Skip to content
Last updated:

Absentee and mail ballot rules

Voting by mail and voting by absentee ballot are the same exact thing. Both involve using a mail-in ballot to vote instead of voting in person.

The majority of states will let any registered citizen vote by mail. Some states require that voters provide a reason or an excuse for voting by mail instead of voting in person.

If anything on this page is incorrect, please send an email to error@voteamerica.com.

Alabama absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can 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
  • you are an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than your regular polling place
  • you work a required shift of 10 hours or more that coincides with polling hours
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Alabama

Alaska absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Alaska voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Alaska

Arizona absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Arizona voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Arizona

Arkansas absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You may vote by absentee ballot in Arkansas if:

  • you will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on Election Day
  • you will be unable to vote in person on Election Day due to illness or physical disability
  • you are an Arkansas resident who is living overseas
  • you are an active duty member of the military or merchant marine who is stationed away from home, or the spouse or dependent of such a person.
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Arkansas

California absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered California voter may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in California

Colorado absentee and mail ballot rules

Ballots are automatically sent to all registered voters.

  • All Colorado elections are held by mail, so you will automatically receive a mail-in ballot at your registered address.
  • You can request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Colorado

Connecticut absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You may vote by absentee ballot 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 religion forbids non-religious activity on Election Day
  • Your will be working as a poll worker at a polling place other than your own during all the hours on Election Day
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Connecticut

Delaware absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in Delaware if:

  • you are unable to vote in person due to work obligations (if you are a student, eligible incarcerated people, or are providing care to a parent, spouse, or child you may use this excuse)
  • you are sick or physically disabled,
  • you will be absent from your county during voting periods, or
  • you are restricted from voting in person due to religious beliefs.
  • you are in public service of the U.S. or the State of Delaware (or are a spouse or dependent thereof),
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Delaware

District of Columbia absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered DC voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in District of Columbia

Florida absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Florida voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Florida

Georgia absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Georgia voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Georgia

Hawaii absentee and mail ballot rules

Ballots are automatically sent to all registered voters.

All Hawaii elections are vote-by-mail. You can still request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be temporarily out of town during a specific election.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Hawaii

Idaho absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Idaho voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Idaho

Illinois absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

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

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Illinois

Indiana absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote using an absentee ballot in Indiana if:

  • You will be absent from your county on Election Day
  • you have a disability
  • you are at least 65 years old
  • 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 12 hours that the polls are open
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Indiana

Iowa absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Iowa voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Iowa

Kansas absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Kansas voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Kansas

Kentucky absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can 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 in person at your County Clerk's office before Election Day 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
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Kentucky

Louisiana absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in Louisiana if:

  • you are 65 years or older,
  • you are a student or teacher located and living outside of your parish of registration, or the spouse/dependent thereof,
  • 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 state or absent from your parish of registration during the early voting period and on Election Day,
  • you moved over 100 miles away from your former residence within 30 days of Election Day,
  • you are involuntarily confined or incarcerated in an institution either for mental treatment (must be confined outside of your place of registration and not be judicially declared incompetent) or for a conviction (although you must NOT be serving time for a felony conviction),
  • you expect to be hospitalized on Election Day and did not know until after the early voting period OR you were hospitalized during early voting and expect to be hospitalized on Election Day, or
  • you are a participant in the Department of State’s Address Confidentiality Program.
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Louisiana

Maine absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Maine voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Maine

Maryland absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Maryland voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Maryland

Massachusetts absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

You may vote using an absentee ballot in Massachusetts if:

  • you will be away from home on Election Day
  • you have a physical disability preventing you from voting in person
  • you cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs
  • you are a Massachusetts resident residing outside of the United States,
  • you are a voter who has been admitted to the hospital within 1 week of Election Day
  • you are a voter who has been quarantined within 1 week of the election
  • you are incarcerated (but not yet convicted of a crime)
  • you are an active duty military voter
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Massachusetts

Michigan absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Michigan voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Michigan

Minnesota absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any Minnesota resident can request an absentee ballot. If you are not yet registered, you will receive a voter registration form along with your absentee ballot.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Minnesota

Mississippi absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in Mississippi if:

  • you will be away from your county on Election Day for any reason
  • you have a temporary or permanent physical disability that renders you unable to vote in person without substantial hardship
  • you are the caretaker for a person with a temporary or permanent physical disability
  • you will be away at school, either as a student, teacher, or administrator and will be unable to vote in person on Election Day
  • you are 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 hospitalized, or you are a caring for someone who has been hospitalized
  • you are a member (or spouse or dependent of such a person) of the military, the Merchant Marine, or American Red Cross.
  • you are quarantining due to COVID-19
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Mississippi

Missouri absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

You can vote using an absentee ballot in Missouri if:

  • you will be away from home on Election Day
  • you are incapacitated or confined due to illness or physical disability
  • you are the caretaker for an incapacitated or physically disabled person
  • you are restricted by religious belief or practice
  • you will be working at a polling place on Election Day that is not your designated polling place.
  • you are incarcerated but not yet convicted of a crime
  • You are a participant in the Department of State's Address Confidentiality Program
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Missouri

Montana absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Montana voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Montana

Nebraska absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Nebraska voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Nebraska

Nevada absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Nevada voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Nevada

New Hampshire absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in New Hampshire if:

  • you will be absent from your county on Election Day
  • you cannot appear in public on Election Day because of religious observances
  • you are unable to vote in person due to a disability
  • you cannot appear during the designated polling hours because of employment obligation or childcare.
Request your absentee or mail ballot in New Hampshire

New Jersey absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered New Jersey voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in New Jersey

New Mexico absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered New Mexico voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in New Mexico

New York absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

Any registered New York voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in New York

North Carolina absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

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

Request your absentee or mail ballot in North Carolina

North Dakota absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any North Dakota resident can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in North Dakota

Ohio absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Ohio voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Ohio

Oklahoma absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

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

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Oklahoma

Oregon absentee and mail ballot rules

Ballots are automatically sent to all registered voters.

All Oregon elections are held by mail. You can still request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Oregon

Pennsylvania absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Pennsylvania voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Pennsylvania

Rhode Island absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in Rhode Island if you are unable to vote in person for whatever reason. Examples include:

  • you are unable to vote in person due to illness or physical disability
  • you will be away at college
  • you will be at work for the entire time that polls are open
  • you live overseas
  • you are an active duty member of the Armed Forces or the Merchant marines (or a spouse or dependent of such a person)
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Rhode Island

South Carolina absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in South Carolina if:

  • you are physically disabled
  • you are away at school
  • you are unable to vote on Election Day due to work, illness, or a death in the family
  • you will be outside of your county on Election Day
  • you will be serving as a juror in state or federal court on Election Day
  • you are 65 years of age or older, or
  • you are unable to vote at polling locations due to religious observances (presidential primaries only)
  • you are a member of the Armed Forces, Merchant Marines, American Red Cross, or the spouse or dependent of someone who is
Request your absentee or mail ballot in South Carolina

South Dakota absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered South Dakota voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in South Dakota

Tennessee absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote by absentee ballot in Tennessee if:

  • you are 60 years of age or older
  • you will be outside of your county during the early voting period and all day on Election Day
  • you are a full time student outside of your county
  • you reside in a nursing home or living facility outside of your county
  • you serve as an Election Day official
  • you will be unable to vote in person due to jury duty
  • you have a physical disability and are unable to vote in person
  • you are a member of the military or an overseas citizen
  • you are on the permanent absentee list.
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Tennessee

Texas absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You can vote using an absentee ballot 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 early voting period
  • you are in jail but not yet convicted of a crime
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Texas

Utah absentee and mail ballot rules

Ballots are automatically sent to all registered voters.

All Utah elections are held by mail. You can still request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Utah

Vermont absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Vermont voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Vermont

Virginia absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

If you have voted at least once in Virginia, you may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail. If you are a first-time VA voter and you did not register to vote in person, you can only vote by absentee ballot if one of the following is true:

  • you are a student attending college/university outside of your city/county of residence in Virginia,
  • you have a disability or illness that prevents you from voting in person,
  • you are pregnant,
  • you are confined awaiting trial or you are confined following conviction for a misdemeanor,
  • you are active duty merchant marine or in the armed forces or a spouse or dependent of an active duty service member,
  • you are temporarily residing outside of the United States,
  • you have moved to another state less than thirty days before a Presidential election and you are requesting a ballot for Presidential and Vice-Presidential electors only,
  • you are age 65 or older.
Request your absentee or mail ballot in Virginia

Washington absentee and mail ballot rules

Ballots are automatically sent to all registered voters.

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

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Washington

West Virginia absentee and mail ballot rules

Excuse required.

You may vote using an absentee ballot in West Virginia if:

  • you have an illness, injury, disability, or another medical issue that makes it hard to vote in person
  • you are elderly
  • you have to work during polling hours
  • you will be away from home on Election Day and during the early voting period
  • you are a student attending school outside of your county
  • you are currently incarcerated or under home detention but have not been convicted of any felony, treason, or election bribery
Request your absentee or mail ballot in West Virginia

Wisconsin absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Wisconsin voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Wisconsin

Wyoming absentee and mail ballot rules

No excuse required.

Any registered Wyoming voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Request your absentee or mail ballot in Wyoming