Massively screwed up- threw out my ballot return envelope
October 7, 2020 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Chicago early voter here- I have my filled out ballot and cannot find my return envelope.

I received my ballot in the mail and as part of my usual hundred things daily procrastination list have been setting today to finish. I completed it but cannot find the return envelope and fatally realize I must have discarded it.

My wife has been (appropriately) nudging me to get this done so I opened it 5 days ago, started on it and trying to be careful finishing it, always making sure to keep it in one pile. I discarded the blank envelope it came in, and swear I checked it to make sure nothing important was in it. We were having the place cleaned for once and I was trying to clean up and discard things and I fucked up badly. I am panicking because I do not know what I can do with the 2 ballots given the instructions I have; there are early drop boxes open next week but it looks like I must have the yellow return ballot signed for that, which I do not have. (Again, I SWEAR I checked the blank envelope, there was not anything else in it. I don't know if it's possible it wasn't in there but given that I was stupid and didn't keep the one envelope just in case, I may have thrown it out.)

It says I can vote in person but unless necessary really do not want to do that. Is that my only option or is there a way to return this completed ballot, preferably sooner rather than later? Help.
posted by kittysockpuppet to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Just contact whoever sends out the ballots and ask them to send you another.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 5:13 AM on October 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


What state are you in? This will vary - in WA, for example, you can print a replacement ballot yourself. Many states will re-send absentee or vote by mail ballots if you request one.
posted by mosst at 5:14 AM on October 7, 2020


Best answer: You can call the Chicago Election Commission at 312.269.7900 and ask what to do.

I would probably plan to hold onto my completed ballot until early voting opens and then walk in to the nearest place and and a poll worker how to proceed. But see what they say on the phone.
posted by phunniemee at 5:18 AM on October 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


Response by poster: Thank you for the answers. Chicago, IL. I will look into requesting a new ballot, but if anyone who is in particular familiar with this voting system has suggestions I would appreciate it.

Also read this question as what is the best solution I can offer my wife when she wakes up soon so she doesn't murder me for being a fucking idiot.
posted by kittysockpuppet at 5:18 AM on October 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Ooops, I just saw that it says Chicago. Here's what I could find on the Chicago BOE's website:
If you: (a) could not apply on time, or (b) do not receive your ballot, or (c) lose your ballot or lose your Ballot Return Envelope, or (d) cannot get your Ballot Return Envelope in the mail by Election Day:

- Call 312-269-7967 on or before Thurs., Oct. 29 to alert us that you have not received your ballot; OR

- Use Early Voting through Tue., Nov. 3; OR

- Cancel your mail ballot and receive and cast an Election Day ballot at the polling place assigned to your precinct on Tues., Nov. 3. If the voter has the mail ballot, that ballot should be surrendered to the election judges. If the voter does not have the mail ballot, the voter may cast a provisional ballot after completing a provisional-ballot affidavit.

Personally, I'd try the number and see what they can do about a new ballot/envelope.
posted by mosst at 5:19 AM on October 7, 2020 [9 favorites]


Response by poster: Thanks all, I called that number and I can deliver the completed ballot downtown. Appreciate everyone talking me through this!
posted by kittysockpuppet at 5:36 AM on October 7, 2020 [18 favorites]


Thanks for voting, sorry it had to be more stressful than it should have been.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:34 AM on October 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


I don't know if it's possible it wasn't in there...

IAAElectionOfficial though NYEO and would like to give a resounding "yes that's entirely possible" to this. We are doing our very very best but it's still humans hand-stuffing these things and although our municipality (for one) is auditing that each envelope contains a ballot, there's no check on whether any other specific item is packed. The return envelope is rather difficult to forget/misplace, considering there's a special label for it, but I could see two of them getting put into someone else's package in a moment of distraction.
posted by teremala at 7:42 AM on October 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


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