How to check the status of your mail-in ballot

Trish Hartman Image
Thursday, September 3, 2020
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Election Day is two months away and voters across the Delaware Valley are thinking about how they'll cast their ballots.

HAMILTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Election Day is two months away and voters across the Delaware Valley are thinking about how they'll cast their ballots.

"I don't agree with this mail-in ballot thing. I don't trust it," said Becky Schemmer of Hamilton, New Jersey.

This year, all registered New Jersey voters are getting a mail-in ballot, whether they've asked for it or not.

"I might drop it off I might go with my parents to drop it off at the mail station," said Kayla Martinez of Hamilton, who just turned 18-years-old and just registered to vote.

President Donald Trump also has the election on his mind, sending a string of Tweets Thursday telling voters not only to mail in their ballots early but all to go to their polling place on Election Day to have a poll worker check on the status of their mail-in ballot to make sure it was counted.

But is that possible? It depends on where you vote.

"Well you can ask, they're not going to know," said Atlantic County Board of Elections Chair Evelynn Caterson.

Atlantic County New Jersey election officials say their poll workers won't have the status of mail-in ballots, in an election that will be like none other: more costly and more labor-intensive, because every registered voter in New Jersey is getting a mail-in ballot. They're expected to be sent out by the first week of October.

"Not only do we need more staff, we need more equipment. We even need a bigger room. Because we have to have social distancing," said Caterson.

In Delaware, state officials say a poll worker will have the status of your mail-in or absentee ballot if you decide to check on it on Election Day.

"A poll worker can access whether a person has requested a ballot and it has not been returned or they've requested one and it has been returned. So they do have that information available to them and we can update that information," said Delaware State Election Commissioner Anthony Albence.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware all have online tools to look up the status of your ballot or application once you send it in, and officials in all three states have said that's the easiest way to do it.

In New Jersey, if you don't want to mail your ballot, you can drop it at an official election drop box, or you can hand-deliver it to your polling place.

You can also vote by provisional ballot at a New Jersey polling place.