Roanoke election directors explain confusing aspects of mail-in voting: ‘Make sure that your vote is cast'

Each jurisdiction offers options to track ballot online for security

Confusion and concern over absentee voting
Confusion and concern over absentee voting

ROANOKE, Va. – 2020 is the year of the mail-in ballot, according to Roanoke City election director Andrew Cochran.

“We have already received 5,000 absentee applications, and most of those came by mail,” Cochran said.

However, the optional switch to mailed ballots has confused some voters in both Roanoke City and Roanoke County.

“We get probably 150 calls and emails a day, minimum,” Cochran said.

“So many people say, ‘Why don’t I have my ballot?’” said Roanoke County election director Anna Cloeter. “‘I know who I want to vote for, why can’t I vote?’”

The ballots don’t technically exist yet. Virginia has to wait until each party officially nominates its presidential candidate at a convention before each ballot is finalized and printed.

Cochran said requested ballots will reach mailboxes within a month, but he understands the anxiety of waiting.

“It’s been frustrating for me that we don’t already have ballots,” Cochran said. “Every locality in the state is experiencing the same thing right now.”