🔗 Click here for ballot drop box locations

Mail-in ballot

The security of mail-in ballots has been a hot topic recently.

STATEWIDE (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona's Election Authority has put together a list of frequently asked questions about voting by mail in Arizona. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email us and we will find the answer for you.

Q: How do I sign up for mail-in voting?

➣ First, Get Registered: You must be registered to vote in Arizona. The voter registration deadline has passed. It was Thursday, Oct. 15.

➣ Second, Sign Up For Early Voting: Once registered, sign up for the permanent early voting list or request a one-time ballot. The deadline has also passed. It was 5 p.m. on Oct. 23.

  1. Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL): There are many benefits to this option. Once on the list, you'll get a mail-in ballot for every election unless something happens with the status of your voter registration. 
  2. One-time request: Make a request for a ballot-by-mail for this one election. You will not be added to the PEVL.
    • Phone: Call your county recorder's office
      • You will need to provide your name, birthday, home address, and other identifying information.
      • Maricopa County Recorder: 602-506-1511
    • Email: Send an email to your county recorder. Be sure to include the following information.
      • First and last name
      • Birthdate
      • Home address
      • Mailing address (if it's different)
      • State or county of birth or another piece of information that, if compared to your voter record, would confirm your identity (e.g. Arizona Driver’s License #, last 4 digits of Social Security number, father’s name, or mother’s maiden name)
      • Write the following message: “I am requesting a ballot-by-mail for the 2020 General Elections and am giving the County Recorder permission to mail my ballot to the address provided in this email.”
    • Online Form:

Related Links:

Q: When will I receive my ballot?

Counties started sending ballots on Oct. 7, which was also the first day of early in-person voting. If you do not receive your ballot by Monday, Oct. 12, it's probably a good idea to contact your county recorder's office. In general, you can expect your mail-in ballot about a week after you request it. If all else fails, you can always vote in person at an early voting center. You can also track your ballot to see its status. 

Q: What do I do if my ballot was mailed but I never received it?

If an early voter has not received their ballot, they may request a replacement. To request a replacement ballot by mail, a voter may send an email to voterinfo@risc.maricopa.gov or give us a call at (602) 506-1511. The last day to request a replacement by mail is October 23rd by 5 p.m. Voters also have the option of requesting a replacement ballot in person at any voting location.

Q Will my ballot be sent to my forwarding address on file with the Post Office? 

No. All official election materials, such as ballots, are marked (as required by law) "Do Not Forward – Return Service Requested"

If the early ballot is returned to us indicating you are no longer at the residence address on file or that a forwarding order is on file, then this will begin the process of deactivating your voter registration record unless a “Temporarily Away” order is in place for your address.

Always make sure to update your voter registration record when you move.

Q: How do I request to have a ballot mailed to a temporary mailing address?

You can either submit a written request or do so online at request.maricopa.vote.

Your written request must include the following:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Residence Address
  • Temporary Address
  • Signature
  • Be sure to include a note granting the Maricopa County Recorder's Office permission to mail to a temporary address.

You can email a scanned copy of this written request to evreq@risc.maricopa.gov, fax it to 480-360-3628, or mail it to:

Maricopa County Elections

Attn: Early Voting

510 S 3rd Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85003

Temporary mailing addresses can be submitted between 93 and 11 days prior to Election Day.

🡕 Click here for a contact list of Arizona's 15 county recorders

Q: What is the deadline to mail my ballot?

Arizona election officials recommend voters mail their ballots no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27. However, postmarks are irrelevant. Your ballot must make it to your county recorder's office by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 for it to be counted.

Some voter organizations are suggesting that if you do mail your ballot to do it no later than Oct 22. That's because the U.S. Postal Service has been mired in controversy surrounding potential problems handling election mail in a timely manner. "We recommend that domestic, non-military voters mail their completed ballots before Election Day and at least one week prior to your state’s deadline," USPS suggests on its election mail FAQ webpage. "We also recommend that voters request ballots at the earliest point allowable but no later than 15 days prior to the election date."

Q: What if I can't mail my ballot in time or just don't want to mail it?

Once you've requested a mail-in ballot, you have a plethora of options. 

  1. Complete your ballot at home: Once it's filled out, follow one of these steps:
    • Mail it: Remember, it's not the day that your ballot is postmarked for your vote to count. Your ballot must make it to the recorder's office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. 
    • Drop Off: Drop it off at an early voting center or a secure drop box before or on Election Day.
  2. Vote in person: Yes, Maricopa County voters who received a mail-in ballot can actually vote in person. 
    • Early: Go to an early voting center in Maricopa County and vote in person. Your mail-in ballot would then be voided. (By the way, all registered voters in Maricopa County are allowed to vote early as well. You don't have to be on PEVL. Check your county recorder's office to see if this option is available for you.)
    • Election Day: Vote in person at a Maricopa County voting center on Election Day. Your mail-in ballot would then be voided. 

🔗 Click here for Maricopa County voting centers

🔗 Click here for ballot drop box locations

Q: How do I know what signature is on file with the recorder's office?

The voter’s signature will either be the signature that they provided to MVD or signed on a paper voter registration form. If they have voted early in the past, that signature is also used as a comparison. A voter can contact their county recorder’s office if they would like to check on their signature. If a voter believes their signature needs to be updated, they can download a paper voter registration form and submit it to their county recorder’s office with their updated signature. 

Q: How do I track my ballot?

Arizona has made it fairly easy to track your ballot. Just click on one of the links below.

🡕 🔗 Maricopa County voters, track your ballot by visiting the recorder's ballot tracker.

🡕 🔗 All Arizona voters can go to the Secretary of State's voter information portal to track their ballot.  

Q: Is voting by mail safe?

Yes. "Arizona has a proud history of secure and reliable voting by mail," according to the website of Arizona's secretary of state.

Last year, the Maricopa County Recorder's Office upgraded their 25-year-old tabulation equipment. 

[READ MORE: 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper investigates ballot security]

Q: Are ballot drop boxes safe?

Drop-boxes must be set up in secure locations and some of these locations may not be accessible 24/7. If a drop-box is located outside and will not have a staff member stationed with it, the drop-box must be securely fastened to an immovable object. Some counties are electing to set them up in locations, like fire stations, that are operational 24 hours a day. More information about the operation of ballot drop boxes can be found on page 60 of the Elections Procedures Manual.

Q: When will my early ballot be counted?

Election officials will start counting early ballots - including mail-in ballots - 14 days before the election. This year that date is October 20. 

Q: The pen I used to fill out my ballot bled through the paper. Will that affect my vote being counted?

According to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, the ballots are printed in such a way that bleed-through does not affect tabulation. 

Mail-in ballot green affidavit envelope

You must sign and date the envelope containing your ballot before mailing it or dropping it off.

Q: Do I have to sign the green envelope for mailing or dropping off my ballot?

Yes! You must sign and date the envelope containing your ballot.

Q: Do I have to include my phone number on the green envelope?

It's not required, but a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Recorder's Office says it's a good idea. It makes it easier for officials to contact you if there is a problem with your ballot or a question about your signature. It's faster if they do not have to look up your contact information. Your phone number will not be saved.

Q: I messed up my ballot! What do I do?

If you have lost or damaged your ballot-by-mail, you may request a replacement either via mail or in-person. You also have the option to vote in person. Remember, postmarks are irrelevant. Your ballot must arrive at the recorder's office by Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

🡕 Click here for a contact list of Arizona's 15 county recorders

Q: What if I don't have any stamps?

You don't need a stamp to mail your ballot. Postage is pre-paid. Don't forget, your ballot must be received (not postmarked) by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Q: Can somebody else drop off my ballot for me?

Only a family member or caregiver can return your ballot for you.

Q: Somebody said they were collecting ballots and offered to turn in my ballot for me. Is that OK?

No. A 2016 Arizona law bars anyone but a family member or caregiver from returning another person’s early ballot. The US Supreme Court is looking at the law, but it won't be argued until early next year.

📃/► Supreme Court to review Arizona 'ballot harvesting' law

Q: What's the biggest mistake people make when it comes to mail-in voting?

According to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, the most common mistake people make is not signing and dating the envelope containing their ballot.

Q: Can I get an "I Voted" sticker if I vote by mail?

You will receive an "I Voted" sticker when you receive your mail-in ballot. You can also get a sticker at any of the voting centers.

Q: How do I contact the Arizona Secretary of State's Office?

Call 1-877-THE-VOTE (843-8683) or email elections@azsos.gov.

Editor's Notes: The deadline to register to vote has been changed twice since the original article was published. The first change on Oct. 10 reflected a court's decision extending the voter registration deadline to Oct. 23. The change on Oct. 14 reflected a different court's decision to move the deadline to Thursday, Oct 15.


Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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