BOSTON (WHDH) - The fear of voting in person and the possibility of contracting COVD-19 has lead hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts voters to cast their ballots by mail during the primary.

Heading into the general election, new data has revealed that nearly 18,000 ballots were thrown out back in September.

Alex Psilakis, who works for voting rights advocacy organization MassVOTE said, “18,000 is obviously 18,000 too many.”

Psilakis is in charge of making sure that every vote counts and is currently working on pinpointing why things went so awry in September.

“These are people that wanted to take part in the process and for whatever reason, we’re not able to – out of that 18,000 nearly half were because they arrived late,” he explained.

Election officials said the ballots that were rejected either arrived too late, had no signature or the sender had already voted.

Other problems arose with the post office. Some voters said they never received their ballots or that the ballot was returned to the election office.

When asked to put this into perspective, Secretary of State William Galvin said the statistic is misleading.

“First of all its less than 2 percent of the total number, 98 percent were returned.,” he said. “It doesn’t mean they didn’t vote, as I already said, 1,700 of that 18,000 were people who choose to vote in person instead, so their ballot was counted.”

This phenomenon is not unique to this anything but normal election year.

“In a typical election, approximately 3 to 5 percent of voters vote by mail,” Psilakis said. “In the primary, 50 percent voted by mail.”

In 2018, 5.5 percent were tossed and in 2016, it was 3.3 percent.

Galvin said that as far as September’s primary went, there were few complaints or problems.

“These anecdotal issues that are unfortunate, which we try to correct when we discover them, especially if we discover them early enough, should not invalidate the general confidence the public should have,” he said.

As long as the ballot is postmarked by November 3 and it arrives by November 6, the vote should be counted.

The ballots should start. arriving sometime next week.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox