Mail-in ballot boom

Margaret Allen
Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus on Monday stops by a table in the county clerk's office organized with some of the individual items required for advance mail ballot envelopes.

So far, 3,405 qualified Ellis County voters have asked the county clerk’s office to send them a mail-in ballot.

“Oh, that is a large number,” Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus said Monday. “Each and every day we get from 10 to 15 to 20 requests.”

Voters can request a mail-in ballot until Oct. 27 for the 2020 general election, which will determine, among other offices, the next president of the United States.

Ellis County will send out its mail-in ballots on Wednesday, Oct. 14, Maskus said, so voters should expect to get them in their mailbox by Oct. 16 or so.

Anyone expecting a ballot who doesn’t receive one in the mail should contact the county clerk’s office.

“To return that ballot, I encourage them to go ahead and get their voting done, and then seal that ballot into their envelope and make sure they sign it,” she said.

A completed ballot can be dropped off at the new secured dropbox on the south side of the Ellis County Administrative Center, which is accessed through the one-way alley off Main Street. That option doesn’t require postage.

“People are getting to like the dropbox,” Maskus said. “At any hour, any time, south of our building, 718 Main, they can just drop that ballot off.”

A ballot can also be hand-delivered to the clerk’s office in the Administrative Center.

The other option is to mail it back through the U.S. Postal Service, but the ballot envelope will require postage, must be postmarked no later than Election Day, and must be received by Friday, Nov. 6.

Mail-in ballots must be returned to the county clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The heavy number of mail-in requests for the General Election mirrors the trend in the Aug. 3 primary. Turnout also was heavier for that election, with 6,713 people voting, Maskus said, of 17,996 registered voters.

“For the primary, we mailed out 2,419 mail ballots,” Maskus said, “and returned were 2,123.”

In the last presidential election, in November 2016, turnout was 66.5% in Ellis County.

Don’t vote twice

While President Donald Trump has urged during a couple of his rallies that people vote twice to test the system, Maskus said the county’s recordkeeping would prevent that.

Each mail ballot is posted as a returned ballot when it comes back to the county clerk’s office, she said.

Anyone documented as having voted wouldn’t be offered a ballot on Election Day.

“It’s already going to say the mail ballot was received. It would say what day and everything. No one is allowed to vote more than one time,” Maskus said. “There’s lots of checks and balances.”

There’s no chance anyone will receive two mail-in ballots in the mail either, she said.

“Be assured, the county clerk is only going to send out one ballot,” Maskus said.

Anyone can go online to check the status of their ballot and other information, such as voting history, at

During the primary, Maskus said, the county had seven voters who reported not receiving their mail-in ballot despite requesting them, and despite records at the county clerk’s office showing they had been mailed.

“Those people went to the polls on Election Day and voted a provisional ballot,” Maskus said.

18,000-plus registered

For the general election, so far, there are 18,118 registered voters, Maskus said.

“Oh, it’s exciting,” she said. “I’ve been here over 41 years and I always wanted us to reach 18,000. This is the first time for that number. So it is very exciting.”

The last day to register to vote in the general election is close of business on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Advance voting starts Monday, Oct. 19, in the Ellis County Clerk’s Office. Registered voters may come in during normal business hours and vote at that time in advance of the election.