What has happened to my absentee ballot?

I’ve voted by mail a number of times, and always wonder after I drop the ballot off in the mail — did my election official get my ballot? Was my absentee ballot challenged, and were my votes counted? Typically for most absentee voters, there just isn’t any easy way to know if their election official received their ballot and whether their ballot was counted.

Up in San Mateo County, California, they have developed (yet another) great interactive feature on their website; a tool to allow absentee voters to enter the number of their residential address, their zip, and their birthdate — and to from there learn about the status of their absentee ballot request, and whether their returned ballot was received. Here is a link to the tool (don’t try it, though, unless you are a registered voter in San Mateo County who has requested an absentee ballot)!

This is a great idea, and other election officials would be well served to implement similar services for their voters, especially election officials in places where voting by mail is common.