As of 2020, there are 5 states that hold all elections by mail: this means that mail-in ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters for every election. These states are Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. For the November 3, 2020 election, 4 additional states (California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Jersey) and the District of Columbia will also be automatically mailing ballots to all registered voters.
In all other states, you need to sign up to vote by mail (also called “absentee voting”). This is similar to registering to vote: first you fill out a form, then your local election office processes the form, and then your local election office mails you your mail-in ballot. This process is often slow and time consuming. The fastest way to sign up is online, but most states don’t have an online signup option.
The table below shows the ways that you can submit your vote by mail application to your Local Election Office.
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