States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Every state’s absentee voting rules are different. Be sure you know and follow the rules for your state if you decide to vote absentee.
- Use Can I Vote to find out local requirements for absentee voting and apply by phone, mail, or online. This site will direct you to your state's absentee voting page.
- Contact your local election officials to find out if you can vote by mail in 2020 and apply for a mail-in absentee ballot online.
- Visit your state election office website to learn more about absentee voting and eligibility.
Every State Offers Mail-In Absentee Voting
Each state has mail-in voting, but some allow you to take part only in certain circumstances.
Some states require an excuse for voting by mail. Due to the coronavirus, some states are giving all voters an excuse to vote by mail for certain elections.
Because of the coronavirus, your state may automatically send you an absentee ballot or a form to fill out to request one.
For other rules about voting by mail, for out-of-state college students, military and overseas voters, and others, see Absentee Voting or Voting by Mail.
Request an Absentee Ballot
If your state doesn’t automatically send you an absentee ballot or a form to fill out to request one:
Go to Can I Vote and select your state from the dropdown menu
If you’re in the U.S., you must be registered to vote before your state will send you an absentee ballot.
Know Your State’s Absentee Ballot Deadlines
Make sure you follow your state’s deadlines for requesting and returning your absentee ballot. See your state’s absentee voting deadlines. And note the dates for when your ballot must be postmarked or received. It’s an important distinction.
You Received an Absentee Ballot but Want To Vote In Person
You might be able to vote in person on Election Day, even if you received a mail-in ballot. Every state has different rules, so check with your state or local election office for the specific procedures. Typically:
You’ll take your absentee ballot to your designated polling place on Election Day. Your polling place may change, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Check your polling place’s location before you go.
Depending on your state's rules, you might exchange your uncast absentee ballot for an in-person ballot, or complete your absentee ballot and hand it in, or cast a provisional ballot.
If you forget to bring your absentee ballot with you, you may be able to cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are counted once your election officials verify your voter status.
Know Your Options for Returning Your Absentee Ballot
Check with your local election office to learn about other ways to return your absentee ballot besides postal mail. Some states have ballot drop boxes. Many let you return your ballot in person at your local election office or another location.
No Online Voting
In federal elections in the United States, you can't vote online. The only way you can vote without going in person to a polling place is to use an absentee ballot.