The fall ballot is now certified, and mail-in ballots are being sent out. But, county officials want to make sure voters know how to vote by mail in this upcoming election.
Aaron Sheasley is the Director of Election for Butler County.
“Butler County does not send out unsolicited mail-ins with applications. You have to go onto the state or county website, first,” Sheasley said.
“Once we receive the application, we review that the person is registered to vote, that they meet the criteria, and everything is filled out correctly. If it’s not, we’ll mail the application back.”
Sheasley said there’s a few steps to follow once a voter receives their mail-in ballot.
“You’ll get an envelope in the mail, and it’s a larger envelope. You open it up and inside are instructions, a secrecy envelope, and a return envelope,” Sheasley said.
“So you fill out your mail-in ballot and put it in the secrecy envelope. And that’s a critical step because according to a recent court case, if it’s not received in that secrecy envelope when it gets to the [election office] your vote will not count,” Sheasley said.
Sheasley also added that the secrecy envelope is designed as a safety measure to prevent any partisan influence over the election.
“No one will see those ballots until election day,” Sheasley said.
Also County Commissioner Leslie Osche said that if you’re receiving applications for mail-in ballots, that’s not the same as the ballot itself.
“I think the big confusion right now is that we’re all getting barraged with mailers from third parties,” Osche said. “So what you’re getting are interest groups or political campaigns that are sending out mail-in ballot applications on both sides. People are mistaking that for a ballot.”
County officials did say that a majority of those mailers are an acceptable way to fill out an application, but that is not considered a ballot for the election.
Even if voters fill out a mail-in ballot and send it to the election office, they may still continue to receive application mailers leading up to Election Day.
Sheasley said that mail-in ballots are a safe way to vote, but that it’s important to follow the directions that are included.
To get an application for a mail-in ballot you can visit the county’s website. In order for the ballot to be counted, you need to make sure it’s postmarked by Tuesday, November 3rd at 8 p.m.