David Plouffe, the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign, spoke briefly in his July 30th podcast “Campaign HQ” (which I highly recommend) about mail-in-voting. He said the following (I added more comments):

  • More than 7-8% of mail-in ballots are thrown out and 10% of first-time voters’ ballots are discarded or set aside because the voter makes a mistake. Given that the US Postal Service will experience a surge in ballots-by-mail, the count may be delayed. Further, we know at this time that Trump’s appointment of Louis DeJoy, a big donor to Trump’s campaign with no experience in managing the US Postal Service, is already trying to undermine the election by putting up obstacles for delivery of the mail to give an advantage to Trump and Republican candidates.

David Plouffe says, of course, that we can all vote in-person on November 3rd if we aren’t overly concerned about catching the disease. Our votes will certainly count that way. But, if we want to vote-by-mail, there’s no reason to wait to request a ballot now (see note below for California voters). Once we do that, here are questions to consider:

  • If you are not registered to vote in your state, what are the rules for voter registration? Check on-line to find out.
  • Is your request for a mail-in-ballot in?
  • What are the rules for voting-by-mail? They are all stated on the ballot. Be sure to read them carefully.
  • Does the mail-in-ballot require postage?
  • Do the rules say that we have to sign the outside of the ballot envelope?
  • Do we need a witness to sign it with us?
  • Are we signing our name legibly and exactly as our name appears on the ballot?
  • Does the ballot need to be post-marked before the election? (In California, ballots must be postmarked by October 19, 2020 and received by October 27, 2020). Check on-line in your state to see when the period of voting-by-mail takes place. For Californians, here is the web-site with all the necessary information: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california/election-dates-and-resources/
  • After we complete the ballot, check to be certain that you filled it out exactly as instructed?
  • Leave nothing to chance!

I happily received the following email from the California Secretary of State two weeks ago:

Dear California Voter, 

All California voters will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot with prepaid postage for the General Election.

To make sure you get your ballot, we are asking all California voters to double-check their voter registration at:


You can ensure a smooth voting experience by:

  • Confirming your mailing address on the above site
  • Signing up for ballot tracking notifications by phone, email, or text on the above site

For voters unable to take advantage of vote-by-mail, you can still visit your local polling place for safe in-person voting and same-day registration.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have your ballot mailed directly to your home!

On behalf of the California Secretary of State’s Office, thank you!

P.S. Help us spread the word! Forward this email to 3 friends or family members (or more) and remind them it’s important to double-check their voter registration before the November election.

Do you know someone who is eligible to vote but may not be registered? Forward this email and tell them to register at registertovote.ca.gov