(WTAJ) — Over 2.6 million mail-in ballots have been requested in Pennsylvania, and 20% of mail-in voters in the Commonwealth have already cast their votes for the upcoming General Election.
Election officials warned if you don’t follow the directions to properly complete and return it, your ballot could be thrown out.
Pennsylvania is one of 16 states to include two envelopes for mail-in ballots.
“There’s the inner secrecy envelope that’s mostly white and says, ‘Official Election Ballot,’ and then there’s the outer envelope that has that voter’s declaration where you need to sign and put your information. Both are needed,” PA State Department Secretary Kathy Boockvar said.
Boockvar said ballots missing the inner envelope are ‘naked ballots.’
Another issue is returning the ballot without the outer envelope, which includes the voter declaration.
“The important components on the declaration, of course, they have to sign the declaration…they have to provide their address,” Deputy Secretary Jonathan Marks of the Pennsylvania Department of State said.
No matter which way you return your ballot, the declaration must be completed.
“Just because you’re doing it in a drop box and it doesn’t need to go through the mail, the county cannot count your ballot unless they first check your name and make sure that you applied for a ballot,” Boockvar said.
A common, but permissible mistake some voters make is putting their birthday on the declaration instead of the signing day.
“Their ballot will not be tossed because they put the wrong date. That is not a basis for rejection,” Boockvar said.
County drop boxes are available in Cameron, Centre and Elk counties for their residents.
In Blair County, voters can drop off their ballots on Election Day at the Union Street side entrance.
Make sure to use black or blue ink when filling out your ballot so it can be properly read by the scanner.