When will I get my 2020 general election ballot? And other questions answered.

A guide for Southern Nevadans

[Editor’s Note: This article is being updated as new information about the 2020 general election is released. It was last updated on Oct. 5]

Election Day & Early Voting & Vote-By-Mail

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Early voting will run Oct. 17 – 30. Vote-By-Mail will begin as soon as people start receiving their ballots (more on that in a minute).

What you need to do right now

Make sure your voter registration is up-to-date. If you are not registered to vote, register to vote. You can do both of those things at RegisterToVoteNV.gov.

What matters most is your current address. Nevada will be mailing ballots to all active registered voters. You are considered an active registered voter if the county you are registered to vote in has successfully delivered to you “election mail” (such as your voter registration card). Voters whose election mail have been returned to the election office as undeliverable by the United State Postal Service are labeled inactive registered voters. Inactive voters are still registered voters and may cast ballots; they simply will not receive a general election ballot in the mail.

If you are uncertain, login to Clark County’s Voter Services website. It clearly indicates whether you are considered active or inactive.

You should do all this as soon as possible. If you want to receive a mail ballot, you need to register or update your information by midnight on Oct. 15. Anyone who registers after that will have to vote in person. (For more information on how to register to vote, checkout this blog post.)

When to expect your ballot

Nevadans should start receiving ballots in the mail in late September or early October, according to the Secretary of State. Ballots are handled by counties, so some counties may receive them earlier than others. Large counties like Clark and Washoe may also see ballots arrive in waves.

Clark County election officials have said they will begin mailing out ballots on Oct. 7. The county’s election materials advise anyone who does not receive their ballot by Oct. 17 to contact their elections office at (702) 455-VOTE (8683) or [email protected].

The Secretary of State has partnered with BallotTrax, a free service that allows voters to track your ballot. Through their website you can see when your ballot has been mailed to you, when it has been returned, and when it has been counted.

How to return your ballot

By mail

Your ballot will come with a prepaid return envelope (which you’ll have to sign). You can use that envelope (and only that envelope) to return your ballot through the post office. Your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (Nov. 3) and it must be received by the county on or before the seventh day after the election (Nov. 10). The general recommendation here will be that sooner is better because it allows for that processing and delivery.

Again, Nevadans can use BallotTrax to keep track of where their ballot is and what it’s up to. You can also track their ballot return through the U.S. Post Office’s “Informed Delivery” free service. Finally, voters should be able to check whether their vote has been processed by logging onto the Clark County Registered Voter Services website and looking under “voter history” or on by visiting the SOS’s registered voter services website.

Drop it off

Clark County is providing numerous ballot drop-off locations for the general election. Residents will be able to drop off their ballots beginning Sept. 28 through Oct. 29 at several government offices. During the two-week early voting period (Oct. 17 to 30) and on Election Day (Nov. 3), all voting sites will double as mail ballot drop-off locations.

Ballots need to be dropped off by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Hours and days of operation vary by drop-off location. Government offices are closed on Fridays and weekends, for example. So, you should double check those before dropping off your ballot. (Click here for a list of drop-off locations.)

Physically dropping off your ballot is a good option for anyone who does not want to vote in-person but is wary of returning their ballot via the post office.

However you do it…

Voters are not required to use the mail ballot. You can opt to vote in person.

You can also opt to not vote at all, but you would never do that, because you understand your vote matters, and elections matter, and you will do your civic duty.

Voting in person

Voters are being encouraged to participate via mail, but Clark County will operate 35 physical vote centers during early voting and “more than 100” on Election Day for anyone who needs or prefers to cast a ballot using a traditional voting machine. You are not restricted to a polling place within your precinct and can visit any vote center within the county.

If you opt to visit a physical vote center this fall, you will need to either surrender your mail ballot or sign an affidavit stating you are not voting twice. (If you attempt to vote twice, election safeguards will catch it.)

Early vote hours of operation vary by location.

On Election Day, vote centers will open at 7 a.m. and anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be given the opportunity to cast their ballot.

Due to social distancing requirements and occupancy restrictions, some of the places you may have voted at during previous elections may not be vote centers this year — or they may look different. So, double check before you head to the polls. A list of Election Day sites has not yet been released by the county but we’ll update this article once it has.

If you want to do more…

Clark County is still accepting applications for people to work vote centers during early voting and on Election Day. Workers earn $14 per hour during early voting and $225 on Election Day. More information can be found on this flyer.

As for what’s on the ballot…

The soul of the nation, some are saying. The marquee election is obviously between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but there are dozens of races beyond that. Many of the outcomes will have very real, tangible impacts for Nevadans. There are also five statewide ballot questions covering the issues of same-sex marriage, voting rights, higher education, renewable energy and pardons. Head to the Current‘s 2020 Voter Guide for to see our coverage of races.

I’ve heard that…

A lot of misinformation is spreading about the upcoming general election. The Nevada Secretary of State’s office has a handy Myth vs. Reality handout that addresses many of these concerns.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.