When to fill out the affidavit of delivery on mail-in ballots

You fill out your mail-in ballot from the comfort of your home, sign and seal the certification envelope, and then you notice a blank space on the back titled "affidavit of delivery."

While navigating an already daunting list of vote-by-mail instructions, some suburban voters have expressed confusion over when and why this section would need to be completed.

If you're planning to drop your ballot in the mailbox, you can leave the affidavit blank. The section is relevant only if someone other than you or the U.S. Postal Service delivers your ballot, DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek said.

The friend or relative submitting a ballot on behalf of another voter would become the "authorized delivery agent," in which case the chain of custody needs to be disclosed on the back of the envelope and signed by both parties.

In some counties, including Lake and McHenry, this applies primarily to ballots dropped off in person at the clerk's office, where the delivery agent's ID and signature will be checked, officials said. In suburban Cook County, staff members will be checking secure drop box sites to ensure ballots are being delivered by the voter or authorized agent.

You do not need to fill out the affidavit if you are dropping off your own ballot.

If you received a mail-in ballot but decide to vote in person, you have to bring the ballot to the polling place and surrender it to election judges. Voters who misplace or forget their mailed ballots will be allowed to vote provisionally.

Why it could take days or weeks to know who wins the Nov. 3 election

Prevent your mailed ballot from being rejected

Six steps you can take to protect your vote while casting a ballot by mail.

• Request your ballot early so you have plenty of time to return it.

• Read the instructions, and seek clarification from election officials if you are confused. Be wary of unverified information on social media.

• Keep in mind that election officials may be comparing your signature with the one on your voter registration. If you sign with your initials but your signature on file contains your full name, your ballot might not be counted.

• Avoid stray marks, tears and stains.

• If you make a mistake while filling out your ballot, do not try to fix it. Ask your local election office what to do.

• Return your ballot as soon as possible.

Source: The Washington Post

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