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Mail in ballots: Everything you need to know about the process

Here's a breakdown of the mail in ballot application process and what you need to know before sending yours in.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The deadline to apply for a mail in ballot is Friday, October 23. Local officials say don't wait, drop that application in the mail today, here’s why. 

If you are not able to make it to the polls during early voting or on election day, you still have time to vote by mail, but you must act now. Your mail in ballot application is due in just 3 days.

This deadline is different than the deadline for your actual ballot to be received. For the application you must have it in the mail and at the county clerk’s office by Friday, October 23.

The postmark will not save your application if it is not delivered by Friday.

If you want to vote by mail but haven't received an application yet you can go to the Texas Secretary of State website to print one out.

Once it is filled out you must mail it to your local election office, not drop it off in person.

3News spoke with Election Administrator in San Patricio County, Pamela Hill. Hill says voters should mail in their application as soon as possible

“October 23 is the day that it must be in my office not the post marked date and it has to be mailed in. It cannot be walked in,” said Hill.

That goes for all counties in the state of Texas including Nueces.
Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands says if you don't think your application will make it to the elections office in time you can email a digital copy, before October 23. That gives you a little more time to mail in the hard copy.

“If you email us your application that puts a place holder for four business days, so you still have time to get your paper application in the mail to us,” said Sands.

As early voting continues this week here’s what you need to know before sending yours in.

Recent headlines have highlighted how mistakes on a mail in ballot can cost you your vote.

Here's a breakdown of who's in charge of double checking your ballots to make sure they're all set before your vote is officially counted.

“More ballots have been returned to us in 2020 than ballots that were mailed out in 2016,” said Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands.

Nueces County has seen a record number of mails in ballots during early voting topping 18,000.

Once you fill it out and drop off or mail in you ballot to the election office the journey to cast your vote doesn't stop there.

The ballot is then sent to a different entity not affiliated with the county clerk's office, they’re called the ballot board.

The ballot board is a committee of people selected by the local democratic and republican party. An even number of people are selected from each party.

Their job is to sort through all the ballots and either accept or deny them. They are not allowed to look inside the ballot at your votes. They can only look and see if you meet the criteria to mail in a ballot and more specifically, they check for your signature.

If your ballot is approved it is sent to be counted with all other votes on election night. If the ballot is denied you will be notified within 30 days as to why your votes weren't cast.

If you've mailed in your ballot and want to see if it was received you can call your local election office. The ballot board for Nueces County will begin sorting through the ballot beginning October 22.