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2020 vote by mail 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. In 2020, COVID-19 is almost always an accepted excuse.

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

Alabama vote by mail rules

  • You must provide an excuse to vote by mail in Alabama, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • 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.
Alabama vote by mail

Alaska vote by mail rules

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

Alaska vote by mail

Arizona vote by mail rules

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

Arkansas vote by mail rules

  • You must provide an excuse to vote by mail in Arkansas, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • If you are voting by mail due to COVID, check the box that says "unavoidably absentee on Election Day" on the request form.
Arkansas vote by mail

California vote by mail rules

  • California will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • You can still a request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.
California vote by mail

Colorado vote by mail rules

  • All Colorado 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.
Colorado vote by mail

Connecticut vote by mail rules

  • 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.
  • You will need to provide an excuse to vote by mail in Connecticut, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse. Check the "My Illness" excuse on the absentee ballot request form.
  • 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.
Connecticut vote by mail

Delaware vote by mail rules

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

Mail-in ballots:

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot application in the mail.
  • In 2020, any registered Delaware voter can sign up for a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all mail-in ballots will have pre-paid postage.

Absentee ballots:

  • You need to provide an excuse to vote by absentee ballot in Delaware, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • If you are requesting an absentee ballot due to COVID-19 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.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all absentee ballots will have pre-paid postage.
Delaware vote by mail

District of Columbia vote by mail rules

  • Due to COVID-19, all registered DC voters will be sent a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • You can still request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be temporarily out of town during a specific election.
District of Columbia vote by mail

Florida vote by mail rules

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

Florida vote by mail

Georgia vote by mail rules

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

Hawaii vote by mail rules

  • 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.
Hawaii vote by mail

Idaho vote by mail rules

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

Idaho vote by mail

Illinois vote by mail rules

  • 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.
  • Any registered Illinois voter may request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • Counties are now allowed to use absentee ballot drop-boxes. Each county will decide if they will use drop-boxes.
Illinois vote by mail

Indiana vote by mail 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 vote by mail

Iowa vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every active registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Iowa voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Iowa vote by mail

Kansas vote by mail rules

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

Kansas vote by mail

Kentucky vote by mail rules

  • You must provide an excuse to vote by mail in Kentucky, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • If you are requesting a ballot due to COVID-19 concerns, you must use the "Not able to appear at the polls on election day on account of age, disability or illness" excuse on the absentee ballot application.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all counties will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.
  • Kentucky voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of August 2020.
  • All voters may vote early without an excuse.
Kentucky vote by mail

Louisiana vote by mail rules

You can vote by mail in Louisiana if:

  • you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to serious underlying medical conditions as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (including chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, hypertension or other serious heart conditions, diabetes, undergoing chemotherapy, severe obesity (BMI of 40 or higher), chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis, liver disease, pregnancy, or immunocompromised due to cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications);
  • you are or are taking care of someone who is subject to a medically necessary quarantine or isolation order as a result of COVID-19;
  • you are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
  • you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • 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 vote by mail

Maine vote by mail rules

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

Maine vote by mail

Maryland vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every eligible voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Maryland voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Maryland vote by mail

Massachusetts vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an mail ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Massachusetts voter can request a mail ballot.
Massachusetts vote by mail

Michigan vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Michigan voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • Michigan voters can request a mail-in ballot online as of June 2020.
  • Some counties may provide pre-paid postage for mail ballots. Please check with your local election official.
Michigan vote by mail

Minnesota vote by mail rules

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

Minnesota vote by mail

Mississippi vote by mail rules

You can vote by mail in Mississippi if:

  • you have a pre-existing condition that causes COVID-19 to present a greater risk of severe illness or death;
  • 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, which may include, but is not limited to, a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 during the year 2020;
  • You are caring for a dependent that is under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19
  • 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 50 miles away, and you (the parent, spouse or dependent) will be with that 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 a member, spouse, or dependent of the congressional delegation;
  • you are a disabled war veteran (or spouse or dependent of such a person) in a hospital;
  • you are a member (or spouse or dependent of such a person) of the Merchant Marine or American Red Cross.
Mississippi vote by mail

Missouri vote by mail rules

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

Mail-in ballots:

  • In 2020, any registered MO voters can sign up for a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse
  • 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:

  • Absentee ballots require an excuse.
  • You can return an absentee ballot in person or by mail.
  • Some absentee voters will need to have their voted ballot notarized.

You can request 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
  • You have contracted or are in a high-risk category for contracting or transmitting COVID-19. You are "high risk" if you are 65 or older, live in a long-term care facility, or have a have a chronic lung / heart / kidney / liver condition.
Missouri vote by mail

Montana vote by mail rules

  • On August 6, the Governor of Montana issued an executive order allowing counties to conduct all mail ballot elections. Please contact you 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.

  • If your county requires you to apply for an absentee ballot, Montana does not require an excuse to vote by mail.

Montana vote by mail

Nebraska vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Nebraska voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, any county that will automatically send all registered voters mail ballots will be required to have at least one mail-in ballot dropbox and have an early in person option for voters.
Nebraska vote by mail

Nevada vote by mail rules

  • Nevada will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • You can still a request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.
  • 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.
Nevada vote by mail

New Hampshire vote by mail rules

  • You will need an excuse to vote by mail in New Hampshire, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • 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 vote by mail

New Jersey vote by mail rules

  • New Jersey will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 election.
  • You can still a request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all counties will have at least 10 mail-in ballot drop off boxes.
New Jersey vote by mail

New Mexico vote by mail rules

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

New Mexico vote by mail

New York vote by mail rules

  • You must provide an excuse to vote by mail in New York, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • If you are requesting a ballot due to COVID-19 concerns, you must use 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.
New York vote by mail

North Carolina vote by mail rules

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

North Carolina vote by mail

North Dakota vote by mail rules

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

North Dakota vote by mail

Ohio vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Ohio voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all county board of election offices will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.
Ohio vote by mail

Oklahoma vote by mail rules

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

Oklahoma vote by mail

Oregon vote by mail rules

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

Pennsylvania vote by mail rules

  • Any registered Pennsylvania can request an absentee ballot ballot and vote by mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for mail-in ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
Pennsylvania vote by mail

Rhode Island vote by mail rules

  • Any registered Rhode Island voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
Rhode Island vote by mail

South Carolina vote by mail rules

For the November 3, 2020 election, any registered South Carolina voter can sign up for a mail-in ballot without providing an excuse.

South Carolina vote by mail

South Dakota vote by mail rules

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

South Dakota vote by mail

Tennessee vote by mail rules

You will need to provide an excuse to vote by mail in Tennessee, but 100% of eligible voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse. It is up to the voter to determine their eligibility and no physician’s note is required. You can select 1 of 2 options:

  • You are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote (this includes persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it). For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person more susceptible, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html. A physician’s statement is not required to check this box.
  • You are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled (this includes caretakers for persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it). For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person more susceptible, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html. A physician’s statement is not required to check this box.

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.

Tennessee vote by mail

Texas vote by mail 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.
Texas vote by mail

Utah vote by mail rules

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

Vermont vote by mail rules

  • Vermont will send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for all 2020 elections.
  • You can still a request a one-time absentee ballot if you will be away from home during a specific election.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all postage for vote by mail ballots will be paid for by the Office of the Secretary.
Vermont vote by mail

Virginia vote by mail rules

  • 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.

  • Almost all registered Virginia voters can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

  • If you registered to vote by mailing in your voter registration application AND it is your first time voting in your district --- you cannot vote by mail unless you meet one of the following conditions:

    • 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
Virginia vote by mail

Washington vote by mail rules

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

Washington vote by mail

West Virginia vote by mail rules

  • You must provide an excuse to vote by mail in West Virginia, but 100% of voters can use COVID-19 as an excuse.
  • If you are requesting a ballot due to COVID-19 concerns, you must use 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.
West Virginia vote by mail

Wisconsin vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, most registered voters will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Wisconsin voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Wisconsin vote by mail

Wyoming vote by mail rules

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

Wyoming vote by mail