Election 2020: How much postage will I need to mail my ballot?

Voters: Start your balloting! Ballots in North Carolina get mailed out Friday
Posted at 6:03 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 19:32:43-04

It's no tax, but some Ohio voters spend more on ballots than people in Kentucky and Indiana. For Hoosiers and voters in the Bluegrass, absentee postage is free -- but prices in the Buckeye state vary.

What happens to Ohio absentee ballots missing stamps? Elections officials are urging voters not to leave it to chance.

Eric Corbin, the deputy director of the Butler County Board of Elections, said Ohio ballots didn't used to look the way they do this cycle.

"Used to be a full page of text that I assume not a lot of people read. This year it's a lot easier to read. It's a lot more simplified,” he said.

For the general election, Ohio printed bigger, bolder, and easier to read absentee ballot instructions that triggered questions from more than a few people.

"I’ve seen a lot of absentee ballots come back,” Corbin said. “I've seen people return two in the same envelope with one stamp before and it's got to us. But to make sure your ballot gets back to us on time and is properly delivered so we can count it, we want you to use two stamps."

Primary voters only needed one stamp for Butler County's primary, but current ballots are three inches longer, and that means more postage. One Hamilton precinct has so many amendments to settle, its voters have two-page, double-sided ballots. That also costs more to mail.

The post office requires election officials to tell voters exactly how much postage costs. In this case, 70 cents or two “forever stamps” will do.

A postal service spokesperson told WCPO they will still deliver ballots short on postage, but Corbin hopes voters won’t risk it.

"If you read the instructions and you're still not sure, just call us,” Corbin said. “We got a Facebook page or we have a website and we'll answer the question, too."

For more information, visit our 2020 Election Guide or ask questions through this form from WCPO 9 media partner ProPublica Electionland.

MORE: Problems at the polls? Report it here.

Read the postal service’s full statement to WCPO below:

“Each state, or the local Board of Elections if authorized, determines whether to provide voters with a pre-paid return envelope for mail-in ballots or request that voters apply their own appropriate postage. Where voters are required to apply postage, the Postal Service requires election officials to inform voters of the amount of postage required.

“If a return ballot is nevertheless entered into the mailstream with insufficient or unpaid postage, it is the Postal Service’s policy not to delay the delivery of completed mail-in ballots. We are proactively working with state and local election officials on mailing requirements, including postage payment. In cases where a ballot enters the mailstream without the proper amount of postage, the Postal Service will deliver the ballot and thereafter attempt to collect postage from the appropriate Board of Elections.”