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Butte County Elections Office shares clarification on Remote Accessible Vote by Mail program

The RAVBM program was designed to assist voters with disabilities, but due to the global pandemic, Governor Newsom decided to make the program available for all voters in 2020.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 6:04 AM

OROVILLE, Calif. -  Action News Now received a phone call from a viewer that wanted to know more about the Remote Accessible Vote By Mail (RAVBM) program. The family thought they were still signed up for voting by mail, as they had for years, but were confused when they received a ballot electronically. Our news team stepped in to find out more.

Madison Wyman is a manager for the Butte County Elections Office. She said the RAVBM program was designed to assist voters with disabilities, but due to the global pandemic, Governor Newsom declared through an Executive Order that the program would be available to all voters in 2020.

A sign-up form was sent to all Butte County voters, and many voters did in-fact sign up for the program, according to officials.

Wyman said she believes there is a bit of confusion with some voters as far as to how this program works. Basically the ballot is emailed to the email address provided on the sign-up form. There is also a one-time unique voter access code (which changes every election), officials explained.

A voter would use this access code to “sign-in” and mark their ballot. The ballot is actually not being marked on the internet and is not being electronically sent to the Elections Office.

Voters would download the ballot onto their personal device (i.e. computer, tablet, phone, etc.) and begin “marking their votes." Once complete, the voter will print the marked ballot. They will also print a form called “Oath of Voter," which they must sign, date, and return along with their marked ballot.

The ballot can be returned via fax, regular mail, an official ballot drop box, or vote center (including our office). The marked ballot cannot be emailed back to the Elections Office.

Wyman said, "It really is a great, convenient, safe and secure way to retrieve your ballot."

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