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Vote By Mail States

Some states are moving to vote-by-mail or increasing absentee voting options for voters. Is yours? The chart below outlines the options by state.

What Is Voting by Mail?

States usually have ways where citizens can vote without actually going to the polling station. These methods include absentee voting and voting by mail.

Voting by mail allows eligible voters to mail in their ballots if they can't go to the polls to vote on Election Day.

States have the following two systems in place that allow citizens to vote by mail:

1) Automatic Mail-In Ballot

States that follow this system will automatically send a ballot or an application to get a ballot to all registered voters. The number of polling sites varies from state to state. But generally, in states that send a ballot to voters, in-person voting is limited.

2) Request Required Mail-In Ballots

Here, eligible voters must initiate the process for receiving the ballots. That means they must request a ballot for the state to send them one. Some states require valid excuses before they send ballots, while others follow no-excuse ballot systems.

Absentee Voting vs. Voting by Mail-In Ballot

Absentee voting is another way that people can vote by mail. In fact, states often use "vote by mail" and "absentee voting" interchangeably.

Many states allow no-excuse absentee voting, which means a person can request an absentee ballot without needing to provide a reason (similar to states that have citizens request mail-in ballots). Other states require people to have a reason to receive an absentee ballot (such as age, oversees military duty, etc.).

A big difference between absentee voting and voting-by-mail is that in states with automatic mail-in ballots, all citizens receive ballots without needing to request them. In those states, fewer polling places are open on Election Day, and the ballots typically come a few weeks in advance of an election.

Requirements to Vote by Mail

The specific requirements to vote by mail depends on the state and the system it follows. Accordingly, the requirements to vote by mail are as follows:

Automatic mail-in ballots: If you live in a state where this system is followed, being eligible to vote is the only thing you need to receive a ballot or an application to get a ballot from your state.

Request mail-in ballots (no-excuse required): If your state follows this system, you must be eligible to vote and take steps to request a ballot be mailed to you.

Request mail-in ballots (excuse required): In addition to the requirements listed above, some states require you to have a valid excuse before they allow you to mail in your ballot. These excuses generally include:

  • Being outside the country at the time of voting
  • Being above a certain age or disabled
  • Being incarcerated
  • Religious reasons
  • Working during voting day

Voting During COVID-19: Mail-In Ballot and Absentee Voting States

The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting all ways of life, including how states administer elections. This includes changing how the primaries are being conducted, and expanding options for the November general election.

The majority of states have either postponed their primary or have switched entirely to voting by mail to prevent the spread of COVID-19. States have also taken measures to allow citizens to vote absentee and by mail. The table below outlines the actions taken by each state. It includes links you can use to access your state's absentee voting or mail-in-voting registration.

Note that in this table, no-excuse absentee voting is often called "mail-in voting" by states. The difference is that, in absentee voting states, you must request a ballot and can then mail it back to have your vote counted. Many states with absentee voting also allow in-person voting prior to Election Day for people who will not be able to vote on Election Day.

State Voting-By-Mail/Absentee Voting

Alabama

  • Need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee

Fill out an Alabama absentee voting application

Alaska

  • No-excuse absentee voting/vote-by-mail

Request an Alaska ballot by mail

Arizona

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a ballot-by-mail through Arizona's voter portal

Arkansas

  • Need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee

Request an Arkansas absentee ballot here

California

Colorado

Connecticut

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the August primary and the general election in November.
  • Typically, need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee in Connecticut

Delaware

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the July primary.
  • Typically, need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee in Delaware
District of Columbia
  • No-excuse absentee voting

Fill out the D.C. absentee ballot request form

Florida

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a Florida vote-by-mail ballot

Georgia

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the June primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Request a Georgia absentee ballot

Hawaii

Idaho

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballot applications are being sent to all registered voters who have not requested a ballot. The mail-in ballot return deadline for the primaries was also extended to June 2, 2020.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Apply for absentee voting with your county clerk

Illinois

  • For the 2020 general election, Illinois citizens can download a vote-by-mail ballot, available on the Illinois elections website on 8/5/2020.
  • No-excuse absentee voting

Indiana

  • Indiana will allow voters to cast a ballot by mail in the June primary election.
  • Typically, need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee

Get information about Indiana's absentee ballot program

Iowa

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the June primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Request an Iowa absentee ballot

Kansas

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Fill out an application for advance ballot by mail in Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a Maine absentee ballot three months before the election

Maryland

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to voters for the June primary. In each county, there will be at least one in-person voting center.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Request a Maryland absentee ballot

Massachusetts

Michigan

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots were being sent to all voters for the May primary and absentee ballots will be sent to all eligible voters for the general elections.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Download the Michigan absentee ballot application

Minnesota

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a Minnesota absentee ballot

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the June primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Request a Montana absentee ballot

Nebraska

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots were automatically sent to all voters for the May Primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Complete a Nebraska early voting application

Nevada

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the June primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Request a Nevada absentee ballot

New Hampshire

New Jersey

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots were automatically sent to all voters for the May primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Access your absentee voting application in your New Jersey county

New Mexico

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Fill out a New Mexico absentee voter application

New York

  • In response to COVID-19, all voters are allowed to vote by mail in the June primary. The state is automatically sending mail-in-ballot applications to all voters.
  • Typically, need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee

Get information about voting absentee in New York

North Carolina

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a North Carolina absentee ballot

North Dakota

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the June primary.
  • Typically, no-excuse absentee voting

Apply for an absentee ballot in North Dakota

Ohio

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Apply to "vote by mail" in Ohio

Oklahoma

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request an Oklahoma absentee ballot

Oregon

Pennsylvania

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Apply for an absentee ballot in Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots are automatically being sent to all voters for the June primary.
  • No-excuse absentee voting

Apply for a Rhode Island absentee ballot

South Carolina

South Dakota

Download or request a South Dakota absentee ballot

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a Vermont absentee ballot

Virginia

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Apply for absentee voting in Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

  • In response to COVID-19, mail-in ballots were automatically sent to all voters for the May primary.
  • Typically, need to show a valid excuse to vote absentee

Wisconsin

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a Wisconsin absentee ballot

Wyoming

  • No-excuse absentee voting

Request a Wyoming absentee ballot

*This table will continue to be updated as more states begin taking steps towards moving to mail-in ballot systems.

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