Voters concerned about COVID-19 are encouraged to select the box on the absentee ballot affidavit that reads “I am physically incapacitated and will not be able to vote in person on election day.”

For the Nov. 3 General Election, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 19. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is Thursday, Oct. 29. The deadline to return an absentee ballot to DeKalb County Absentee Election Manager Todd Greeson is the close of business Monday, Nov. 2, and the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is Monday, Nov. 2. The address is 300 Grand Avenue S Ste. 200 in Fort Payne.

Voters will choose the next president, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative for the Fourth Congressional District, president of the Public Service Commission and five proposed amendments to the state’s Constitution, two of which relate only to other counties. Write-ins are permitted for the unopposed candidates. A sample ballot is available to view at http://www.dekalbprobatejudge.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/DeKalb-wConstables-Sample.pdf.

Voting by mail can be more prone to human error than voting in person, leading to mail ballots being rejected at higher rates than in-person votes. Already this year, an NPR analysis found that over half a million mail ballots have been rejected for arriving too late, missing signatures or other errors.

Business Insider listed five common errors that can lead to an absentee ballot being rejected:

• Improperly filling out the ballot. Avoid stray marks or using inks other than black or blue to fill in choices.

• Forgetting to sign an envelope. Every state requires a voter to sign an affidavit on the outside of the envelope containing their mail ballot affirming their identity and eligibility to vote. Greeson said this is what flags most ballots as provisionary for review.

• Using a different signature from what the state has on file. Mismatched or incomplete signatures can lead to a ballot being challenged or rejected.

• Not including required additional documentation. Alabama requires each voter to submit a photocopy of their current government-issued photo ID and obtain two witness signatures or notarization.

• Sending your ballot back too late. The Postal Service recommends that you put your ballot in the mail no later than Oct. 27. Applying to get the absentee ballot must happen even sooner.

Absentee ballot applications can be downloaded online from https://www.sos.alabama.gov/ or by contacting Greeson at (256) 845-8525 (ext. 2).

Voters can also contact the Secretary of State’s Office at (334) 242-7210 to request an absentee ballot application.

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