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2020 Legal Changes

Election laws usually change slowly, but they are changing rapidly in 2020 (mostly due to COVID-19). This page shows the legal changes that we have noticed.

If there is anything that we have missed, please send an email to legal@voteamerica.com.

State2020 legal changes
Alabama
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered Alabama voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
Alaska
  • Alaska voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of June 2020.
  • The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that Alaska voters do NOT need a witness signature for the November 3, 2020 election.
Arizona
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter who is not on the permanent early voting list will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, an Arizona court extended the voter registration deadline to October 23, 2020.
Arkansas
  • Due to COVID-19,** all registered Arkansas voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election** by using the "unavoidably absentee on Election Day" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
California
  • California will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
  • Mail-in ballots that are postmarked on November 3, 2020 and are received at most 17 days later will be considered timely and be counted.
Colorado

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.

Connecticut
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered Connecticut voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "COVID-19" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all registered voters will receive an absentee ballot application via the mail. All postage will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all municipalities will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all absentee ballots will have pre-paid postage.
Delaware
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive a voting by mail ballot application in the mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all mail-in ballots will have pre-paid postage.
District of Columbia
  • The District of Columbia will be sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters ahead of the November 3, 2020 election.
  • The District of Columbia no longer offers online voter registration nor an online vote by mail request portal as of July 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, the District of Columbia will allow people who are inprisoned and convicted of a felony to register to vote and vote.
Florida

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.

Georgia
  • Counties are now allowed to use absentee ballot drop-boxes. Each county will decide if they will use drop-boxes.
  • Georgia voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of August 2020.
Hawaii
  • As of January 2020, Hawaii will hold all elections by mail. Registered voters will automatically receive a mail-in ballot approximately 18 days before the election. There will be no traditional polling places. Instead, there will be "voter service centers" that open 10 business days prior to Election Day; voters can return their ballots to these centers if they so choose.
Idaho
  • Idaho voters can request a mail-in ballot online.
Illinois
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, everyone who has voted at least once since 2018 will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail. These applications will come with a pre-paid return envelope.
  • Voters can now request an absentee ballot when completing an online voter registration application.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, permanent early voting sites are now required to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends and holidays during the early voting period.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, polling sites are now allowed to do Curb-side voting.
  • Counties are now allowed to use absentee ballot drop-boxes. Each county will decide if they will use drop-boxes.
  • As of 2020, Election Day is also now a legal holiday in Illinois.
Indiana
  • Indiana voters can request a mail-in ballot online.
Iowa
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every active registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
Kansas

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.

Kentucky
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered Kentucky voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "Not Able to Appear at the polls on election day on account of age, disability or illness" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
  • In August 2020, the governor ordered that Kentucky mail-in ballots for the November 3, 2020 election will be considered timely if they are postmarked by Election Day (as opposed to received by Election Day).
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, Kentuckians who were unable to get a driver’s licenses or photo ID due to COVID-19 can sign a document explaining this and cast their ballot.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, counties may have absentee ballot drop off boxes. Please check with your Local Election Official to confirm if your county will have a dropbox.
  • Kentucky voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of August 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, early voting will begin on October 13, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, voters will not need an excuse to vote early in-person.
Louisiana

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.

Maine
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, a registration application sent by mail must be received by October 19, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, in person absentee voting will end on October 30, 2020.
Maryland
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every eligible voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, the deadline to return a vote by mail application is now received by October 20, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, early voting will begin on October 26, 2020 and end on November 2, 2020.
Massachusetts
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered Massachusetts voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive a vote by mail application in the mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, registration applications must be received by October 24, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, vote by mail requests must be received by October 28, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, early voting will begin on October 17, 2020 and end on October 30, 2020.
Michigan
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered Michigan voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Michigan voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of June 2020.
  • Some municipalities may provide pre-paid postage for vote by mail ballots. Please check with your Local Election Official.
Minnesota
  • In October 2020, an appeals courat ruled that Minnesota mail-in ballots will be considered timely for the November 3, 2020 election if they are received by Election Day (as opposed to postmarked by Election Day).
  • Due to COVID-19, Minnesota has waived the witness requirement for mail-in ballots for the November 3, 2020 election.
Mississippi
  • In July 2020, the Mississippi legislature passed a bill that allows Mississippi mail-in ballots to be considered timely if they are postmarked by Election Day (as opposed to received by Election Day).
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, early voting hours for October 31, 2020 are extended until 5 PM (as opposed to noon).
Missouri
  • Missouri added a new option to vote by mail: by mail-in ballot. In 2020, any registered Missouri voter can sign up for a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse. This requires the voted ballot to be notarized and can only be returned via mail.
  • In 2020, Missouri voters may now request an absentee ballot if they have contracted or are in a high-risk category for contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Voters are "high risk" if they are 65 or older, live in a long-term care facility, or have a have a chronic lung / heart / kidney / liver condition.
Montana
  • On August 6, the Governor of Montana issued an executive order allowing counties to conduct all mail ballot elections for the November 3, 2020 election. Most Montana counties will send mail-in ballots automatically to registered voters. Please contact your Local Election Official to know if you need to apply for an absentee ballot or if your county will mail you a ballot once you are registered.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, registration applications sent by mail must be postmarked by October 26, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, early in-person voting will begin October 2, 2020 for counties that will have an all vote by mail election. Early in-person voting will begin October 5, 2020 for counties that will have a primarily poll place election.
Nebraska
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, any county that will automatically send all registered voters mail-in ballots will be required to have at least one mail-in ballot dropbox and have an early in person option for voters.
Nevada
  • Nevada will send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter ahead of the November 3, 2020 election.
  • In August 2020, the Nevada legislature passed a bill that allows Nevada mail-in ballots to be considered timely if they are postmarked by Election Day (as opposed to received by Election Day).
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all counties will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all mail-in ballots will have pre-paid postage.
New Hampshire
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered New Hampshire voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "I am unable to vote in person due to concern for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)." excuse on the absentee ballot application.
New Jersey
  • New Jersey will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all counties will have at least 10 mail-in ballot drop off boxes.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all mail-in ballots will have pre-paid postage.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, early in-person voting will begin October 5, 2020.
  • New Jersey voters can register to vote online as of September 2020.
New Mexico
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, counties may mail everyone who has voted at least once since 2016 an absentee ballot application in the mail. Please check in with your county to find out if this applies to you.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, a vote by mail application must be received by October 20, 2020.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, voters must write the last 4 digits of their social security number on the outside envelope of their voted mail-in ballot.
New York
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered New York voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "temporary illness or physical disability" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
  • New York voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of August 2020.
  • In August 2020, the New York legislature passed a bill that allows New York voters to apply a for a vote by mail ballot for the November 3, 2020 election as soon as August 2020 (as opposed to 30 days before election day).
North Carolina
  • Due to COVID-19, North Carolina citizens who vote by mail will need only one witness signature instead of two on their voted ballots.
  • North Carolina voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of August 2020.
  • Voters who vote in person may now use a government assistance program ID that is issued by the United States government or North Carolina.
  • North Carolina will be providing ballot drop-off stations for the November 3, 2020 election.
North Dakota

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.

Ohio
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all county board of election offices will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, polling sites are now allowed to do curb-side voting.
Oklahoma
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, Oklahoma voters must either have their ballot notarized or include a copy of valid photo ID when they return their voted ballot. Physically incapacitated voters, must either include the signatures of two witnesses or a copy of valid photo ID with their voted absentee ballots.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, voters may use the "Physically incapacitated" exuse on the absentee request form if they: have tested positive for COVID-19 and are receiving medical treatment or is subject to a quarantine ordered by the voter's personal physician or the county health department; have been tested for COVID-19 and are quarantined or self-isolating while awaiting results of the test; have symptoms of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and have been advised by their personal physician or the county health department to quarantine or self-isolate; they are a member of a group considered at "higher risk of severe illness" as defined by the CDC; or have received a written recommendation from their personal physician that due to an underlying health condition they should not leave their home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oregon
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for mail-in ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
Pennsylvania
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for mail-in ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
Rhode Island
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered Rhode Island voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "I may not be able to vote at my polling place in my city/town on the day of the election" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
  • Due to COVID-19, Rhode Island has waived the witness/notary requirement for mail-in ballots for 2020 elections. Instead, voters will need to provide their driver's license or SSN number.
South Carolina
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all registered South Carolina voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for mail-in ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
  • The United States Supreme Court ruled that South Carolina Voters must have their voted mail-in ballot signed by a witness.
South Dakota

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.

Tennessee
  • Usually first time voters may only vote in person. A recent district court case ruled that first time voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election.
Texas
  • The early voting period has been extended for the November 3, 2020 election. Early voting will begin on October 13, 2020 and continue through October 30, 2020.
Utah
  • Utah will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
  • The deadline to register to vote is 11 days before an election as of 2020.
Vermont
  • Vermont will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for vote by mail ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
Virginia
  • In March 2020,** the Virginia legislature passed a law that allows most Virginia voters to vote by mail without an excuse**.
  • For the November 3, 2020 Election, voters will not be required to have a witness to cast a voted by mail ballot.
  • In March 2020, the Virginia legislature passed a law that allows mail-in ballots to be considered timely if they are postmarked by Election Day (as opposed to received by election day).
  • As of 2020, Virginia will have no-excuse early voting starting 45 days before Election Day.
  • Virginia no longer requires photo ID to vote in person. However, ID is still required to vote in person. If you do not have an ID when voting in person, you may sign a statement that you do not have ID.
  • Virginia now accepts any valid student ID card, a copy of a current utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck, or other government documents containing the name and address of the voter as ID to vote in person.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all counties will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for vote by mail ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
  • As of 2020, Election Day is also now a legal holiday in Virginia.
Washington
  • Washington Election Offices are currently closed to the public for in-person assistance until further notice.
West Virginia
  • Due to COVID-19, all registered West Virginia voters may vote by mail for the November 3, 2020 election by using the "Illness, injury or other medical reason which keeps me confined" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
  • West Virginia voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of August 2020.
Wisconsin
  • The Wisconsin Elections Commission agreed to send most registered voters an absentee ballot application for the November 3, 2020 election. Voters who have already requested an absentee ballot or that the Wisconsin Elections Commission believes have moved will not be mailed an absentee ballot application.
Wyoming

No changes so far for the November 3, 2020 election.