“This year, there is a return envelope, privacy sleeve and a ballot,” Fuchs said. “This is due to the requirements of the mail vendor that the state procured to take the time and expense of packaging and mailing off of our hard-working county election officials. It has the added benefit of helping to speed up the tabulation process.”
Instructions that accompany absentee ballots incorrectly tell voters to enclose their ballots in a white envelope. Ballots will be counted as long as they’re received by county election officials before polls close at 7 p.m. on election day.
The secretary of state’s office is considering allowing county election officials to begin opening and scanning ballots before election day, helping them manage the heavy load of mailed ballots, Fuchs said. Absentee ballots wouldn’t be tabulated until election day.