Voting by mail is expected to play a big role across the country this year. The U.S. Postal Service says it is ready and able to handle the surge, despite recent controversies over employee overtime, delays and processing.
But many voters may take comfort knowing there are other options for returning your ballot.
Option 1: Local election offices
Almost everywhere, voters can return ballots at these locations that tend to be county or city clerks offices.
Option 2: In-person voting locations
At least 11 states allow you to drop off ballots at places like early voting sites. Sometimes you can even skip the line.
Option 3: Secure drop boxes
Many states are setting up drop boxes in public places like city buildings or community centers, and more states are expected to add them.
Option 4: Somebody else
According to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures, most states allow someone other than you to return your ballot, with possible restrictions. In at least four states, you need an excuse, like illness, and the rules vary about who can handle your vote. Depending on where you live, it can be a spouse or family member, or even a lawyer or nurse.
Mailing is still an option
You also can still mail your ballot. If you leave at least seven days, the postal service says no need to worry.
Check your state’s rules
You can go online or call your local elections board or secretary of state’s office to find out your state’s voting rules and deadlines.
What should you do if you’re not sure your absentee ballot made it in on time?
President Donald Trump’s recent comments suggesting voters in North Carolina show up to the polls after mailing in ballots may have caused confusion. Knowingly voting more than once is prohibited in every state.
But what to do if you’re not sure your ballot made it on time varies across the country. States like New York say voters who have requested or returned a completed absentee ballot can vote in person. If so, their absentee ballot will remain uncounted.
As for North Carolina, officials are discouraging voters from showing up on Election Day to check the status of their absentee ballot. Instead, they say use their online lookup tool to see if ballots made it in, an option in many places.
When in doubt, you can always call your local election office.