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One thing that was on my mind is the theoretical potential for mail-in ballots to be discarded between being cast and received by election officials. Though this is obviously illegal (it would be considered election tampering as well as destruction of postal property), what if my mail-in ballot was thrown away and it was provable since they never received it because of the post office person throwing them away purposely? How could I cast my vote if possible?

Note: It is common knowledge that mail-in ballots are overwhelmingly Democratic overall since 2020, especially in states that don't automatically mail out ballots, and are Democratic leaning at the local level in most circumstances. So the motive of someone doing this, especially in a competitive state or district is almost certainly to throw away net Democratic votes.

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    The first defence is that they have got to throw away thousands of them before it makes any kind of difference. Aug 10 at 18:12
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    "Note: It is common knowledge that..." - please show proof of this.
    – WPNSGuy
    Aug 10 at 18:37
  • Even if mail-in votes in 2020 were largely Democrats due to different views about COVID risk, historically mail-in votes are generally done by the old and wealthy, who tend to vote Republican. So it would be foolish to presume.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 11 at 15:26

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At least in California, you can go to the polling place that you would have voted at, had you not voted by mail, and cast a provisional ballot. You can probably also go to any other precinct in your county, but it would make for more work and more chance for something going wrong. Once all the ballots are collected, your county should see that there wasn't any VBM ballot received from you, at which point your provisional ballot should be deemed valid and counted. Each provisional ballot has a tracking number, so you can follow up as to whether it was counted.

This would require you to have sent in your VBM ballot early enough to notice that it hadn't been delivered, though.

If you're not in California and you're curious as to how your state handles it, you can contact your county's Registrar of Voters.

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  • I can confirm that WI has similar laws regarding absentee ballots. In fact, even if you think you had an error or changed your mind on who to vote you can file papers to spoil your first absentee ballot and replace it with a different absentee ballot in WI. Aug 15 at 3:32

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