if it reaches its destination in time. Misinformation has been spread widely that any water or food stains could invalidate a ballot, but there is nothing on the official absentee ballot invalidation list that supports this statement. However, what will invalidate a ballot are as follows:

  • If the signature on the envelope of your ballot does not match the signature the elections office has on file, namely the one provided by your license. 
  • If there is no signature on the envelope of your ballot. This is one of the most common mistakes made on the absentee ballot.  
  • If the envelope is signed by anyone else other than the voter. This includes the power of attorney. 
  • If the ballot has been torn, bent, or damaged to the point where it cannot be read by a ballot counting machine. Keep those ballots crisp, folks. 
  • If more than one ballot is placed in an official envelope. Only one per envelope is allowed. 
  • Not clearly and consistently marking the voting indicators in blue or black pen. The voting marker must be fully filled-in by either of these for the vote to be counted. 

This election, make sure that your political voice is heard by public officials. With a multitude of social, economical, and public health safety concerns, it is more important than ever to make your vote count. These guidelines are a sure-fire way for your ballot to be cast and counted in the state of Oregon, and to be sure that your opinion is represented and your rights are being utilized to the extent of their abilities.

Works Cited

Absentee Ballot Request and Voter Registration Services for All U.S. Voters in All States at Home and Abroad.;jsessionid=A76E4FEFB516B099D9593D05FAE62C2D?stateName=OR.

“Elections.” Jackson County, Clerk,

Parks, Miles. “Why Some Mail-In Ballots Are Rejected As Invalid.” NPR, NPR, 4 Oct. 2020,

“Uniform Vote Counting Standards.” Uniform Vote Counting Standards :: California Secretary of State, 

Leave a Reply