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Politics Fact check: Mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day will count in some states

15:15  30 october  2020
15:15  30 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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The claim: If a ballot arrives after Election Day, it will be thrown out and ignored

a close up of a toy: Absentee ballots are organized for counting Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at the Stearns County Service Center in Waite Park. © Dave Schwarz, dschwarz@stcloudtimes.com Absentee ballots are organized for counting Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at the Stearns County Service Center in Waite Park.

As election officials across the country deal with a record number of mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day, voters on social media are faced with a surge of misinformation about voting by mail.

A recent viral post on Facebook claims that any mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day won’t be counted.

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“Even if your mail-in ballot is postmarked today, if it arrives after Election Day, it will be thrown out. Discounted. Ignored,” reads an Oct. 28 Facebook post by author Elizabeth Gilbert.

USA TODAY reached out to a spokesperson for Gilbert for comment.

The post has been shared over 1,300 times and is accompanied by a screenshot of a tweet from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is now chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

“It’s too late to use the mails. Given Supreme Court rulings I urge everyone to now vote in person; early vote or use drop boxes. Protect your health but don’t let the Court and the deliberately crippled Postal Service deprive you of your most previous civil right,” reads the tweet from Holder.

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Many states require that a ballot be received by Nov. 3, however, 21 states and Washington, D.C., will count ballots that arrive after Nov. 3, with deadlines varying. Here's a guide:

Nov. 6 deadline

In Kentucky, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 6, however, county clerks say it is a risk to send absentee ballots through the mail because there is no guarantee thatthey will arrive by the deadline.

Ballots being sent via mail in Kansas and Virginia must be postmarked by the close of business on Election Day. In Kansas, ballots must be received by 5 p.m. Nov 6, and at noon for Virginia, Time reported.

In Massachusetts, ballots are due by 5 p.m. Nov. 6.

In Pennsylvania – a key battleground state – the Nov. 6 ballot return deadline remains in place after the Supreme Court recently refused for a second time to change the state's election rules, USA TODAY reported.

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Nov. 9 deadline

According to FiveThirtyEight, absentee ballots in Iowa and North Dakota must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by noon Nov. 9.

In West Virginia, officials expect absentee ballots mailed as late as Election Day to be counted by Nov. 9, according to WCHS.

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Nov. 10 and Nov. 12 deadlines

Minnesota's secretary of state said Thursday it's too late for voters to mail back absentee ballots, after a three-judge federal appeals court panel sided with Republicans and indicated that mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day are at risk of being invalidated, according to the Associated Press.

In Mississippi, mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 10, per the Associated Press.

Similarly, ballots in Nevada and New Jersey must also  be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by county election boards by Nov. 10.

Those dates hold for New York ballots, too, however, ballots that arrive by Nov. 4 will also be counted even if they do not have a postmark, according to FiveThirtyEight.

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In North Carolina, ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by 5 p.m. Nov. 12. The Supreme Court recently allowed absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted nine days after the Election, USA TODAY reported.

Nov. 13 deadline

Mail-in ballots in Alaska must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received no later than Nov. 13.

Washington, D.C., Maryland and Ohio also allow ballots to be received up to 10 days after Nov. 3.

Nov. 17 and later

Illinois requires that ballots be postmarked by Election Day and received 14 days after, on Nov. 17.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that ballots in Utah must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by the day of the county canvass. The canvass will be two weeks after the election in Utah's biggest counties, while smaller counties will hold the canvass a week after the election.

Ballots in California must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and returned no later than Nov. 20, and in Washington ballots must be postmarked on Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 23, according to Time.

Our rating: Partly false

It is true that some states will not count ballots that are received after Election Day. However, many states have extensions that allow ballots to arrive — and count — after Nov. 3 with different deadlines. Therefore, we rate this claim as PARTLY FALSE.

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Our fact-check sources:

  • Courier Journal, Oct. 29, Where can I vote? 5 fast facts as Election Day nears in Kentucky
  • Time, Sept. 18, Voting By Mail? Here Are the Deadlines in Every U.S. State
  • USA TODAY, Oct. 28, Supreme Court leaves in place Pennsylvania's Nov. 6 deadline for return of absentee ballots.
  • FiveThirtyEight, Oct. 29, How to Vote in the 2020 Election
  • WCHS, Oct. 28, Election officials hopeful for no hiccups in absentee ballot process
  • Associated Press, Oct. 29, Minnesota SOS: Too late to mail ballots -- but not to vote
  • Star Tribune, Oct. 27, Minnesota ballot extension deadline goes before federal appeals panel
  • NorthJersey.com, Sept. 29, All of your questions about voting in the Nov. 3 NJ election, answered here
  • Democrat & Chronicle, Oct. 12, Voting by mail in New York? Avoid these mistakes to ensure your vote counts
  • USA TODAY, Oct. 28, Supreme Court leaves North Carolina's Nov. 12 deadline for receipt of absentee ballots in place
  • Must Read Alaska, Oct. 18, Early voting starts Monday
  • The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 13, As Utah ballots arrive in mailboxes this week, officials urge returning them early
  • Vote.org, Absentee Ballot Deadlines

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day will count in some states

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