Common voting mistakes to avoid when casting your ballot

By Zach Fuentes,
ABC 10,
October 16, 2020


If you are planning to vote by mail this year, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 19.

If you register to vote after Monday and vote in person, you’ll be casting a conditional or provisional ballot. Those only get counted after officials have finished verifying your information which could be after Election Day.

More than 2 million voters in California have already returned their ballots.

  • If you’re planning to return your ballot, there are some common mistakes the California Voter Foundation says you need to avoid to make sure your vote gets counted.
  • Remember to have your ballot dropped off or mailed by November 3. There is a 17-day grace period for your ballot to be counted if it arrives after Election Day as long as it was postmarked by Election Day.
  • Remember to use black or blue ink so your ballot can read.
  • Don’t forget to place the ballot in the envelope before dropping off or mailing. The California Voter Foundation says sometimes people forget.
  • Do not sign the envelope for someone else.
  • Do not forget to sign your envelope.

Also, make sure your signature matches the one given when you registered to vote.

“If you're not sure what your voter registration signature looks like you can look at your driver license or state ID and try to make your ballot envelope signature look like that signature,” Kim Alexander with the California Voter Foundation said. “No ballots are automatically rejected if the signature's missing or it's mismatched. Under state law, counties must contact voters with signature issues and give them a chance to submit a valid signature.”

If you filled in a bubble on your ballot that you didn’t mean to select, you can cross it out and your registrar can remake and resend your ballot.

If something spilled on your ballot or it was torn your registrar can remake or resend your ballot.