Some voters have waited weeks for their absentee ballot. Here’s what to do if yours doesn’t show up

Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 3:56 PM EDT
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Some voters in Cabarrus County who requested absentee ballots more than a month ago still have not received their ballots.

WBTV received calls to our tip line from two couples who had been waiting on their ballots for more than a month.

Laura Collander and her husband are one of the couples.

Collander called on Monday after waiting at least six weeks for the ballot she requested in early September, along with her husband and son.

Her son, who is in college in Virginia, got his ballot and cast his vote. But, closer to home, Collander and her husband still didn’t have theirs.

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“It was four weeks, I guess, when I checked the first time and we hadn’t received our ballots,” Collander said.

Initially, when she called the board of elections, she said staff told her to wait a little longer to see if her ballot would show up in the mail.

This year, the Cabarrus County BOE mailed out 7,000 ballots in its first printing, according to director Carol Soles. Because of the high volume of ballots that had to be mailed, there were some initial delays.

But all requested ballots had been mailed as of last week, Soles said, and staff puts newly-requested ballots in the mail each day.

So, when Collander called the board of elections again a few weeks after her first call, the staff said they would spoil her ballot--meaning, essentially, they would cancel it so it couldn’t be counted--and put new ballots in the mail to her and her husband.

“Somehow, my ballot and my husband’s ballot were lost in the ether and if I didn’t call I wouldn’t have ever known that,” Collander said.

Soles, the elections director, said had office had “quite a few” ballots from the first printing that still had not been received by voters. She doesn’t know why.

But, she said, voters can call her office and request their original ballots be spoiled and new ones put in the mail.

Any North Carolina voter can call their county board of elections if they’ve waited weeks without receiving their ballot, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections said. The county board of elections can spoil the original ballot and mail a new one.

It should take between three and seven days for the new ballots to arrive in Cabarrus County. In Mecklenburg County, elections director Michael Dickerson said it was taking six to seven days to get absentee ballots out.

It has taken up to two weeks to turn around an absentee ballot request in other parts of the state, the Associated Press reported Monday.

So far, the NCSBE spokesman said, the state has mailed more than 1.2 million absentee ballots.

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