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Absentee ballot rules

Last updated: August 5, 2020

Alabama absentee ballot rules

In 2020, any registered voter may request an absentee ballot due to COVID-19 concerns. If you are requesting a ballot due to COVID-19 concerns, you must use the "I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls" excuse on the absentee ballot application.

In general, you may vote by absentee ballot in Alabama if:

  • you will be absent from the county on Election Day
  • you are ill or have a physical disability that prevents a trip to the polling place
  • you are a registered Alabama voter who is temporarily living outside the county (such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside of the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person)
  • you are an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than your regular polling place
  • you work a required shift – 10 hours or more – that coincides with polling hours
Alabama absentee ballot

Alaska absentee ballot rules

Any registered Alaska voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Alaska absentee ballot

Arizona absentee ballot rules

Any registered Arizona voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Arizona absentee ballot

Arkansas absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Arkansas if:

  • you will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on Election Day
  • you will be unable to attend your polling site on Election Day due to illness or physical disability
  • you are a member of the U.S. armed forces, merchant marines or the spouse or a dependent family member
  • you are a U.S. citizen whose permanent residence is in Arkansas but who is temporarily living outside the United States
Arkansas absentee ballot

California absentee ballot rules

  • Any registered California voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • ALERT: California will mail every registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3rd, 2020 General Election. If you need to change the address where you would like to receive this ballot, update your voter registration at https://registertovote.ca.gov.
California absentee ballot

Colorado absentee ballot rules

All Colorado elections are vote-by-mail. You can still apply for a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.

Colorado absentee ballot

Connecticut absentee ballot rules

For the August 2020 Presidential and State Primary, all voters can vote by absentee due to the COVID-19 virus, pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order No. 7QQ. If you are requesting an absentee ballot due to COVID-19, you must check the "My Illness" excuse in the absentee request form.

Otherwise, you may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Connecticut if:

  • You will be absent from town during all the hours of voting
  • You are ill
  • You have a physical disability which makes it difficult for you to get to the polls
  • You are active duty within the US military
  • Your religious tenets forbid secular (non-religious) activity on Election Day
  • Your required performance of duties as a primary, referendum, or election official at a polling place other than your own during all the hours on Election Day
Connecticut absentee ballot

Delaware absentee ballot rules

Any registered Delaware resident may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

If you are requesting an absentee ballot due to COVID-19 (including practicing self-quarantining or social distancing), you must check the "I am sick, or physically disabled" excuse when filling out the absentee application form. This is reason #3 on the absentee ballot application.

Delaware absentee ballot

District of Columbia absentee ballot rules

Any registered DC voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

District of Columbia absentee ballot

Florida absentee ballot rules

Any registered Florida voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Florida absentee ballot

Georgia absentee ballot rules

Any registered Georgia voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Georgia absentee ballot

Hawaii absentee ballot rules

As of 2020, all Hawaii elections are vote-by-mail. You can still apply for a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.

Hawaii absentee ballot

Idaho absentee ballot rules

Any registered Idaho voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Idaho absentee ballot

Illinois absentee ballot rules

Any registered Illinois voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Illinois absentee ballot

Indiana absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail In Indiana if:

  • You have a specific, reasonable expectation that you will be absent from the county on Election Day during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open (6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.).
  • You have a disability.
  • You are at least 65 years of age.
  • You will have official election duties outside of your voting precinct.
  • You are scheduled to work at your regular place of employment during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  • You are prevented from voting due to the unavailability of transportation to the polls.
  • You will be confined due to illness or injury or you will be caring for an individual confined due to illness or injury during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  • You are prevented from voting because of a religious discipline or religious holiday during the entire 12 hours that the polls are open.
  • You are a participant in the state’s address confidentiality program.
  • You are a serious sex offender as defined in Indiana Code 35-42-4-14(a).
  • You are a member of the military or a public safety officer.
Indiana absentee ballot

Iowa absentee ballot rules

Any registered Iowa voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Iowa absentee ballot

Kansas absentee ballot rules

Any registered Kansas voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Kansas absentee ballot

Kentucky absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Kentucky if:

  • you are advanced in age, disabled, or ill
  • you are a military personnel or their dependent, or an overseas citizen
  • you are a student who temporarily resides outside the county
  • you are a voter who temporarily resides outside of Kentucky and who maintains eligibility to vote in Kentucky, such as a “snowbird”
  • you are incarcerated, but not yet convicted of a crime
  • you are employed outside of the county all hours the polling place is open.

You can vote by absentee ballot in person in Kentucky if:

  • you will be out of the county on election day
  • you are advanced in age, disabled, or ill
  • you are a military personnel, their dependent, or an overseas citizen
  • you are a military personnel confined to base and learn of your confinement within seven days or less of an election
  • you are a student or resident who temporarily resides outside of the county
  • you are a voter or the spouse of a voter who has surgery scheduled that will require hospitalization on Election Day
  • you are a pregnant woman in third trimester
  • you are a precinct election officer appointed to serve in precinct other than his own, an alternate precinct election officer, County Board of Elections members or staff, Deputy county clerk, or State Board of Elections staff
Kentucky absentee ballot

Louisiana absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Louisiana if:

  • you are a student or teacher located and living outside of your parish of registration, or the spouse/dependent thereof;
  • you are 65 years of age or older;
  • you are a minister, priest, rabbi, or other member of the clergy assigned outside of your parish of registration, or the spouse/dependent thereof;
  • you are or expect to be temporarily outside the territorial limits of the state or absent from your parish of registration during the early voting period and on Election Day;
  • you moved your residence to another parish more than 100 miles from the parish seat of your former residence after the voter registration books closed (the books close 30 days prior to Election Day);
  • you are involuntarily confined in an institution for mental treatment outside your parish of registration and you are not interdicted and not judicially declared incompetent;
  • you expect to be hospitalized on Election Day and did not have knowledge until after the time for early voting had expired; you were hospitalized during the time for early voting and you expect to be hospitalized on Election Day; or you were either hospitalized or restricted to bed by your physician during early voting and on Election Day;
  • you work or expect to be offshore working and expect to be out of your precinct of registration both during the early voting period and on Election Day because of your employment or occupation;
  • you are incarcerated in an institution inside or outside of your parish of registration and you are not serving time for a felony conviction;
  • you are a program participant in the Department of State’s Address Confidentiality Program;
  • you will be sequestered on the day of Election Day; or
  • you are the secretary of state, an employee of the secretary of state, or an employee of the registrar of voters.
Louisiana absentee ballot

Maine absentee ballot rules

Any registered Maine voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Maine absentee ballot

Maryland absentee ballot rules

Any registered Maryland voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Maryland absentee ballot

Massachusetts absentee ballot rules

Any registered Maryland voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Massachusetts absentee ballot

Michigan absentee ballot rules

Any registered Michigan voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Michigan absentee ballot

Minnesota absentee ballot rules

Any registered Minnesota voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Minnesota absentee ballot

Mississippi absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Mississippi if:

  • you will be away from your county on Election Day for any reason;
  • you are a student, teacher, or administrator at a school whose studies or employment there necessitates your absence from your county on Election Day; or you are the spouse or dependent thereof;
  • you have a temporary or permanent physical disability that renders you unable to vote in person without substantial hardship;
  • you are the parent, spouse, or dependent of a person with a temporary or permanent physical disability who is hospitalized outside of their county of residence or more than fifty (50) miles away, and you (the parent, spouse or dependent) will be with that person on Election Day;
  • you are sixty-five (65) years of age or older;
  • you will be unable to vote in person because you are required to be at work on Election Day during the times at which the polls will be open;
  • you are a member, spouse, or dependent of the congressional delegation;
  • you are a disabled war veteran (or spouse or dependant of such a person) in a hospital;
  • you are a member (or spouse or dependant of such a person) of the Merchant Marine or American Red Cross.
Mississippi absentee ballot

Missouri absentee ballot rules

Missouri distinguishes between "absentee ballots" and "mail-in ballots."

In 2020, any registered MO voters can sign up for a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse, but you can only return your mail-in ballot via the mail. Everyone who uses a mail-in ballot will need to have their voted ballot notarized.

Absentee ballots require an excuse, and can be returned in-person or by-mail. Some absentee voters will need to have their voted ballot notarized. You can return an absentee ballot in person or by mail. You can sign up for an absentee ballot if:

  • you will be absent from your voting jurisdiction on Election Day
  • you are incapacitated or confined due to illness or physical disability, or caring for an incapacitated person
  • you are restricted by religious belief or practice
  • you are employed by Election Day authority
  • you are incarcerated, but have retained all your voting qualifications
  • 2020 ONLY: you have contracted or are in an at-risk category for contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Voters who are considered at-risk for contracting or transmitting COVID-19 are those who: Are 65 years of age or older; Live in a long-term care facility; Have chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; Have serious heart conditions; Have diabetes; Have chronic kidney disease and are undergoing dialysis; or Have liver disease
Missouri absentee ballot

Montana absentee ballot rules

Any registered Montana voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Montana absentee ballot

Nebraska absentee ballot rules

Any registered Nebraska voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Nebraska absentee ballot

Nevada absentee ballot rules

Any registered Nevada voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Nevada absentee ballot

New Hampshire absentee ballot rules

Any voter may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail for the September 2020 Primary and November 2020 General Elections based on concerns regarding COVID-19. If you request an absentee ballot due to COVID-19, you must select "I am unable to vote in person due to concern for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)." on the absentee request form.

New Hampshire absentee ballot

New Jersey absentee ballot rules

Any registered New Jersey voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

New Jersey absentee ballot

New Mexico absentee ballot rules

Any registered New Mexico voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

New Mexico absentee ballot

New York absentee ballot rules

You may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail in New York if:

  • You will be absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City, absent from New York City, on Election Day
  • You are unable to appear at the polls due to illness or physical disability or because you are the primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled
  • You are a a resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital
  • You are in jail awaiting Grand Jury action but not yet convicted of any crime
  • You are in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.
  • Pursuant to Executive Order 202.15 issued April 9, 2020, voters may request and vote via an absentee ballot for any election held on or before June 23, 2020 due to the potential to contract the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). To request an absentee ballot, voters may fill out an absentee ballot application and check “temporary illness or physical disability” as the reason they are requesting an absentee ballot.
New York absentee ballot

North Carolina absentee ballot rules

Any registered North Carolina voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

North Carolina absentee ballot

North Dakota absentee ballot rules

Any North Dakota resident may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

North Dakota absentee ballot

Ohio absentee ballot rules

Any registered Ohio voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Ohio absentee ballot

Oklahoma absentee ballot rules

Any registered Oklahoma voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Oklahoma absentee ballot

Oregon absentee ballot rules

All registered Oregon voters automatically receive vote-by-mail ballots. You can still apply for a one-time absentee ballot if you need your ballot mailed someplace other than your usual address.

Oregon absentee ballot

Pennsylvania absentee ballot rules

Any registered Pennsylvania voter may apply for a mail-in ballot and vote by mail.

Pennsylvania absentee ballot

Rhode Island absentee ballot rules

Any registered Rhode Island voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Rhode Island absentee ballot

South Carolina absentee ballot rules

In most cases you can only apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail in South Carolina if you will be away from your county of residence on Election Day.

South Carolina will let you apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail even if you're not away from your county on Election Day if:

  • you are physically disabled
  • your job prevents you from voting
  • you are a certified poll watcher, poll manager, or county election official and you will be working on Election Day
  • you are attending to sick or physically disabled persons
  • you have been admitted to the hospital as an emergency patient on day of election or at least four days prior to Election Day
  • there has been a death or funeral in your family within three days before Election Day
  • you are on jury duty in state or federal court on Election Day
  • you are 65 or older
  • you are confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
  • you are a member of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marines (or a spouse or dependent residing with such a person)

Any voter can now select Reason 18 – State of Emergency on the absentee application for the June 2020 Primary and Runoff Elections.

South Carolina absentee ballot

South Dakota absentee ballot rules

Any registered South Dakota voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

South Dakota absentee ballot

Tennessee absentee ballot rules

Any registered Tennessee resident may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Otherwise, you may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Tennessee if:

  • you will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on Election Day;
  • you or your spouse are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county of registration;
  • you will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court;
  • you are sixty (60) years of age or older;
  • you have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place;
  • you are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote; and/or you have determined it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in-person due to the COVID-19 situation.
  • you are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled, and/or you have determined it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in-person due to the COVID-19 situation.
  • you are hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person;
  • you are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled;
  • you are a candidate for office in the election;
  • you serve as an Election Day official or as a member or employee of Election Day commission;
  • you will be observing a religious holiday which prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day;
  • you or your spouse possess a valid commercial drivers license (CDL) or Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and you certify that you will be working outside the state or county of registration during the early voting period and all day on Election Day;
  • you are a member of the military or an overseas citizen;
  • a licensed physician has filed a statement with the county election commission stating that, in the physician’s judgment, you are medically unable to vote in person. The statement must be filed not less than five (5) days before Election Day and signed under the penalty of perjury;
  • you reside in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside the voter’s county of residence.

If you are one of the last two, you can apply to be a permanent absentee voter.

Tennessee absentee ballot

Texas absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Texas if:

  • you are 65 years or older;
  • you are disabled;
  • you will be out of the county on Election Day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or
  • you are confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
  • it is unclear at this point if COVID-19 will be an acceptable excuse to vote by mail. We will update the rules as we learn more.
Texas absentee ballot

Utah absentee ballot rules

As of 2020, all Utah elections are vote-by-mail. You can still apply for a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.

Utah absentee ballot

Vermont absentee ballot rules

Any registered Vermont voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Vermont absentee ballot

Virginia absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Virginia if:

  • you are a student (or the spouse of a student) attending college or university outside of your Virginia locality
  • you have business outside your county/city of residence on Election Day
  • you have personal business or vacation outside county/city of residence on Election Day
  • you are working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6am and 7pm on Election Day
  • you are a first responder (member of law enforcement, fire fighter, emergency technician, search and rescue)
  • you have a disability or illness
  • you may give reason "a disability or illness" for Absentee voting in the June 2020 elections due to COVID-19
  • you are primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home
  • you are pregnant
  • you are confined, and awaiting trial, or convicted of a misdemeanor
  • you are an electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • you have a religious obligation that prevents you from voting on Election Day
  • you are an active duty member of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine (or the spouse of an active duty member)
  • you are temporarily residing outside of the US
  • you moved to another state less than 30 days before a presidential election (you will only receive a ballot for the presidential/vice-presidential election; ballots for other offices/issues will not be sent)
  • you are an authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place
  • you have been granted a protective order by a court
Virginia absentee ballot

Washington absentee ballot rules

Washington elections are all vote-by-mail. You can still apply for a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.

Washington absentee ballot

West Virginia absentee ballot rules

You may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in West Virginia if:

  • you will be absent from the county during both the early voting period and Election Day because of personal or business travel or attendance at a college, university or other place of education or training;
  • employment that makes voting in person impossible because of the hours worked and distance from the county seat
  • you are confined to a specific location and prevented from voting in person due to an illness, injury, other medical reason, physical disability, or advanced age;
  • you are incarcerated or detained in jail or a home on Election Day, but not under conviction of any felony, of treason, or of bribery (including any period of probation or parole);
  • you are a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) with the Office of the Secretary of State;
  • the county absentee voting office and your polling place are inaccessible to to you due to your physical disability.
West Virginia absentee ballot

Wisconsin absentee ballot rules

Any registered Wisconsin voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Wisconsin absentee ballot

Wyoming absentee ballot rules

Any registered Wyoming voter may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Wyoming absentee ballot