Recently some ruined ballots have turned up in California and election officials have had to remind voters not to disinfect their mail-in ballots.
According to a public information officer Jana Haynes, several Sacramento County voters dropped off their "ruined ballots" because they had attempted to clean them with a liquid sanitizer if fear of contracting COVID-19.
"Voters do not need to be wary of covid-19 exposure on their ballot paper or any of the contents inside their mailed envelope," said Hayes.
Officials say the risk of exposure from a paper's surface is very low. Additionally, the paper ballot inside the mailer has gone "untouched for at least a week from the time it was stuffed, taken to USPS, and in transit to your mailbox."
Not only is cleaning a ballot with sanitizer unnecessary but it could cost voters their vote.
If a high alcohol content liquid, like that of hand sanitizer, is used to clean paper it can smear the ink on the page which would result in the ballot being "unreadable," Haynes warned.
For those voters who have already dropped of destroyed ballots, officials were able to provide them with new ballots and void the ruined ones to they could still cast their vote.
In the event that a submitted ballot is unreadable or destroyed and has been separated from its identifying envelope, which Haynes says is known to happen early in the process to maintain anonymity, they have safeguards in place.
This information is very important because, as Haynes stressed, "as always, we want every vote to count."