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Takeaways

This report highlights that many, indeed most, absentee/mail voting policy points were not significantly affected by the pandemic. If changes were made to policies for the 2020 election, they reverted to the policy existing prior to the pandemic. With that in mind, here are the key takeaways:  

  1. There was no nationwide roll back of absentee/mail voting after the pandemic, counter to the narrative often seen in the media. No states curtailed absentee/mail voting eligibility between 2020 and 2022. On the contrary, absentee/mail voting eligibility increased. (See Table 1.)  
  2. As a response to fears of COVID, eligibility for absentee/mail voting was liberalized on a temporary basis for the 2020 general election in 14 of the 16 states that require a voter to provide a reason they want to “vote absentee.” Only one of those states continued with the new policy, post-2020, with the rest reverting to their pre-COVID policies. (See Table 1.) 
  3. Early in-person voting expanded in 2021 and 2022. Prior to 2020, eight states did not have early in-person voting. By November 2022, five of those eight states had adopted early in-person voting, with Alabama Mississippi and New Hampshire as the exceptions. (See Table 2.) 
  4. The COVID pandemic accelerated the existing slow trend toward mostly-mail elections. At the start of 2020, five states conducted elections almost entirely by mail; by the 2022 general election, eight states did, and the District of Columbia made this move in 2023 as well. No states moved in the opposite direction. (See Table 3.) 
  5. In an effort to give voters maximum choice in the pandemic election of 2020, a dozen “no excuse absentee states” mailed absentee/mail ballot applications to voters; this was the most notable election administration adaptation in 2020 to COVID. That practice was not continued post-2020 in any state, and three states have since prohibited doing so again. (See Table 4.) 
  6. In 2020, the deadline for applications to be received was adjusted in eight states; of those, seven moved their deadlines earlier, with the goal of providing election administrators with enough time to send blank ballots out and for the voters to be able to return the voted ballots in time to be counted. Additional changes occurred in 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions. (See Table 5.) 
  7. In 2020, eight states and the District of Columbia temporarily delayed the deadline for receiving voted absentee/mail ballots. In 2021 and 2022, in three of these states the new (later) deadlines were made permanent, while the other states either reverted to their pre-2020 deadlines or chose a different deadline. (See Table 6.) 
  8. Ballot collection (aka, ballot harvesting) laws defining who can return a voted absentee/mail ballot other than the voter, were in place in 31 states in January 2020. Before the November 2020 election, three more states added definitions. In 2021 and 2022 six states adjusted their laws on who can return a voted ballot and how many ballots they can return. (See Table 7.) 
  9. Prior to 2020, most states were silent on whether ballot drop boxes could be provided. By November 2022, 29 states had laws governing the use of drop boxes, including how many can or must be provided, and what security measures must be in place. Three other states prohibited their use. (See Table 8.) 
  10. Verifying the identity of an absentee voter as they return voted ballots is key to running accurate elections. And yet, changes to this part of the process were few. Georgia was the only state to substantively change its process by adding an oath in 2021. Several states clarified what signatures could be used to compare the signature provided with the ballot. (See Table 9.)
  11. Ballot curing, by which a voter is given a chance to “cure” any identification issues with a returned absentee/mail ballot so that it can be counted, was explicitly available in 15 states at the beginning of 2020. By the 2022 election, ballot curing was available in 24 states, making ballot curing one of the most significant election policies of this decade. Ballot curing also enhances election security. (See Table 10.) 
  12. In 2020, 27 states plus the District of Columbia allowed absentee ballot processing to begin prior to Election Day. After legislative action in 2021 and 2022, 40 states plus D.C. allow processing to begin before Election Day. This, too, is one of the most significant election policies of this decade. (See Tables 11 and 12.) 
  13. Prior to 2020 there were no state laws governing the use of philanthropic funds to assist election administrators. In 2020, because of the pandemic, philanthropic funding was offered to local election offices. Since then, 24 states have prohibited the acceptance or use of such funding. (See Table 13.) 
  14. All states proved their resiliency during the pandemic by running presidential elections safely. For 25 states, that meant moving a presidential primary, state primary or primary runoff later in the calendar. (See Table 14.)

Table 1: States that Require an Excuse to Vote Absentee

Table 1, States That Require an Excuse To Vote Absentee, provides data for states that required an excuse to vote an absentee/mail ballot in January 2020, and again for the November 2020 election and the November 2022 election. Among the states that typically require an excuse for a voter to receive an absentee ballot, many interpreted their existing list of accepted excuses to include COVID (or the fear of COVID) or added the pandemic as a temporary acceptable excuse. In brief:

  • In January 2020, 16 states required voters to identify an excuse, or reason, to request an absentee ballot: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. The other 34 states plus the District of Columbia either allowed all voters to choose to vote an absentee/mail ballot or sent a mail ballot to all voters. (See Table 3 for the mostly-mail states.)
  • In time for the 2020 general election, 14 of the 16 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia) had changed their requirements for getting an absentee ballot.
  • By November 2022, only one of the 16 states had permanently moved from excuse needed to no-excuse needed: Virginia, which did so through legislative action in 2020.

Analysis: In 2000, only 14 states offered “no excuse absentee voting,” but by the start of 2020, that number had increased to 34 states plus the District of Columbia. In the “no excuse” states, any voter can ask for and receive an absentee/mail ballot without providing a reason for the request. (Included in the 34 states are states with mostly-mail voting, where all active voters are mailed a ballot. See Table 3 for more on mostly-mail voting.) The increase in no-excuse absentee voting has been one of the most consistent trends over the last 20 years.

This table, about eligibility for absentee/mail voting in the pandemic, relates only to the 16 states that, in January 2020, required an excuse for a voter to request an absentee ballot.

Virtually all of these states made some accommodation, either through legislative action, executive orders or court orders. Indiana and Texas are the exceptions. Virginia is the only state that made no-excuse absentee voting permanent; the other states reverted to their previous policies after the pandemic.

Note: To see enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 1: States That Require an Excuse To Vote Absentee

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

AL ST § 17-11-3

Excuse required.

No excuse required.

 

Emergency Amendment

Excuse required.

 

Arkansas

AR ST § 7-5-402

 

Excuse required.

COVID 19 can be used as an excuse.

 

EO 20-44 (Temporary)

Excuse required.

Connecticut

CT ST § 9-135

Excuse required.

COVID 19 can be used as an excuse.

 

AB 6002 (Temporary, 2020)

Excuse required.

Delaware

15 Del.C. § 5502

Excuse required.

No excuse required.

 

HB 346 (2020, Temporary)

Excuse required.

Indiana

IN ST 3-11-10-24

Excuse required.

Excuse required.

Excuse required.

Kentucky

KY ST § 117.085

Excuse required.

COVID 19 can be used as an excuse.

 

EO 688 (2020, Temporary)

Excuse required.

Louisiana

LA R.S. 18:1303

Excuse required.

COVID-19 excuses permitted.

 

Judge’s order

Excuse required.

Mississippi

MS ST § 23-15-713

Excuse required.

Voters who were quarantined due to COVID-19 qualified for an absentee ballot.

 

HB 1521 (2020, Temporary)

Excuse required.

Missouri

MO ST 115.277d

Excuse required.

Voters who had COVID-19 or were at high risk qualified for an absentee ballot.

 

SB 631 (2020, Temporary)

Excuse required.

New Hampshire

NH ST § 657:4

Excuse required.

Voters could use COVID-19 to qualify for a ballot.

 

HB 1266 (2020, Temporary)

Excuse required.

New York

NY ELEC § 8-400

Excuse required.

Voters may use illness as excuse.

 

SB 8015D (Temporary, 2020)

Excuse required.

South Carolina

SC ST § 7-15-320

Excuse required.

No excuse required.

 

HB 5305 (2020, Temporary)

Excuse required.

Tennessee

TN ST § 2-6-201

Excuse required.

COVID-19 related excuses permitted.

 

Court order

Excuse required.

Texas

TX ELECT §82.001-82.008

Excuse required.

Excuse required.

Excuse required.

Virginia

VA ST § 24.2-700

Excuse required.

No excuse required.

 

HB 207 (2020)

No excuse required.

West Virginia

WV ST § 3-3-1

Excuse required.

All voters can select “illness” as excuse.

 

SOS statement, 2020, Temporary

Excuse required.

Table 2: States With No Early In-Person Voting

Table 2, States With No Early In-Person Voting, provides data on the states that did not offer an early in-person voting option (EIPV) prior to Election Day in January 2020, and again for the November 2020 election and the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020, seven states did not have provisions for EIPV: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
  • In time for the 2020 general election, two of the eight states, Kentucky and South Carolina, made provisions on a temporary basis for EIPV.
  • By November 2022, of the eight states that had no EIPV at the beginning of 2020, four had adopted some version of it: Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey and South Carolina. A fifth, Connecticut, amended its constitution to permit EIPV, which the legislature enacted in 2023.

Analysis: While the most significant pandemic-based election changes led to making absentee/mail voting more available, Early In-Person Voting increased as well.

Over the last two decades, more and more states have adopted EIPV and the rate of adoption accelerated in 2021-2022. Because ballots for EIPV are only in the hands of election officials and voters, and not in the mail or at home, some see this policy as a way to provide more convenience to voters without the concerns they may have about absentee voting. These might include a higher rate of spoiled (and uncountable) ballots and the potential for voter coercion. 

Note: Some states, such as New Jersey, use what they refer to as “in-person absentee voting,” where a voter comes in person to an election office prior to Election Day and asks to vote. These voters receive an absentee ballot with its envelope, which can be voted and returned in the envelope on the spot. From the election administrator’s perspective, these ballots are treated like any other absentee ballot, and will be processed when other absentee ballots are processed. From the voter’s perspective, they see themselves as having “voted early.” NCSL takes the voter’s perspective and considers in-person absentee voting to be a form of early in-person voting.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 2: States With No Early In-Person Voting Options

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

N/A

No.

No.

No.

Connecticut

N/A

No.

No.

No (early in-person voting will be available in 2024).

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15, § 5402

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 38 (2019, implemented Jan. 2022)

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.076

No.

Yes.

EO 688 (2020, Temporary)

Yes.

HB 574 (2021)

Mississippi

N/A

No.

No.

No.

New Hampshire

N/A

No.

No.

No.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-13-25

No.

Yes.

HB 5305 (2020, Temporary)

Yes.

SB 108 (2022)

Table 3: Mostly-Mail States

Table 3, Mostly-Mail States, provides data on what states primarily use mail ballots to run their elections. In these states all active voters are mailed ballots or voters (while still offering the option to vote in person). This table provides information at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and in time for the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020, prior to COVID-19, five states used mostly-mail elections: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
  • In time for the November 2020 election, California, Nevada, Vermont and the District of Columbia temporarily joined this group and mailed ballots to all active voters.
  • By November 2022, three states (California, Nevada and Vermont) and the District of Columbia had adopted mostly-mail elections as permanent policy.

Analysis: Mostly-mail elections has been a slowly growing trend that began with Oregon more than 20 years ago and grew to a total of five western states prior to 2020: Oregon (1998), Washington (2011), Colorado (2013), Utah (2019, although in 2012, Utah allowed counties to choose) and Hawaii (2019). The pandemic created an immediate interest in many other states to move towards more absentee/mail voting as a way to give voters an option that could reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. California, Nevada, Vermont and D.C. temporarily moved to mostly-mail elections in time for the 2020 November election.

By November 2022, the total number of mostly-mail jurisdictions rose to nine—nearly double what it was in January of 2020—when California and D.C. made their shift permanent, and Vermont and Nevada adopted mostly-mail elections as well. (Note that Vermont’s system does not include primaries or town elections.) Vermont and D.C. became the first jurisdictions east of the Mississippi River to make the shift.

Moving to a mostly-mail voting system often follows several other policy shifts that can be considered as a continuum. States may adopt no-excuse absentee voting first, and then over time create permanent absentee voting lists, establish portals for voters to request absentee/mail ballots, and begin encouraging voters to use absentee/mail voting. When a large percentage of a state’s voters are already voting by absentee/mail ballots, then mostly-mail voting, where all active voters are sent a ballot, may be the next step.

At the time of this report, no other states are poised to move toward mostly-mail elections.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 3: States With Mostly-Mail Voting

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

California

Cali. Elec Code § 3000.5

No.

Yes.

CA AB 860 (2020, Temporary)

Yes.

AB 37 (2021)

Colorado

CRS §1-5-401

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

District of Columbia

 

No.

Ballots mailed to all registered voters.

Board of Elections statement

All-mail elections.

D.C. Law 24-342 (2022)

Hawaii

Hawaii Stat. §11-101

Yes.

 

Yes.

Yes.

Nevada

NRS §293

No.

Yes.

AB 4 (2020)

Yes.

AB 321 (2021)

Oregon

ORS §254.465

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §20A-3a-302

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Vermont

17 VSA § 2537a

No.

Yes.

SB 348 (2020, Temporary)

Yes.

SB 15 (2021)

Washington

Rev. Code of Wash. 29A.40.010

Yes

Yes

Yes

Table 4: Mailing Absentee/Mail Ballot Applications to All Voters

Table 4, Mailing Absentee/Mail Ballot Applications to All Voters, provides data on which states mailed an application to apply for an absentee ballot to at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; in time for the November 2020 election; and in time for the November 2022 election. If a state is not listed below, it has never used this option, or enacted legislation governing the practice. In brief:

  • In January 2020, no states had policies to mail absentee/mail ballot applications to all registered voters. (NOTE: In states that deliver ballots to all active voters by mail, there is no need for an absentee/mail ballot application. See Table 3 for details on mostly-mail elections.)
  • In time for the 2020 general election, 12 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico by county choice, Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin) had temporarily changed their policies and mailed absentee/mail ballot applications to all registered voters.
  • By November 2022, all states that had mailed absentee/mail ballot applications in 2020 had reverted to their previous policies of not automatically sending out absentee/mail ballot applications; the changes in 2020 were indeed temporary changes.
  • And, by November 2022, three states (Arkansas, Georgia and Iowa) had prohibited the mailing of applications to all voters; Arkansas’ new law goes a step further, prohibiting any organization or person from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications. These bills clarify that the state will not mail absentee/mail ballot applications without a request.

Analysis: The decision for no-excuse absentee voting states to mail absentee/mail ballot applications to all registered voters was a novel option in 2020, with the goal of making existing no-excuse absentee voting more convenient for voters. NO states made this temporary accommodation permanent in 2021 or 2022. The cost of the additional mailing, plus some voter confusion, may have led these states to return to pre-pandemic practices.  

At the same time, the use of online portals for voters to request absentee ballots is on the rise. As examples, Rhode Island and Kentucky have recently added this feature.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 4: Mailing Absentee/Mail Ballot Applications to All Voters

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Arkansas

 

No.

No.

No.

Prohibits election officials from providing unsolicited absentee ballot applications.

HB 1715 (2021)

AR ST § 7-5-409

California

 

No.

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

AB 860 (2020)

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

AB 37 (2021)

Connecticut

 

No.

Yes.

Secretary of State’s Press Release

No.

Delaware

15 Del. Code § 5503

No.

Yes.

HB 5 (2020, Temporary)

No.

Georgia

GA ST § 21-2-381

No.

No.

No.

State and local election officials shall not send absentee ballot applications unless they are requested by a voter.

SB 202 (2021)

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/2B-15

No.

Yes.

SB 1863 (2020, Temporary)

No.

Iowa

IA ST § 53.2

No.

Yes.

Secretary of State’s Press Release

No.

Commissioners may not send absentee ballot applications unless they are requested by a voter.

SB 413 (2021)

Maryland

MD ELEC LAW § 9-306

No.

Yes.

Governor’s Letter to the Board of Elections

Yes.

MD SB 683 (2021)

Massachusetts

 

No.

Yes.

HB 2820 (2020, Temporary)

No.

Michigan

 

No.

Yes.

Secretary of State’s Press Release

No.

Nebraska

 

No.

Yes.

Secretary of State’s Press Release

No.

Nevada

 

No

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

AB 4b (2020, Temporary)

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

AB 321 (2021)

New Mexico

N. M. S. A. 1978, § 1-12-72

No.

Yes (county choice).

NM S 4 (2020, Temporary)

No.

Ohio

 

No.

Yes.

Secretary of State’s Press Release

No.

Rhode Island

 

No.

Yes.

Secretary of State’s Press Release

No.

Vermont

 

No.

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

SB 348 (2020, Temporary)

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

SB 15 (2021)

Wisconsin

 

No.

Yes.

Wisconsin Elections Commission

No.

Table 5: Date When an Absentee/Mail Ballot Application Must Be Received by Election Officials

Table 5, Date When an Absentee/Mail Ballot Application Must Be Received by Election Officials, provides data on when applications from voters requesting an absentee/mail ballot (not the voted ballot itself) must be received at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and in time for the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020, the time when a request for a completed absentee/mail ballot application to be received varied from four to 14 days before the election; in a few cases, the deadline was unspecified.
  • In time for the 2020 general election, eight states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia) adjusted their deadlines, with seven of them moving the deadline further back from Election Day: Maine is the exception, moving the deadline from three days before the election to Election Day itself.
  • By November 2022, of the eight states that made changes in 2020, three changed back to their pre-pandemic deadline, two made the 2020 temporary changes permanent, and three selected a new deadline. Of all these changes, only one—in Kentucky—moved the deadline closer to Election Day. In 2020, Kentucky had set a deadline of 25 days prior to the election, the furthest out of any state. It is now 14 days prior to the election.
  • In addition to the changes above, by November 2022, five other states moved their deadlines further from Election Day.
  • Also by November 2022, three states (California, Nevada and Vermont) and D.C. had moved to mostly-mail elections, effectively negating the need for applications.

Analysis: The pandemic, and the increased use of mail voting it engendered, led some states to consider whether their timelines for managing absentee/mail ballots were appropriate. These changes to deadlines for returning an absentee ballot application were done to better manage the larger volume of applications expected (and indeed received) in 2020, and to better ensure that voters would receive their ballots in time to vote, in 2020 and beyond.

On a practical level, if a request for an absentee ballot is made just three days before Election Day, it can be hard for that ballot to reach the voter in time, much less for the voter to return it on time—especially as the speed of expected mail delivery has slowed in recent years. 

Many states have a different deadline for an in-person request for an absentee ballot than a mailed or electronically submitted request. When this is the case, we have noted both deadlines in the table below.

Legislative attention on absentee/mail voting timelines for the return of applications, the return of voted ballots (Table 6) and when ballot processing can begin (Table 11) increased significantly during and after the pandemic.

NOTE: to see enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 5: Date When an Absentee/Mail Ballot Application Must Be Received by Election Officials

State

Citations

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-4

Five days before the election

Five days before the election

Five days before the election

Alaska

Alaska Stat. §15.20.081

Ten days before the election

Ten days before the election

Ten days before the election

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-542

Eleven days before the election

Eleven days before the election

Eleven days before the election

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-404

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election for in-person requests

SB 643 (2021)

California

Cal. Elec. Code § 3006 (Repealed)

Seven days before the election

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters (temporary)

AB 860 (2020)

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters (permanent)

AB 37 (2021)

Colorado

N/A

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-140

The day before the election

The day before the election

The day before the election

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15, § 5503

The day before the election at noon

The day before the election at noon

The day before the election at noon

District of Columbia

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 3, § 720

Seven days before the election; three days before the election for military and overseas voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

(Temporary)

Board Decision

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters.

(Temporary)

Board Decision

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 101.62

Ten days before the election at 5 p.m.

Ten days before the election at 5 p.m.

Ten days before the election at 5 p.m.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-381

Four days before the election

Four days before the election

Eleven days before the election

SB 202 (2021)

Hawaii

N/A

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

Idaho

Idaho Code § 34-1002

Eleven days before the election at 5 p.m. for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election at 5 p.m. for in-person requests

Eleven days before the election at 5 p.m. for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election at 5 p.m. for in-person requests

Eleven days before the election at 5 p.m. for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election at 5 p.m. for in-person requests

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/19-2

Five days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Five days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Five days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. § 3-11-4-3

Twelve days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at noon for in-person requests

Twelve days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at noon for in-person requests

Twelve days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at noon for in-person requests

Iowa

Iowa Code § 53.2

Ten days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Ten days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Fifteen days before the election; before 11 a.m. on Election Day for in-person requests

SB 413 (2021)

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-1122S

The Tuesday before the election

The Tuesday before the election

The Tuesday before the election

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.085

Seven business days before the election

Seven business days before the election

Fourteen days before the election

HB 574 (2021)

Louisiana

La. Stat. Ann. § 18:1307

Four days before the election

Four days before the election at

Four days before the election

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A, § 753-B

Three business days before the election

Election day

EO 19-39 (2020, Temporary)

Three business days before the election

Maryland

Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law § 9-305

The Tuesday before the election for ballots to be mailed out; Election Day for in-person requests

The Tuesday before the election for ballots to be mailed out; Election Day for in-person requests

The Tuesday before the election for ballots to be mailed out; Election Day for in-person requests

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 89

The day before the election at noon

The day before the election at noon for in person request. Four business days before the election for mail in requests

HB 4820 (2020, Temporary)

Five business days before the election for mail-in requests. The day before the election at noon for in-person requests

SB 2924 (2021)

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 168.759

The Friday before the election for ballots to be mailed out the day before Election Day for in-person requests

The Friday before the election for ballots to be mailed out the day before Election Day for in-person requests

The Friday before the election for ballots to be mailed out the day before Election Day for in-person requests

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.04

The day before the election

The day before the election

The day before the election

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-627

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.279

The second Wednesday before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

The second Wednesday before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

The second Wednesday before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 13-13-211

The day before the election at noon

The day before the election at noon

The day before the election at noon

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-941

The second Friday before the election

The second Friday before the election

The second Friday before the election

Nevada

N.R.S. 293C.310

Fourteen days before the election

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

AB 4b (2020, Temporary)

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

AB 321 (2021)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 657:15

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-3

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at 3 p.m. for in-person requests

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at 3 p.m. for in-person requests

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at 3 p.m. for in-person requests

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-5

The Thursday before the election

Fourteen days before the election

SB 4a (2020, Temporary)

The Thursday before the election

New York

N.Y. Elec. Law § 8-400

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Seven days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

Fifteen days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election for in-person requests

SB 264 (2021)

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163-230.1

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-07-05

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.03

Three days before the election at for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election at 6 p.m. for in person requests

Three days before the election at for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election at 6 p.m. for in person requests

Three days before the election at for ballots to be mailed out; the Friday before the election at 6 p.m. for in person requests

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 14-103

The Wednesday before the election at 5 p.m.

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

SB 1779 (2020, Temporary)

The third Monday before the election at 5 p.m.

HB 2663 (2021)

Oregon

N/A

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3146.2(a)

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

The Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.

Puerto Rico

P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 16, § 4735

Forty-five days before the election

Forty-five days before the election

Forty-five days before the election

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 17-20-2.1

Twenty-one days before the election at 4 p.m.

Twenty-one days before the election at 4 p.m.

Twenty-one days before the election at 4 p.m.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-15-330

Four days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the day before the election at 5 p.m. for in person requests

Ten days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; four days before the election for in-person requests

HB 5305 (2020, Temporary)

Eleven days before the election at 5 p.m.

SB 108 (2022)

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws § 12-19-2.1

Day before the election at 5 p.m.

Day before the election at 5 p.m.

Day before the election at 5 p.m.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-6-202

Seven days before the election

Seven days before the election

Seven days before the election

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 84.007

Eleven days before the election

Eleven days before the election

Eleven days before the election

Utah

N/A

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

Vermont

17 V.S.A. § 2531 (Repealed)

The day before the election at 5 p.m.

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

SB 348 (2020, Temporary)

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

SB 15 (2021)

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 18 § 664

Fourteen working days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Monday before the election for in-person requests

Fourteen working days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Monday before the election for in-person requests

Fourteen working days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Monday before the election for in-person requests

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-701

Seven days before the election at 5 p.m.

Eleven days before the election at 5 p.m.

HB 239 (2020)

Eleven days before the election at 5 p.m.

Washington

N/A

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

N/A; ballots delivered to all voters

West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 3-3-5

Six days before the election

Six days before the election

Six days before the election

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 6.86

Five days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Sunday before the election for in-person requests

Five days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Sunday before the election for in-person requests

Five days before the election for ballots to be mailed out; the Sunday before the election for in-person requests

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 22-9-105

The day before the election

The day before the election

The day before the election

Table 6: Absentee/Mail Ballot Received-By Deadlines

Table 6, Absentee/Mail Ballot Received-by Deadlines, provides data on when voted absentee/mail ballots must be received by election administrators at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and in time for the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020, deadlines for when voted absentee/mail ballots needed to be returned to election officials could be categorized in two ways: on or before Election Day (36 states) and postmarked by Election Day (14 states plus the District of Columbia).
  • In time for the 2020 general election, seven jurisdictions and the District of Columbia adjusted their “received by” date to provide more time for ballots to be received and counted. Five of those were states that previously had required ballots to be received by Election Day extended the “received by” date; two states and the District of Columbia that already allowed receipt after Election Day allowed more days, post-election, for receipt. All these measures were temporary.
  • By November 2022, of the eight jurisdictions that made adjustments, three (Massachusetts, Mississippi and Virginia) retained the new dates; two states (North Carolina and Pennsylvania) reverted to their-pandemic date; and two states (California and Nevada) reduced the number of days from their 2020 deadline, although the new, permanent 2022 deadline provided more time than the pre-pandemic date.
  • Additionally, Oregon moved its “received by” deadline to “postmarked by” Election Day by November 2022.
  • By November 2022, three states moved in the opposite direction. Arkansas moved its receipt date from Election Day to the Friday before; Iowa moved from “postmarked by” to “received by” Election Day; and Ohio reduced from 10 to four the number of days after Election Day a ballot could be received and counted.

Analysis: Thoughtful observers can and do disagree on whether Election Day is the last day that ballots should be received, or whether having ballots postmarked by Election Day suffices. During the pandemic, with the significant increase in absentee/mail voting, seven states plus D.C. chose to give more time for ballots to be received. After 2020 and before the 2022 election, this policy point received additional legislative attention with states going in opposite directions—some making their 2020 changes permanent, and others changing from “received by” to “postmarked by” or vice versa. 

Some states have a different deadline for receiving absentee/mail ballots that are returned in person than by mail. Examples, including the deadline for hand-delivered ballots, include Connecticut (the day before the election); Minnesota (3 p.m. on Election Day); North Dakota (5 p.m. the day before the election); and Vermont (close of polls on Election Day).

As policymakers consider their state’s timelines, they may consider the slower service the U.S. Postal Service provides, compared to 10 years ago; the fact that a postmark may not always be a reliable indicator (some states permit an “Intelligent Mail Bar Code” to be the indicator); and whether allowing votes to be counted after Election Day slows down reporting of final results. 

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 6: Absentee/Mail Ballot Received-By Deadlines

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-18

Must be received by noon on Election Day and postmarked the date prior to Election Day.

Must be received by noon on Election Day and postmarked the date prior to Election Day.

Must be received by noon on Election Day.

HB 538 (2021)

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081

Must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 16-548

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-411

Must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received on the Friday before Election Day.

SB 643 (2021)

California

Cal. Elec. Code § 3020

Must be received no later than three days after Election Day and postmarked by Election Day.

Must be received no later than 17 days after Election Day and postmarked by Election Day.

AB 860 (2020)

Must be received no later than seven days after Election Day and postmarked by Election Day.

AB 37 (2021)

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-7.5-107

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45-9-140b

Must be received by Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15 § 5508

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

District of Columbia

D.C. Code § 1-1001.05(a)(10A)

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 101.67

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-386(F)

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-104

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Idaho

Idaho Code § 34-1005

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/18A-15, 19-8

Must be received within 14 days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within 14 days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within 14 days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-11.5-4-7

Must be received by noon on Election Day.

Must be received by noon on Election Day.

Must be received by noon on Election Day.

Iowa

Iowa Code § 53.17(2)

Must be received by the Monday following the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received by the Monday following the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received before the close of polls on Election Day.

SF 413 (2021)

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-1132

Must be received within three days of the election if postmarked before the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received within three days of the election if postmarked before the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received within three days of the election if postmarked before the close of polls on Election Day.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.086

Must be received before the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received before the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received before the close of polls on Election Day.

Louisiana

La. Stat. Ann. § 18:1311

Must be received the day before the election.

Must be received the day before the election.

Must be received the day before the election.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A, § 755

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Maryland

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.03.08

Must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Law Ann. ch. 54, § 93)

Must be received before the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the third day after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

HB 4820 (2020, Temporary)

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the third day after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

SB 2924 (2022)

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.764a

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.08

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-637

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the day prior to Election Day.

Must be received within five business days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

HB 1521 (2020)

Must be received within five business days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.293

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 13-13-232

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-950

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.317

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received seven days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day and ballots with unclear postmarks will be accepted up to three days after Election Day.

AB 4 (2020, Temporary)

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the fourth day following the election if postmarked by Election Day. Ballots with unclear postmarks received by the third day following the election are deemed to have been postmarked on or before Election Day.

AB 321 (2021)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 657:22

Must be received by 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 5 p.m. on Election Day.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-22

Must be received within six days of the close of the polls if postmarked on or before Election Day. Mail-delivered ballots without postmarks that arrive within 48 hours of the close of the polls will be considered valid.

Must be received within six days of the close of the polls if postmarked on or before Election Day. Mail-delivered ballots without postmarks that arrive within 48 hours of the close of the polls will be considered valid.

Must be received within six days of the close of the polls if postmarked on or before Election Day. Mail-delivered ballots without postmarks that arrive within 48 hours of the close of the polls will be considered valid.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-10

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

New York

N.Y. Elec. Law § 8-412

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked by Election Day.

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked by Election Day.

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked by Election Day.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163-231

Must be received within three days after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

For the November 2020 election, must be received nine days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

N.C. State Board of Elections

Must be received within three days after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code §§ 16.1-07-09, 16.1-15-25

Must be received before the canvass (which takes place before 4 p.m. on the eighth day after the election) if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Must be received before the canvass (which takes place before 4 p.m. on the eighth day after the election) if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Must be received before the canvass (which takes place before 4 p.m. on the eighth day after the election) if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.05

Must be received within 10 days of the election if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days of the election if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Must be received within four days of the election if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

HB 45 (2022)

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 14-104

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 253.070

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

HB 3291 (2021)

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3146.8

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received within three days if postmarked by Election Day.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Puerto Rico

P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 16, § 4736

Must be received on or before the last day of the general canvass (canvass timing unspecified) if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received on or before the last day of the general canvass (canvass timing unspecified) if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received on or before the last day of the general canvass (canvass timing unspecified) if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-8

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-15-420

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws § 12-19-12

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-6-304

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 86.007

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the day after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the day after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received by 5 p.m. on the day after the election if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3a-204

Must be received by noon on the day of the official canvass (which takes place between seven and 14 days after the election) if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Must be received by noon on the day of the official canvass (which takes place between seven and 14 days after the election) if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Must be received before noon on the day of the official canvass (which takes place between seven and 14 days after the election) if postmarked by the day before Election Day.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 17, § 2543

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 18, § 665

Must be received within 10 days of Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days of Election Day.

Must be received within 10 days of Election Day.

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-709

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received before noon on the third day after the election if postmarked by Election Day.

HB 238 (2020)

Any voter who is in line to return an absentee ballot at a drop-off location by 7 p.m. on Election Day is permitted to drop off the ballot.

HB 1888/SB 1245 (2021)

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.40.091

Ballots received after the election with postmarks before Election Day are counted; receipt deadline not specified.

Ballots received after the election with postmarks before Election Day are counted; receipt deadline not specified.

Ballots received after the election with postmarks before Election Day are counted; receipt deadline not specified.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §§ 3-3-5, 3-5-17

Must be received before the canvass (which begins on the fifth day after the election) if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received before the canvass (which begins on the fifth day after the election) if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Must be received before the canvass (which begins on the fifth day after the election) if postmarked on or before Election Day.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 6.87(6)

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 22-9-119

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Table 7: Ballot Collection Laws

Table 7: Ballot Collection Laws, provides data on who, besides the voter, can collect and return voted absentee/mail ballots to election administrators at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and for the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020, 31 states specified who an absentee voter can designate to return their absentee/mail ballot for them. Designations can be family members, household members, or anyone the voter authorizes. Alabama and Virginia allow only the voter to return the ballot, and other states do not specify.
    • Nine states specified how many ballots any one person could return on behalf of others (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and West Virginia).
  • By November 2020, three states (Michigan, Nevada and Utah) added specificity to their laws on who can return ballots for other voters.
  • And, by November 2022,
    • New Jersey increased the number of ballots any individual could return from three to five in some circumstances.
    • Arizona reduced the number of absentee ballots an individual could possess from 10 to four; possession of more than four ballots would create a rebuttable presumption that possession of more than four ballots is fraudulent.
    • Vermont went the opposite direction, allowing a single person to return up to 25 ballots from others.
    • Iowa and Louisiana each provided more detail on ballot collection processes.
    • Florida made it a felony to collect more than two absentee/mail ballots per election.

Analysis: This table provides information on who can return an absentee ballot (often only family members, household members, caregivers or those authorized by the voter) and on laws that limit the number of ballots an individual can collect and return.

Note that some states require signatures, notarization or other proof of identity from the person who is returning another voter’s ballot; stipulate who is not permitted to return a ballot on behalf of others, such as candidates; or provide a deadline for returning ballots on behalf of others. These requirements are not captured in the table below, but the citations provided address these specifics.

While few changes to laws governing who can collect and return absentee ballots were made from January 2020 to December 2022, ballot collection has been of increased interest, along with all other details relating to absentee/mail ballot processes.

During 2020 many state’s ballot collection laws were challenged in court. In Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, courts rejected challenges to existing ballot collection laws. In Montana and Minnesota, existing laws limiting how many ballots can be collected were overturned. Post-pandemic, many states passed laws clarifying their existing rules on ballot collection activities. 

NOTE: to see enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 7: Ballot Collection Laws—Who Can Return a Voted Absentee/Mail Ballot

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-9

No one other than the absentee voter

No one other than the absentee voter

No one other than the absentee voter

Alaska

N/A

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-1005

A family member, household member or caregiver, with a limit of 10

A family member, household member or caregiver, with a limit of 10

A family member, household member or caregiver, with a limit of four

HB 1715 (2021)

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-403

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter  

California

Cal. Elec. Code § 3017

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat § 1-7.5-107

A person authorized by the voter or any duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official, with a limit of 10

A person authorized by the voter or any duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official, with a limit of 10

A person authorized by the voter or any duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official, with a limit of 10

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 9-140b

An immediate family member or designated caregiver

An immediate family member or designated caregiver

An immediate family member or designated caregiver

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15, § 5507

Not specified; voters can return their ballots by U.S. mail, by delivering it, or by “causing it to be delivered”

Not specified; voters can return their ballots by U.S. mail, by delivering it, or by “causing it to be delivered”

Not specified; voters can return their ballots by U.S. mail, by delivering it, or by “causing it to be delivered”

District of Columbia

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 3, § 720

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 101.65, 104.0616

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of two ballots

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of two ballots

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of two ballots

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-385

A family member (including grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, and in-laws), household member or caregiver

A family member (including grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, and in-laws), household member or caregiver

A family member (including grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, and in-laws), household member or caregiver

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-104(c)

Not specified; a voter may return a ballot in “any manner” provided that it is received on time

Not specified; a voter may return a ballot in “any manner” provided that it is received on time

Not specified; a voter may return a ballot in “any manner” provided that it is received on time

Idaho

 

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-6, -13

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-11-10-1

A household member or a person designated as the attorney for the voter

A household member or a person designated as the attorney for the voter

A household member or a person designated as the attorney for the voter

Iowa

Iowa Code § 53.17

A person authorized by the voter or special precinct officials

A person authorized by the voter or special precinct officials

A person authorized by the voter or special precinct officials

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-1128

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.0863

A family member, household member or caregiver

A family member, household member or caregiver

A family member, household member or caregiver

Louisiana

La. Stat. Ann. § 18:1308

Immediate family member, with a limit of one

Immediate family member, with a limit of one

Immediate family member, with a limit of one

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A §753-B

Someone other than the voter (a “third person”)

Someone other than the voter (a “third person”)

Someone other than the voter (a “third person”)

Maryland

Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law § 9-307

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 54 § 92

A family member

A family member

A family member

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 168.764a

An immediate family member

An immediate family member or household member

SB 757 (2020)

An immediate family member or household member

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.08

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of three

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of three; a preliminary injunction lifted the three-ballot limit for a short period prior to the November 2020 election, but was overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Oct. 28, 2020

 

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee v. Simon, No. 62-CV-20-585 (Minn. Dist. Ct., Ramsey Cnty. 2020)

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of three

Mississippi

N/A

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.291

A relative within the second degree of consanguinity

A relative within the second degree of consanguinity

A relative within the second degree of consanguinity

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 13-35-703

A caregiver, family member, household member or acquaintance, with a limit of six ballots

Existing law enjoined; no restriction specified

 

Driscoll v. Stapleton, 473 P.3d 386 (Mont. 2020)

 

Western Native Voice v. Stapleton, No. DV-2020-377 (Mont. Dist. Ct., Yellowstone Cnty. 2020)

Not specified

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-943

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 293.330, 293.269923

A family member

A person authorized by the voter

AB 4 (2020, Temporary)

A person authorized by the voter

AB 321 (2021)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 657:17

A family member

A family member

A family member

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 19:63-9, 19:63-16

A person authorized by the voter with a limit of three ballots

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of three ballots  

A person authorized by the voter, with a limit of three ballots, or five if from family members living in the same household

AB 4320/SB2633 (2020, effective 2021)

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-10.1

A family member or caregiver

A family member or caregiver

A family member or caregiver

New York

 

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 163-226.3, 163-231

A voter’s near relative or verifiable legal guardian

A voter’s near relative or verifiable legal guardian

A voter’s near relative or verifiable legal guardian

North Dakota

N/A

Not specified; limits anyone from turning in more than two ballots

Not specified; limits anyone from turning in more than two ballots

Not specified; limits anyone from turning in more than two ballots

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.05

A family member

A family member

A family member

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 26 §§ 14-101.1, 108-108, 108-108.1

A voter's spouse

A voter's spouse

A voter's spouse

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 260.695, 254.470

A person authorized by the voter  

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3146.6

Not specified; “the elector shall send same by mail, postage prepaid, except where franked, or deliver it in person to said county board of election”

Not specified; “the elector shall send same by mail, postage prepaid, except where franked, or deliver it in person to said county board of election”

Not specified; “the elector shall send same by mail, postage prepaid, except where franked, or deliver it in person to said county board of election”

Puerto Rico

P.R. Laws Ann. Tit. 16, § 9.36

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-23

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-15-385

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws §§ 12-19-9, 12-19-2.2

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

A person authorized by the voter

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-6-202

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 86.006

A family member or household member

A family member or household member

A family member or household member

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3a-501

Not specified

Members of the voter’s household, or those authorized to deliver a ballot for a military-overseas voter or a voter who needs assistance due to age, illness or disability

SB 6007 (2020)

Members of the voter’s household, or those authorized to deliver a ballot for a military-overseas voter or a voter who needs assistance due to age, illness or disability

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 17, § 2543

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified; limits anyone from turning in more than 25 ballots

SB 15 (2021)  

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. Tit. 18, § 665

Not specified; a voter may “cause it [the absentee ballot] to be delivered” to the board of elections

Not specified; a voter may “cause it [the absentee ballot] to be delivered” to the board of elections

Not specified; a voter may “cause it [the absentee ballot] to be delivered” to the board of elections

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-707

No one other than the absentee voter

No one other than the absentee voter

No one other than the absentee voter

Washington

N/A

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 3-3-5

Not specified; limits anyone from returning more than two ballots

Not specified; limits anyone from returning more than two ballots

Not specified; limits anyone from returning more than two ballots

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 6.87

Not specified; “the envelope shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.”

Not specified; “the envelope shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.”

Not specified; “the envelope shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.”

Wyoming

N/A

Not specified

Not specified

Not specified

Table 8: Drop Boxes

Table 8: Drop Boxes, provides data on laws relating to drop boxes, receptacles used for returning voted absentee/mail ballots, at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and for the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020, eight states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington) did have statutes addressing drop boxes; other states were silent. These laws varied, but in general they either explicitly authorized the use of ballot drop boxes or set minimum standards for operations and security. It is likely that jurisdictions in other states may have permitted the use of drop boxes without explicit statutory provisions.
  • In January 2020, at least two states, Missouri and Tennessee, prohibited the use of drop boxes.
  • In time for the 2020 general election, drop boxes were in use either statewide or in some cities or counties within a state in 40 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project’s report, Ballot Drop Boxes in the 2020 Elections. Some changes were made through executive orders (Maine and Rhode Island); others through legislation (Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia) and others through local interpretation of existing authority.
  • By November 2022, 29 states specified in their statutes that drop boxes were allowed; drop boxes may have been in use in other states as well.
  • By November 2022, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas effectively prohibited the use of drop boxes. While outside the time parameters of this report, Arkansas and South Dakota did so in 2023 as well.

Analysis: A ballot drop box is a receptacle where voters can return absentee/mail ballots in sealed envelopes. These provided an alternative to returning ballots in the mail, perhaps when timeliness becomes important, or handing them in at election offices. Drop boxes may be supervised—a staff person is present when the box is available—or unsupervised, but with security features, such as cameras.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 general election, some states made drop boxes available because of expected increases in absentee/mail voting. Some states, cities and counties provided ballot drop boxes without statutory authority, and at least one state, Missouri, was determined that ballot drop boxes could not be provided without explicit statutory authority. Some of the 2020 provisions that permitted ballot drop boxes were temporary measures in response to the emergency, but many were later made permanent. 

Information on the use of drop boxes in the November 2020 election is based on the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project’s report Ballot Drop Boxes in the 2020 Elections and news articles confirming the existence of drop boxes in some cities or counties in a given state.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 8: Drop Boxes

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

N/A.

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Not specified.

Alaska

N/A.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Arizona

State of Arizona 2019 Election Procedures Manual.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Arkansas

Ark. Code § 7-5-411

No.

Not specified in statute, but in effect not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, but in effect not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, but in effect not permitted.

California

Cal. Elec. Code §§ 3025, 3025.5, 4005, 4007

Cal. Code Regs. tit. 2, §§ 20132-137

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-7.5-107, 1-5-102.9

Colo. Code Regs. § 1505-1:7

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 9-140b

Not specified.

Yes.

HB 6002 (2020, Temporary)

Not specified.

Delaware

N/A

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Not specified.

District of Columbia

N/A

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Not specified.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 101.69

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann., § 21-2-382

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

SB 202 (2021)

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 11-1, 109

Haw. Code R. § 3-177-506-508

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Idaho

N/A

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Not specified.

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-6

Not specified.

Yes.

SB 1863 (2020)

Yes.

Indiana

IC 3-11-10-24

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted

Yes.

SB 398 (2021)

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. § 53.17

Iowa Admin. Code r. 721-21.307(53)

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

SF 413

Kansas

N/A

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Not specified.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.086

31 Ky. Admin. Regs. 5:025E

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

HB 574  (2021)

Louisiana

LSA-R.S. 18:1308

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

No.

SB 144 (2022)

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A, § 752-B

Not specified.

Yes.

Executive Order 19-56

Yes.

SP 450  (2021)

Maryland

Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law §§ 1-101, 2-304, 2-305

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

SB 683 (2021)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 54, § 92

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

SB 2924 (2022)

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws. Ann. §§ 168.761d, 168.764a

Not specified.

Yes.

SB 757 (2020)

Yes.

HB 4491 (2022)

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.082

Minn. R. 8210.3000

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

SF 2 (2021)

Mississippi

Miss. Code § 23-15-637

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.291

Not specified.

No.

The Missouri Secretary of State determined that mail-in ballots could not be returned via drop box because of a notary signature requirement in SB 631 (2020).

No.

HB 1878 (2022)

Montana

Mt. Code Ann. 13-19-307

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-960

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.269921

Not specified.

Yes.

AB 4 (2020, Temporary)

Yes.

AB 321 (2021)

New Hampshire

N/A

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-16.1

Not specified.

Yes.

AB 4475 (2020)

Yes.

New Mexico

N. M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-9

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

New York

N/A

Not specified.

Yes.

Not specified, but were in use.

State Election Board

Yes.

Not specified, but were in use.

North Carolina

N/A

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-11.1-04

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Ohio

 

Not specified.

Yes.

One or more permitted outside election offices.

HB 197 (2020)

Clarified that additional receptacles in other locations are not permitted. Secretary of State Directive 2020-22

Yes.

Oklahoma

N/A

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 254.470

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Pennsylvania

N/A

Not specified.

Yes.

Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar (2020)

Not specified.

Puerto Rico

N/A

Not specified.

Not specified.

Not specified.

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-22.1

Not specified.

Yes.

Emergency Rule 410-RICR-20-00-24 

Yes.

HB 7100A/SB 2007 (2022)

South Carolina

Code 1976 § 7-15-385

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted

No.

SC SB 108 (2022)

South Dakota

N/A

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Not specified.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code § 2-6-202(e)

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code § 86.006

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

SB 1 (2021)

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §§ 20A-3a-204, -5-403.5

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 17, §§ 2543, 2543a

Not specified.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

Yes.

SB 15 (2021)

Virgin Islands

N/A

Not specified.

Not specified.

Not specified.

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-707.1

Not specified.

Yes.

SB 5120 (2020, Temporary)

Yes.

HB 1888/SB1245 (2021)

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.40.170

Wash. Admin. Code § 434-250-100

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

West Virginia

N/A

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

No.

Not specified in statute, effectively not permitted.

Wisconsin

N/A

Not specified in statute.

At least one jurisdiction had a drop box.

WEC Drop Box Guidance

No.

Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 22-29-116

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Table 9: Absentee/Mail Ballot Verification Requirements

Table 9, Absentee/Mail Ballot Verification Requirements, provides data on processes used by election officials to verify the identity of an absentee voter at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and for the November 2022 election. In brief:

  • In January 2020,
    • 27 states matched the voter’s signature on the outside return envelope to a signature on file.
    • 11 states required a signature but did not explicitly require a signature match, relying on other data (such as the driver’s license number) provided by the voter or the signature as an affidavit.
    • 11 states required the voter to either include a copy of identification, have one or two witness signatures or have their signature notarized.
  • In time for the 2020 general election,
    • In Rhode Island, the law requiring a witness or notarization was successfully challenged in court, so that the requirement was not enforced in the 2020 general election.
    • New Jersey and Utah clarified what signatures on record could be used to compare the signature submitted with an absentee ballot application.
  • By November 2022,
    • Georgia began requiring a signed oath.
    • South Carolina clarified its witness signature process, requiring the witness to be over the age of 18.
    • Idaho, Indiana, Rhode Island and Texas clarified what signatures on record could be used to compare the signature submitted with an absentee ballot application.

Analysis: This policy point received less legislative action than might have been anticipated, since the use of absentee/mail ballots increased in response to the pandemic and became a more partisan issue than it had been previously. Since then, Georgia is the only state that substantively changed its requirements. Other legislative action has been focused on clarifying existing processes.

Over half the states rely on signature matching to verify absentee/mail ballots. A handful of states traditionally have asked for something beyond a signature or driver’s license number such as a witness signature, notarization or including a copy of identification. Not surprisingly, states that require additional steps have lower use of absentee/mail ballots.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 9: Absentee/Mail Ballot Verification Requirements

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-10

Two witness signatures or notary required.

Two witness signatures or notary required.

Two witness signatures or notary required.

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 15.20.203

Witness signature.

Witness signature.

Witness signature.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §16-547

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-416

Copy of voter registration or copy of ID, bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government document that shows the name and address, and signature comparison to signatures on file.

Copy of voter registration or copy of ID, bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government document that shows the name and address, and signature comparison to signatures on file.

Copy of voter registration or copy of ID, bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government document that shows the name and address—and signature comparison to signatures on file.

California

Cal. Elec. Code § 3019

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1-7.5-107.3

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-137

No verification specified; there is a penalty for a false statement.

No verification specified; there is a penalty for a false statement.

No verification specified; there is a penalty for a false statement.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15, § 5505

No verification specified; a signed oath is required.

No verification specified; a signed oath is required.

No verification specified; a signed oath is required.

District of Columbia

D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 3, § 720.11

No verification specified; the signature certifies the voter’s information is correct and that they are a qualified elector.

No verification specified; the signature certifies the voter’s information is correct and that they are a qualified elector.

No verification specified; the signature certifies the voter’s information is correct and that they are a qualified elector.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 101.68

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Signature verification to signatures on file.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-386

Signature verification.

Signature verification.

Signed oath, no verification requirement.

SB 202 (2021)

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-106

Signature verification with reference signature.

Signature verification with reference signature.

Signature verification with reference signature.

Idaho

Idaho Code § 34-1005

Signature verification.

Signature verification.

Signature verification with voter registration.

HB 290 (2021)

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-8

Signature verification with voter record.

Signature verification with voter record.

Signature verification with voter record.

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-11.5-4-5

Signature verification.

Signature verification.

Signature verification with application record.

SB 398 (2021)

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. § 53.18

Signature verification with voter record.

Signature verification with voter record.

Signature verification with voter record.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-1136

Signed envelope, no verification.

Signed envelope, no verification.

Signed envelope, no verification.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 117.085, 117.087

Signature verification with voter record.

Signature verification with voter record.

Signature verification with voter record.

Louisiana

La. Stat. Ann. § 18:1306

Witness signature.

Witness signature.

Witness signature.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A, § 759

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Maryland

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.04.05

Signed oath, no verification.

Signed oath, no verification.

Signed oath, no verification.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 94

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.766

Signature verification to qualified voter file or registration record.

Signature verification to qualified voter file or registration record.

Signature verification to qualified voter file or registration record.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 203B.121, 203B.07

Signature verification to application record.

Witness signature from an eligible voter.

Signature verification to application record.

Witness signature from an eligible voter.

Signature verification to application record.

Witness signature from an eligible voter.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-639

Signature verification to application record.

Witness signature or notarized affidavit on envelope.

Signature verification to application record.

Witness signature or notarized affidavit on envelope.

Signature verification to application record.

Witness signature or authorized affidavit on envelope.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.283

Notarized affidavit.

Notarized affidavit.

Notarized affidavit.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 13-13-241

Signature verification to application record and registration record.

Signature verification to application record and registration record.

Signature verification to application record and registration record.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-947

Signed oath, no verification.

Signed oath, no verification.

Signed oath, no verification.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.269927, 293.3088- 293.340

 Signature verification.

Signature verification.

Signature verification.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 659:50

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-17

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record and registration record.

AB 4276 (2020)

Signature verification to application record and registration record.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-14

Signature on envelope, no verification.

Signature on envelope, no verification.

Signature on envelope, no verification.

New York

N.Y. Elec. Law § 9-209

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163-231

Two witness signatures by people 18 years or older.

Two witness signatures by people 18 years or older.

Two witness signatures by people 18 years or older.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-07-12

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.06

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 26 § 14-108

Notarized affidavit.

Notarized affidavit.

Notarized affidavit.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 254.431

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3146.6

Signed declaration, no verification.

Signed declaration, no verification.

Signed declaration, no verification.

Puerto Rico

P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 16, § 4736

None specified.

None specified.

None specified.

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws, §§ 17-20-2.1, 17-20-26

Name, residence and signature verification to ballot application.

Two witness signatures or a public notary

Name, residence and signature verification to ballot application.

Common Cause Rhode Island v. Gorbea

Name, residence and signature verification to registration record.

HB 7428 (2022)

HB 7100 (2022)

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-15-220

Witness signature required.

Witness signature required.

Witness signature by a person 18 years or older required.

SB 108 (2022)

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws § 12-19-10.1

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Signature verification to application record.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-6-202

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 87.027

Signature verification to registration record or any know signature from the previous six years with the clerk or voter registrar.

Signature verification to registration record or any know signature from the previous six years with the clerk or voter registrar.

Signature verification to registration record or any know signature with the clerk or voter registrar.

SB 1 (2021)

Utah

Utah Code Ann. §§ 20A-3-308, 20A-3a-401

Signature verification against the signature on the application.

Signature verification against the signature on the registration record.

HB 36 (2020)

Signature verification against the signature on the registration record.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 17 § 2542

Signed certificate, no verification.

Signed certificate, no verification.

Signed certificate, no verification.

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 18, § 666

Signed affidavit, no verification.

Signed affidavit, no verification.

Signed affidavit, no verification.

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-706

Witness signature required.

Witness signature required.

Witness signature required.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.60.165

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

Signature verification to registration record.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §§ 3-3-5, 3-3-10

Witness signature required.

Signature verification to registration record.

Witness signature required.

Signature verification to registration record.

Witness signature required.

Signature verification to registration record.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 6.87

Witness signature required.

Witness signature required.

Witness signature required.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 22-9-111

Signed affidavit, no verification.

Signed affidavit, no verification.

Signed affidavit, no verification.

Table 10: Ballot Cure Processes

Table 10, Ballot Cure Processes, provides data on whether (and how) voters are notified if their absentee/mail ballot can’t be verified and how the voter can fix, or “cure,” the deficiency at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and for the November 2022 election. The table below includes only states that have taken action on ballot curing. If a state is not listed, it has never used this option or enacted legislation governing the practice. In brief:

  • In January 2020, 15 states had a statewide “cure” process for absentee/mail ballots: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.
  • In time for the 2020 general election, two additional states added ballot curing: Massachusetts on a temporary basis, and New Jersey permanently.
  • By November 2022, Massachusetts had made its temporary cure process permanent, and eight more states (Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Virginia) plus the District of Columbia had adopted ballot curing for a total of 24 states and the District of Columbia

Analysis: “Ballot curing” is one of the most significant legislative responses to the pandemic and the 2020 election.

Ballot curing comes into play when an occasional absentee/mail ballot arrive at the election office without the necessary signatures or information on the return envelope to be able to determine if the ballot is from the correct voter. Signatures may be missing or may not match the signature on file (often when spouse’s ballots are in the wrong envelopes), or other identifying information may be missing. These ballot envelopes cannot be opened and the ballot cannot be counted—unless the problem can be rectified. (See Table 9 for more on the absentee/mail ballot verification process.)

Some states have created processes known as “ballot curing” to contact the voter and ask if they did indeed submit the unverified ballot, and if so to give them an opportunity to fix (or “cure”) the deficiency. This is helpful for the voter who may have made a mistake, and also helpful to the election official who uses the cure process as a way to investigate cases where someone may have tried to vote another person’s ballot. Overall, ballot curing reduces the number of uncounted ballots as well.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 10: Ballot Cure Processes

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §16-550

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

California

Cal. Elec. Code § 3019

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. §1-7.5-107.3

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

District of Columbia

D.C. Official Code § 1-1001.05

No.

No.

Yes.

D.C. Law 24-342 (2022)

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 101.68

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-386

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-106

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-8

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-11.5-4-13.5

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 398 (2021)

Iowa

Iowa Code § 53.18(2)

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.087

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 574 (2021)

Louisiana

LA R.S. 18:1317

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 1074 (2022)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 94

No.

Yes (temporary).

SB 2608 (2020)

Yes.

SB 2924 (2022)

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.121

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-13-241, 13-13-245

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.269927

No.

No.

Yes.

AB 321 (2021)

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-17

No.

Yes.

AB 4276 (August 2020)

Yes.

New York

N.Y. Elec. Law § 9-209

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 1027 (2021)

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.06

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 254.431

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Pennsylvania

 

No.

No.

Yes; county choice.

Republican National Committee v. Chapman (Pa. 2022)

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 87.0411

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 1b (2021)

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3a-401

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 17, § 2546-7

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 15 (2021)

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-709.1

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 1888 (2021)

Washington

Wash. Admin. Code § 434-261-050

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Table 11: When Ballot Processing Can Begin

Table 11, When Ballot Processing Can Begin, provides data on when absentee ballots can begin to be processed. “Processing” refers to when the voter’s information on the outside envelope is verified; the ballot is removed from the envelope and secrecy sleeve, if there is one; the ballot is flattened; and perhaps the ballot is scanned, although results are not released. In brief:

  • In January 2020,
    • 27 states plus the District of Columbia allowed absentee ballot processing to begin before Election Day: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.
    • 20 states allowed absentee ballot processing to begin on Election Day or one day prior: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa (one day prior), Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine (unless permission to begin processing earlier is granted), Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota (one day prior), Pennsylvania, South Carolina (one day prior), South Dakota, Vermont (one day prior), Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
    • Louisiana was not specific in statute on when processing could begin; in essence, local election officials could decide.
    • Two states did not permit processing to begin until after Election Day: Maryland and New York.
  • In time for the 2020 general election,
    • 30 states plus the District of Columbia allowed absentee ballot processing to begin before Election Day: the original 27, plus Idaho, Louisiana and Maryland. These changes were made through executive or legislative action.
    • 19 states allowed absentee ballot processing to begin on Election Day or one day prior: the original 20, minus Idaho (which shifted to allow ballots to be processed earlier). In addition, Mississippi and Pennsylvania moved their processing start from the close of polls to the opening of polls.
    • New York continued to not allow processing to begin until after Election Day.
  • In time for the 2022 general election,
    • 40 states plus the District of Columbia allowed absentee ballot processing to begin before Election Day: the original 27, plus Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland (due to a court ruling), Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming. Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont each made slight changes to provide even more time to process.
    • Ten states allowed absentee ballot processing to begin on Election Day or one day prior (Alabama, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin), down from the original 20. All other states moved to allow processing to begin before Election Day. Alabama moved up its time for processing from noon to 7 a.m. on Election Day.
    • No states waited until after Election Day.

Analysis: Of the topics addressed by legislation in response to the pandemic, adjustments to when absentee/mail ballot processing can begin was among the most significant.

The 2020 election shone a light on when absentee/mail ballot processing can begin, and, in anticipation of more absentee/mail voting due to the pandemic, several states made temporary adjustments that year to allow processing to begin before Election Day. This was a common topic for legislative action after Nov. 2020 as well, as states adjusted their timelines to allow more pre-Election Day processing, in large measure to avoid delays in results reporting. The larger the jurisdiction is, the more impact timing has. For when absentee ballots can be counted, see Table 12.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 11: When Ballot Processing Can Begin

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-10

Election Day (noon).

Election Day (noon).

Election Day (7 a.m.).

HB 538 (2021)

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 15.20.201

Seven days before the election.

Seven days before the election.

Seven days before the election.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 16–550-51

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-416

Seven days before the election.

Seven days before the election.

Seven days before the election.

California

Cal. Elec. Code § 15101

29 days before the election.

29 days before the election.

Twenty-nine days before the election.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1-7.5-107.5

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-150a

Seven days before Election Day.

Absentee Ballot Processing

Fourteen days before Election Day.

HB 6002 (2020, Temporary)

Seven days before Election Day.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15, § 5510

Friday before Election Day.

Friday before Election Day.

Friday before Election Day.

District of Columbia

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 3, § 808

Prior to Election Day; exact timing not specified.

Prior to Election Day; exact timing not specified.

Prior to Election Day; exact timing not specified.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 101.68, 101.5612

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-386

Election Day (after 7 a.m.).

Election Day (after 7 a.m.).

Third Monday before Election Day.

SB 202 (2021)

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 11-108, 11-152

Ten days before the election.

Ten days before the election.

Eighteen days before election.

SB 548 (2021)

Idaho

Idaho Code §§ 34-1007, 34-1008

After polls close on Election Day.

Upon receipt (envelopes not opened until delivered to counting facility).

SB 1001 (2020)

Upon receipt (envelopes not opened until delivered to counting facility).

Illinois

10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-8

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-11.5-4-11

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Iowa

Iowa Code §§ 52.18, 53.23

The day before Election Day.

The day before Election Day.

The day before Election Day.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-1134

Before Election Day (not specified).

Before Election Day (not specified).

Before Election Day (not specified).

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.087

On Election Day.

On Election Day.

Fourteen days before election; must begin by 8 a.m. on Election Day.

HB 574 (2021)

Louisiana

La. Stat. Ann. §§ 18:1314, 18:1313.1

Not specified.

Parishes with more than 1,000 absentee ballots can begin processing the day before the election. Parishes with less than 1,000 absentee ballots can process ballots on Election Day.

SB 397 (2020)

Three days before election, with approval from the secretary of state.

HB 388 (2021)

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A, §§ 759, 760-B

On Election Day unless a request to start earlier is submitted 60 days before Election Day.

Processing begins on Election Day unless a request to start earlier is submitted 21 days before Election Day.

ME EO 56 (2020, Temporary)

Processing begins on Election Day unless a request to start earlier is submitted 31 days before Election Day.

HB 68 (2021)

Maryland

Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law § 11-302

Wednesday after Election Day.

Oct. 1.

State Board of Elections Public Notice (2020, Temporary)

Oct. 1, per a court ruling; statute says Wednesday after Election Day.

In Re: Petition for Emergency Remedy by the Maryland State Board of Elections (Md. 2022)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 94-95

Election Day.

Election Day.

Upon receipt.

SB 2924 (2022)

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.765(a)

Election Day.

Election Day.

Election Day.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.121

Signature verification upon receipt, further processing can begin seven days before the election.

Signature verification upon receipt, further processing can begin seven days before the election.

Signature verification upon receipt, further processing can begin seven days before the election.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-639

After polls close on Election Day.

When polls open on Election Day.

HB 1521 (2020)

When polls open on Election Day.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 115.299, 115.300

Five days before the election.

Five days before the election.

Five days before the election.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 13-13-241

Signature verification upon receipt, further processing three days the before election.

Signature verification upon receipt, further processing three days before the election.

Signature verification upon receipt, further processing three days before the election.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-1027

Second Monday before Election Day.

Second Friday before Election Day

LB 1055 (2020)

Second Friday before Election Day.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.269931

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 659:49

Election Day (1 p.m., unless another time is posted for no earlier than two hours after polls open).

Election Day (1 p.m., unless another time is posted for no earlier than one hour after polls open).

 HB 1266 (2020) (Temporary)

Election Day (1 p.m., unless another time is posted for no earlier than two hours after polls open).

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-22

Election Day.

Election Day.

Signature verification upon receipt, other processing five days before Election Day.

AB 3822 (2022)

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-14

For elections under 10,000 ballots, processing can begin five days prior to Election Day. For elections over 10,000 ballots, processing can begin two weeks prior to Election Day.

For elections where 10,000 mailed ballots are sent out, processing can begin five days prior to Election Day. For elections over 10,000 ballots, processing can begin two weeks prior to Election Day.

For elections where under 10,000 mailed ballots are sent out, processing can begin five days prior to Election Day. For elections over 10,000 ballots, processing can begin two weeks prior to Election Day.

New York

N.Y. Elec. Law § 9-209

No later than 14 days after the election.

No later than 14 days after the election.

Verification within four days of receipt.

SB 1027 (2021)

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 163‑230.1, 163-234

The third Tuesday before the election.

The fifth Tuesday before the election.

HB 1169 (2020)

The fifth Tuesday before the election.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-07-12

The day before the election.

The day before the election.

Three days before the election.

SB 2142 (2021)

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.06

Twenty-nine days before the election.

State Board of Elections directive

Twenty-nine days before the election.

Twenty-nine days before the election.

Oklahoma

Okla. St. Ann. tit. 26 §§ 14-123, 14-125

The Thursday before the election.

The Thursday before the election.

The Thursday before the election.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 254.478, 260.705

Seven days before the election, or 14 days with approval by the secretary of state.

Seven days before the election, or 14 days with approval by the secretary of state.

Upon receipt.

HB 3291 (2021)

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3146.8

After polls close on Election Day.

Election Day.

SB 422 (2020)

Election Day.

Puerto Rico

N/A

Not specified.

Not specified.

Not specified.

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 17-20-26, 17-22-1

Fourteen days before Election Day.

Fourteen days before Election Day.

Twenty days before Election Day.

SB 2119 (2022)

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-15-420

The day before the election.

The day before the election.

Two days before the election.

SB 108 (2022)

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws §§ 12-19-43, 12-19-46

Election Day.

Election Day.

Election Day.

Tennessee

T. C. A. § 2-6-202

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 87.0241, 87.027

Twenty days before the election.

Twenty days before the election.

Twenty days before the election.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3a-402

Before Election Day; exact timing not specified.

Before Election Day; exact timing not specified.

Before Election Day; exact timing not specified.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. § 2546a, 2546b

The day before the election.

The day before the election.

Thirty days before Election Day.

SB 15 (2021)

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 18 § 666-67

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. §§ 24.2-709.1, 24.2-712

Election Day.

Election Day.

Upon receipt.

SB 1245 (2021)

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.40.110

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

Upon receipt.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 3-3-8

Election Day.

Election Day.

Election Day.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 6.88

Election Day.

Election Day.

Election Day.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 22-9-125

Election Day.

Election Day.

The Thursday or Friday before Election Day.

HB 52 (2022)

Table 12: When Ballot Counting Can Begin

Table 12, When Ballot Counting Can Begin, provides data on when voted absentee/mail ballots can begin to be counted at three points in time: January 2020; in time for the November 2020 election; and for the November 2022 election. For processing dates, see Table 11. In brief:

  • In January 2020, when absentee/mail ballots could begin to be counted fit in three groups:
    • 38 states plus the District of Columbia could begin counting on Election Day (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming). Some states are explicit that counting can begin at the opening of the polls, close of polls or some other time.
    • Eight states authorized counting to begin prior to Election Day (Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana and Nebraska).
    • Louisiana and Ohio did not define in statute when counting can begin.
    • Maryland and New York began absentee ballot counting the day after the election.
  • In time for the 2020 general election, four states (Florida, Louisiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania) adjusted the time and date when counting could begin to an earlier time. These changes were made through legislative, executive or court actions.
  • By November 2022, eight states adjusted the dates when absentee/mail ballots could begin to be counted:
    • Arizona, Florida and Hawaii, states that already allowed ballots to begin to be counted prior to Election Day and took action to clarify the start time or moved the start date further back from Election Day.
    • Nevada, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina, states that had previously prohibited counting to begin before Election Day or after, permitted counting to begin at an earlier time or date, and Louisiana made its temporary 2020 change, specifying Election Day, permanent.
    • Maryland’s law requiring ballot counting to begin the day after the election was overturned for the 2022 election by a state court.
  • By November 2022, 17 states were explicit in statute that no results can be released prior to the close of polls: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Of these, six enacted their laws in 2021 or 2022.

Analysis: Because the volume of absentee voting was high in 2020, determining exactly when absentee/mail ballots results were counted came to the fore. In some states, where Election Day and early in-person voting results could be released within hours of the polls closing and absentee ballot results weren’t yet available, the first-released tally can show one candidate leading, only to be eclipsed by another candidate when absentee ballots are counted. This apparent shift is not politically meaningful; each ballot, no matter how it is cast, has the same value. And yet to the casual observer, the “red mirage” and the “blue shift” needed explanation.

Exactly what is meant by “counting” varies by state. In some states, it may mean that all steps are completed, including scanning ballots, but that the tabulate function on the scanner has not been activated and therefore no results have been compiled.  In others, counting may be the scanning itself. Therefore, when processing can begin (see Table 11) and when ballot counting begins are related. While it is common practice to not release any results until the close of polls, only some states are explicit about this in statute. In 2020, all aspects of managing absentee/mail voting received scrutiny. This led some states (Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey and South Carolina) to clarify in statute that results cannot be released until after the polls close. This specificity is not necessary in states where, by definition, counting cannot begin until Election Day.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 12: When Ballot Counting Can Begin

State

Citation

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-10

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Alaska

Alaska Stat. §15.20.201

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 16–550, 16-551

No earlier than 14 days before the election.

No earlier than 14 days before the election.

Upon receipt; explicitly prohibits the release of results until one hour after polls close.

SB 1362 (2022)

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-416

Election Day, 8:30 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Election Day, 8:30 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Election Day, 8:30 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

California

Cal. Elec Code § 15101

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-7.5-107.5, 1-13.5-1008

15 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

15 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

15 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-150a

Election Day.

Election Day.

Election Day.

Absentee Ballot Processing

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 15, § 5510A

Friday before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Friday before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Friday before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

District of Columbia

D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 3, § 808

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 101.68, 101.5612 

22 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Upon the completion of public logic & accuracy testing, which could mean as early as 40 days prior to Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

EO 20-149 (2020, Temporary)

Upon the completion of public logic & accuracy testing, which could mean as early as 40 days prior to Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

SB 90 (2021)

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-386

Election Day, 7 a.m.

Election Day, 7 a.m.

Election Day, 7 a.m.

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 11-108, 11-152

10 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

10 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

18 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

SB 548 (2021)

Idaho

Idaho Code §§ 34-1007 –1008, 34-1201

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Illinois

10 ll. Comp. Stat. 5/19-8

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-11.5-4-11

Election Day, 6 a.m.

Election Day, 6 a.m.

Election Day, 6 a.m.

Iowa

Iowa Code §§ 53.23, 53.18

Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close and counting is complete

Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close and counting is complete

Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close and counting is complete

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-1134

Prior to Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close

Prior to Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close

Prior to Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§117.086, 117.087

Election Day, 8 a.m.

Election Day, 8 a.m.

Election Day, 8 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before 6 p.m.

HB 574 (2021)

Louisiana

La. Stat. Ann. § 18:131F

Not Specified.

Election Day.

SB 397 (2020, Temporary)

Election Day.

H 388 (2021)

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 21-A §§ 756, 759, 760-B

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Maryland

Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law § 11-302

Wednesday after Election Day, 8 a.m.

Date unspecified; processing can begin on Oct. 1.

State Board of Elections Public Notice (2020, Temporary)

Date unspecified; processing can begin on Oct. 1.

In Re: Petition for Emergency Remedy by the Maryland State Board of Elections (Md. 2022)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54 §§ 94, 95

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

On Election Day, no later than an hour after polls close.

SB 2924 (2022)

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.765(a)

Election Day, 7 a.m.

Election Day, 7 a.m.

Election Day, 7 a.m.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 203B.121.4

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-639

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.299, 115.300

Election Day, after polls open.

Election Day, after polls open.

Election Day, after polls open.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 13-13-241

One day before Election Day, if using a vote-counting machine; manual count tabulation may not begin until Election Day.

One day before Election Day, if using a vote-counting machine; manual count tabulation may not begin until Election Day.

One day before Election Day, if using a vote-counting machine; manual count tabulation may not begin until Election Day.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. §32-1027

The day before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

The day before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

The day before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.269931

Election Day.

 Election Day.

15 days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

AB 321 (2021)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 659:49, 659:61

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 19:63-22

Election Day.

Ten days before Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Five days before Election D0ay; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

AB 3822 (2022)

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-14

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

New York

N.Y. Elec. Law § 9-209

No later than 14 days after the election (Board of Elections sets date).

No later than 14 days after the election (Board of Elections sets date).

Election Day, one hour before polls close.

SB 1027 (2021)

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 163‑230.1, 163-234

Election Day, 5 p.m., unless a resolution is adopted at least two weeks before the election to allow counting to begin at 2 p.m. on Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Election Day, 5 p.m., unless a resolution is adopted at least two weeks before the election to allow counting to begin at 2 p.m. on Election Day; Explicitly prohibits the release of results before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Election Day, 5 p.m., unless a resolution is adopted at least two weeks before the election to allow counting to begin at 2 p.m. on Election Day; Explicitly prohibits the release of results before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-07-12.1

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3509.06

No time specified; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

No time specified; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

No time specified; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 26 §§ 14-123, 14-125

Election Day, or earlier with written approval from the secretary of state.

Election Day, or earlier with written approval from the secretary of state.

Election Day, or earlier with written approval from the secretary of state.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 253.080, 254.074, 254.478, 260.705

Election Day, or 14 days before the election if approved by the Secretary of State; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Election Day, or 14 days before the election if approved by the Secretary of State; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Election Day, or 14 days before the election if approved by the Secretary of State; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 3146.8

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, 7 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

SB 422 (2020)

Election Day, 7 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Puerto Rico

N/A

Not specified.

Not specified.

Not specified.

Rhode Island

17 R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 17-20-26, 17-22-1

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-15-420

Election Day, 9 a.m.

Election Day, 9 a.m.

Election Day, 7 a.m.; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

SB 108 (2022)

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws §§ 12-19-43

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 2-6-202, 2-6-303

Election Day, after the polls open and no later than four hours before closing for general elections, or two hours before closing for all other elections.

Election Day after the polls open and no later than four hours before closing for general elections, or two hours before closing for all other elections.

Election Day after the polls open and no later than four hours before closing for general elections, or two hours before closing for all other elections.

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §§ 87.0241, 87.027

Election Day, when polls open; or in a jurisdiction with more than 100,000 people, counting can begin at the end of the early in-person voting period.

Election Day, when polls open; or in a jurisdiction with more than 100,000 people, counting can begin at the end of the early in-person voting period.

Election Day, when polls open; or in a jurisdiction with more than 100,000 people, counting can begin at the end of the early in-person voting period.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3a-401, 20A-3a-402

Election Day.

Election Day.

Election Day.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 17, §§ 2546a, 2546b

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Virgin Islands

V.I. Code Ann. tit. 18, §§ 666, 667

After all absentee ballots have been processed.

After all absentee ballots have been processed.

After all absentee ballots have been processed.

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. §§ 24.2-709.1, 24.2-712

Election Day, after polls close; if ballots are to be hand counted, that can begin after 3 p.m. on Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Election Day, after polls close; if ballots are to be hand counted, that can begin after 3 p.m. on Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Election Day, after polls close; if ballots are to be hand counted, that can begin after 3 p.m. on Election Day; explicitly prohibits the release of results before polls close.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.40.110

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

Election Day, 8 p.m.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 3-3-8, 3-3-10

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Election Day, after polls close.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. §7.51, § 6.88

Election Day, after polls open.

Election Day, after polls open.

Election Day, after polls open.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 22-9-125

Election Day, after polls close

Election Day, after polls close

Election Day, after polls close

2 Court ruling overturned Maryland’s law requiring ballot counting to begin the day after the election.

Table 13: Prohibitions on Philanthropic Money in Election Administration

Table 13, Prohibitions on Philanthropic Money in Election Administration, provides data on when states adopted policies prohibiting the acceptance and use of philanthropic funding for election administration purposes. In brief:

  • In 2020, no state had a law specifically prohibiting the use of philanthropic money by local election officials.
  • By November 2022, 24 states had such prohibitions.

Analysis: Prior to 2020, no state had addressed the use of philanthropic funding for election administration. In 2020, as a response to the pandemic, philanthropies provided one-time money to local election officials to help them with unforeseen costs associated with running elections during a pandemic. With 24 states adopting this prohibition in two years, no other election policy has been adopted by so many states in such a short timeframe since NCSL began tracking legislation in 2001.

Those who support limiting or banning such grants—mostly Republicans—argue that private funds could result in the donor or grantmaking organization having undue influence on elections administration and perhaps that influence would sway the adoption of policies favoring one party over the other. Additionally, if grantmaking means resources are unevenly distributed between jurisdictions, that too could have election results consequences.

Opponents of prohibitions say that elections are chronically underfunded, and this one-time funding helped in a dire year. Additionally, these prohibitions may have unintended consequences if they prohibit election offices from using donated services (as opposed to funds) they have long relied on, such as cybersecurity tools and making use of facilities for polling places at no cost.

The specifics of these laws vary. Some states passed outright bans on election officials accepting or using philanthropic funds and others set new regulations on how and when such funding can be accepted. For instance, in Missouri, funds can only be accepted by the state and distributed to counties under certain circumstances. See NCSL’s website, Prohibiting Private Funding of Elections, for details and updates.

The table below includes only states that have taken action on philanthropic funding for election administration. If a state is not listed below, it has never enacted legislation governing the practice.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 13: Prohibitions on Philanthropic Money in Election Administration

State

Citations

January 2020

November 2020

November 2022

Alabama

Ala. Code 1975 § 17-9-52

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 194 (2022)

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 16-407.01

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 2569 (2021)

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 7-5-104, -7-201

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 1866 (2021)

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 97.0291

No.

No.

Yes.

CS/CS/CS/SB 90 (2021; amended in 2022)

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann., § 21-2-71(b)

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 202 (2021)

Idaho

Idaho Code § 34-218

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 1168 (2021)

Indiana

Ind. Code § 3-5-3-1(d)

No.

No.

Yes.

P.L. 109-2021, Sec. 5 (2021)

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. § 49.17

No.

No.

Yes.

H.F. 2589, § 29 (2022)

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 25-2436

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 2183 (2021)

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 45A.657, 116.045

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 301 (2022)

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-273

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 1365 (2022)

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.022

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 1878 (2022)

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-1201.01

No.

No.

Yes.

LB 843 (2022)

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-01-15.1

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 1253 (2021)

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3376.08

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 110 (2021)

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Tit. 26 § 7-139

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 3046 (2022)

Pennsylvania

25 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2607

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 982 (2022)

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 7-5-50

No.

No.

Yes.

S 108 (2021)

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws § 12-1-11

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 122 (2022)

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 2-11-114, -12-118

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 1534 (2022)

Texas

Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 31.126

Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 405.005

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 2283 (2021)

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 20A-5-207

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 219 (2022)

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 24.2-124.1

No.

No.

Yes.

SB 80 (2022)

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 3-1A-9

No.

No.

Yes.

HB 4097 (2022)

Table 14: 2020 Presidential and State Primary Dates

Table 14, 2020 Presidential and State Primary Dates provide data on states that adjusted their 2020 presidential and state primary dates because of pandemic-related concerns. None of these changes had lasting effects beyond 2020. In brief:

  • Seven states had already held their state primaries before March 20, 2020: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas. For these elections, COVID-19 had no impact.
  • Twenty-nine states had already held a presidential nominating process prior to March 20, 2020: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
  • Twenty-five states changed their 2020 dates or processes for presidential primaries, state primaries or primary runoffs: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  • In four states, the Democratic party changed their nominating plans from in-person caucuses or primaries to mail-only: Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas and Wyoming.

Analysis: In the early days of COVID-19, states had to decide quickly if they would move primary dates or change nominating process procedures to give their election administrators time to adjust to providing more protective measures for in-person voting and/or shift to more absentee/mail voting. These actions affected presidential primaries more than state primaries, given that in states when these two elections are run separately, the presidential primary always comes first. Action depended on the existing timeline as well as decisions about protective measures that could be put in place quickly. More changes were affected through executive action than legislative action. And in some states, party leadership made the decisions.

While it is unlikely that a pandemic will strike again, states proved that they can act fast when needed, whether that means by moving the date of an election, changing requirements for absentee/mail voting or extending in-person voting.

Note: For enactments from 2020 through 2022 on this topic, see the Enactments Appendix.

Table 14: 2020 Presidential and State Primary Dates

State

State Primary Date

Presidential Primary Date

Alabama

March 3

March 31 runoff (rescheduled to July 14)

March 3.

Alaska

Aug. 18

Democrats: in-person March 23 primary cancelled; party-run primary with electronic and mail ballot receipt deadline extended to April 10, for April 11 primary).

Republicans: caucuses followed by April 4 convention.

Arizona

Aug. 4

March 17 (Democratic only).

Arkansas

March 3

March 31 runoff

March 3.

California

March 3

March 3.

Colorado

June 30

March 3.

Connecticut

Aug. 11

April 28 (rescheduled to Aug. 11).

Delaware

Sept. 15

April 28 (rescheduled to July 7).

District of Columbia

No district-specific primary

June 2.

Florida

Aug. 18

March 17.

Georgia

May 19 (rescheduled to June 9)

July 21 runoff (rescheduled to August 11)

March 24 (rescheduled to June 9).

Hawaii

Aug. 8

Democrats: April 4 (in-person voting cancelled and mail ballot deadline extended).

Republicans: no primary held because an incumbent Republican president was running.

Idaho

May 19

March 10.

Illinois

March 17

March 17.

Indiana

May 5 (rescheduled to June 2)

May 5 (rescheduled to June 2).

Iowa

June 2

Feb. 3 (caucus).

Kansas

Aug. 4

Democrats: May 2 party-run primary was held entirely by mail.

Republicans: no caucus or primary held because an incumbent Republican president was running.

Kentucky

May 19 (rescheduled to June 23)

May 19 (rescheduled to June 23).

Louisiana

Nov. 3

April 4 (rescheduled to July 11).

Maine

June 9 (rescheduled to July 14)

March 3.

Maryland

April 28 (rescheduled to June 2)

April 28 (rescheduled to June 2).

Massachusetts

Sept. 1

March 3.

Michigan

Aug. 4

March 10.

Minnesota

Aug. 11

March 3.

Mississippi

March 10

March 31 runoff (rescheduled to June 23)

March 10.

Missouri

Aug. 4

March 10.

Montana

June 2

June 2.

Nebraska

May 12

May 12.

Nevada

June 9

Democrats: Feb. 22 caucus.

Republicans: no caucus held because an incumbent Republican president was running.

New Hampshire

Sept. 8

Feb. 11.

New Jersey

June 2 (rescheduled to July 7)

June 2 (rescheduled to July 7).

New Mexico

June 2

June 2.

New York

June 23

April 28 (rescheduled to June 23).

North Carolina

March 3

May 12 runoff

(rescheduled to June 23)

March 3.

North Dakota

June 9

March 10.

Ohio

March 17 (rescheduled to April 28)

March 17 (rescheduled to April 28).

Oklahoma

June 30

Aug. 25 runoff

March 3.

Oregon

May 19

May 19.

Pennsylvania

April 28 (rescheduled to June 2)

April 28 (rescheduled to June 2).

Rhode Island

Sept. 8

April 28 (rescheduled to June 2).

South Carolina

June 9

June 23 runoff

Feb. 29 (Democratic only).

South Dakota

June 2

Aug. 11 runoff

June 2.

Tennessee

Aug. 6

March 3.

Texas

March 3

May 26 runoff (rescheduled to July 14)

March 3.

Utah

June 30

March 3.

Vermont

Aug.11

March 3.

Virginia

June 9 (rescheduled to June 23)

Democrats: March 3.

Republicans: no primary held because an incumbent Republican president was running.

Washington

Aug. 4

March 10.

West Virginia

May 12 (rescheduled to June 9)

May 12 (rescheduled to June 9).

Wisconsin

Aug. 11

April 7.

Wyoming

Aug. 18

Democrats: April 4 caucus; in-person event was canceled, and deadline extended to April 17 for mail-in ballots).

Republicans: caucuses held February-March.

2020–22 Legislative Enactments Relating to Absentee/Mail Voting

Enactments

Below are summaries of enactments in 2020, 2021 and 2022 that relate to the topic of each table. In addition to all legislation referenced in the tables, these lists include other enactments that may go beyond the specific focus of the tables.

Table 1: Eligibility

2020 Enactments

  • CT AB 6002: Temporarily allowed COVID-19 to be used as an excuse for an absentee ballot.
  • DE HB 346: Temporarily allowed COVID-19 to be used as an excuse for an absentee ballot.
  • MA HB 346: Temporarily allowed no excuse for an absentee ballot.
  • MS HB 1521: Temporarily allowed voters who were quarantined due to COVID-19 to qualify for an absentee ballot.
  • MO SB 631: Temporarily allowed voters who had COVID 19 or were at high risk to qualify for an absentee ballot.
  • NH HB 1266: Temporarily allowed COVID-19 to be used as an excuse for an absentee ballot.
  • NY SB 8015D: Temporarily allowed illness to be used as an excuse for an absentee ballot.
  • OK SB 210: Allows those with COVID-19 to obtain an absentee ballot.
  • SC HB 5305: Temporarily allowed no excuse for an absentee ballot.
  • VA HB 207: Allows no excuse to request an absentee ballot.

2021 Enactments

  • NH HB 555: Amends the absentee voter application form and absentee voting affidavits to make clear that people confined to penal institutions for a misdemeanor or while awaiting trial may vote by absentee ballot.
  • TX HB 3920: Clarifies that voters are not entitled to vote by mail for the following reasons: a lack of transportation, a sickness that did not otherwise prevent the voter from leaving the voter’s residence or a requirement to appear at the voter's place of employment on Election Day.

2022 Enactments

  • AZ SB 1638: Affirms that the requirement for an accessible voting option for those with visual impairments applies to both Election Day and absentee voting.
  • AZ HB 2236: No election official may register someone to vote without them specifically requesting that they be registered.
  • AZ HB 2492:. Requires the automatic rejection of all registration applications not accompanied by proof of citizenship and residence.
  • CA SB 504: Repeals the process for applying to vote by mail since the state implemented all-mail voting.
  • CA AB 2608: Requires an election official to send a second mail ballot to any voter upon receipt of a statement under penalty of perjury that the voter has failed to receive, lost or destroyed their original ballot.
  • CO SB 152: Allows voters whose permanent residences have been rendered uninhabitable to continue to use those residences’ addresses for voter registration purposes as long as they intend to return to live on the property once it has been repaired.
  • CT HB 5262: Expands the list of acceptable reasons to vote by mail to include sickness and physical disability.
  • KY HB 564: Establishes excused in-person absentee voting. Prohibits the early disclosure of unofficial ballot count totals and requires a tamper-resistant seal to be placed on voting equipment and machines before and after the in-person absentee voting period.
  • MI SB 311: Provides that military service members stationed abroad and unregistered overseas may apply to register to vote using the federal postcard application.
  • NY SB 7565: Clarifies the standard for illness necessary for it to be an acceptable reason to vote by mail.
  • VI B 266: Implements no-excuse absentee voting.
  • WV HB 4312: Allows first responders to vote by electronic absentee ballot in emergency circumstances. 

Table 2: Early In-Person Voting

2020 Enactments

  • SC HB 5305: Temporarily allowed early in-person voting.

2021 Enactments

  • AZ SB 1485: Requires an election official to remove a voter from the active early voting list (the list of voters who have asked to vote by mail permanently) if the voter fails to vote by early ballot in all regular primary or regular general elections for which there was a federal race on the ballot, and all local elections over a two-year period. It requires counties to notify a voter prior to removing that voter from the list.
  • Guam 120-36: Establishes the requirements for early in-office absentee voting. The Gaum Election Commission will deliver a ballot to any qualified voter applying in person.
  • IA SB 413: Makes several changes, including reducing the early voting period from 29 days to 19 days and requiring that absentee ballots be received by the close of polls on Election Day.
  • KY HB 574: Establishes three days of early in-person voting.
  • LA HB 286: Revises the period for early voting from 18 days to seven days prior to a presidential election.
  • NJ SB 3203: Requires counties to hold nine days of early in-person voting ending the Sunday before Election Day for November general elections. Primaries have fewer days of in-person voting: three for a non-presidential primary and five in a presidential election year.
  • NY SB 1310: Allows Washington county to have at least one polling place designated for early voting.
  • NY SB 4306: Requires at least one early voting site for every 30,000 registered voters in counties with 500,000 or less registered voters, and at least one but no more than 10 early voting sites for every 40,000 registered voters in counties with more than 500,000 registered voters; increases the number of early voting hours from five to eight for each day of the early voting period.
  • TX HB 1622: Requires early voting clerks to post early voting turnouts in a timely manner.
  • VA HB 1968: Permits localities to provide absentee voting in person (essentially, early in-person voting) in the office of the general registrar or voter satellite office on the first and second Sundays immediately preceding all elections.

2022 Enactments

  • CO HB 1086: Prohibits the open carrying of a firearm at any polling place or ballot drop box.
  • KY HB 564: Establishes excused in-person absentee voting. Prohibits the early disclosure of unofficial ballot count totals and requires a tamper-resistant seal to be placed on voting equipment and machines before and after the in-person absentee voting period.
  • MD HB 328: Repeals restrictions on holding an election in a building used, owned or occupied by an establishment that holds an alcoholic beverages license.
  • MD SB 907: Repeals restrictions on holding an election in a building used, owned or occupied by an establishment that holds an alcoholic beverages license.
  • NH HB 1157: Prohibits electronic ballot counting devices from being connected to the internet.
  • NJ AB 3817: Requires ballot privacy sleeves at all voting locations at which voters use hand-marked paper ballots.
  • SC SB 108: Allows for two weeks of early voting before an election.
  • VA HB 195: Provides that the general registrar or the governing body of a locality may request from the Department of Elections a waiver to establish a polling place that does not meet the location requirements if there is no suitable building that could be used within the precinct.
  • VI B 266: Implements no-excuse absentee voting.

Table 3: Mostly All-Mail States

2020 Enactments

  • CA AB 860: Temporarily made all-mail elections.

2021 Enactments

  • CA SB 29: Extends the state’s temporary adoption of all-mail voting in 2020 through 2021.
  • CA AB 37: Permanently establishes all-mail voting.
  • NV AB 321: Establishes all-mail voting.
  • VT SB 15: Establishes all-mail voting.

2022 Enactments

  • D.C. Law 24-342: Establishes all-mail voting.
  • CA SB 504: Repeals the process of applying to vote by mail to account for the state implementing all-mail voting.
  • CA AB 2608: Repeals the process of applying to vote by mail to account for the state implementing universal mail voting. Requires an election official to send a second mail ballot to any voter upon receipt of a statement under penalty of perjury that the voter has failed to receive, lost, or destroyed their original ballot.

Table 4: Mail Applications to All Voters

2020 Enactments

  • DE HB 5: Temporarily required mail ballot applications to be sent to all voters.
  • IL SB 1863: Temporarily required mail ballot applications to be sent to all voters.
  • MA HB 2820: Temporarily required mail ballot applications to be sent to all voters.
  • NM SB 4: Temporarily allowed counties to send out mail ballot applications to all voters.

2021 Enactments

  • AZ HB 2905: Prohibits a county recorder or other election official from delivering or mailing an early ballot to a person who has not applied for one in that election.
  • AR HB 1715: Prohibits election officials from providing unsolicited absentee ballot applications.
  • GA SB 202: Prohibits election officials from providing unsolicited absentee ballot applications.
  • IA SB 413: Prohibits election officials from providing unsolicited absentee ballot applications.
  • MD SB 683: Allows a voter to request permanent absentee ballot status and be placed on a permanent absentee ballot list. Also requires that absentee ballot applications be sent to each eligible voter before a primary election and establishes provisions governing ballot drop box locations.

2022 Enactments

  • CA SB 504: Repeals the process of applying to vote by mail to account for the state implementing universal mail voting.
  • CA AB 2608: Repeals the process of applying to vote by mail to account for the state implementing universal mail voting. Requires an election official to send a second mail ballot to any voter upon receipt of a statement under penalty of perjury that the voter has failed to receive, lost or destroyed their original ballot.

Table 5: Application Return Deadlines

2020 Enactments

  • MA HB 4820: Temporarily changed the mail ballot application deadline for mailed in requests from the day before the election at noon to four business days before the election.
  • NM SB 4a: Temporarily changed the mail ballot application deadline from the Thursday before the election to fourteen days before.
  • OK SB 1779: Temporarily changed the mail ballot application deadline from the Wednesday before the election at 5 p.m. to the Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m.
  • SC HB 5305: Temporarily changed the mail ballot application deadline for mailed requests from four days before the election to 10 days before; temporarily changed the mail ballot application deadline for in-person requests from the day before the election to four days before.
  • VA HB 239: Temporarily changed the mail ballot application deadline from seven days before the election at 5 p.m. to 11 days before the election at 5 p.m.

2021 Enactments

  • AL HB 538: Revises the timeframe for applying to vote by absentee ballot and certain procedures for processing absentee ballots. Applications returned by mail must be received not less than 10 days prior to the election. Applications returned by hand must be received not less than five days prior to the election.
  • AR SB 643: Amends the date when absentee ballot applications must be submitted. In person, the application must be submitted by the close of business on the Friday before the election at the county clerk’s office.
  • GA SB 202: Changes the return deadline for absentee ballot applications from four days before the election to 11 days before. Requires an ID to request a ballot.
  • IA SB 413: Changes the return deadline for absentee ballot applications that are mailed from 10 days before the election to 15 days before.
  • ID SB 1064: Clarifies that when voters request a particular political party’s absentee ballot for a primary election, they can only request the issuance of a new ballot of the same party they originally requested.
  • KY HB 574: Changes the return deadline for absentee ballot applications from seven business days before the election to 14 days before.
  • MA SB 2924: Changes the return deadline for absentee ballot applications that are mailed from four business days before the election to five business days before.
  • NY SB 264: Requires mailed absentee ballot applications to be received by the county Board of Elections not later than 15 days before the election and in-person applications to be received by the day before the election.
  • NY AB 6046: Allows the county Board of Elections to accept an electronic application for an absentee ballot when submitted by a voter.
  • OK HB 2663: Changes the return deadline for absentee ballot applications from the Tuesday before the election at 5 p.m. to the third Monday before the election at 5 p.m.
  • SC SB 108: Changes the return deadline for absentee ballot applications from 10 days before the election for mailed request and four days before for in-person requests to 11 days before the election at 5 p.m.

2022 Enactments

  • IL HB 1953: Provides minor clarifications to the deadlines surrounding the return of absentee ballot applications.
  • OK SB 714: Makes minor changes to the deadlines surrounding the distribution and return of absentee ballot applications.

Table 6: Ballot Return Deadlines

2020 Enactments

  • CA AB 860: Changes the deadline a mailed ballot must be received by the election office from no later than three days after Election Day and postmarked by Election Day to no later than 17 days after Election Day and postmarked by Election Day.
  • MA HB 4820: Temporarily changed the deadline a mailed ballot must be received by the election office from before polls close to 5 p.m. three days after the election if postmarked by Election Day.
  • MS HB 1521 Changes the deadline a mailed ballot must be received by the election office from the day before the election at 5 p.m. to five business days after the election if postmarked by Election Day.
  • NV AB 4: Temporarily changed the deadline a mailed ballot must be received by the election office from the close of polls to seven days after the election if postmarked by Election Day.
  • RI SB 2119: Requires that the local elections board compare the signature on each absentee ballot application with the signature on each voter registration’s card.
  • VA HB 238: Temporarily changed the deadline a mailed ballot must be received by the election office from the close of polls to three days after the election at noon if postmarked by Election Day.

2021 Enactments

  • AL HB 538: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from being postmarked by Election Day to must be received by Election Day.
  • AR SB 643: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from Election Day to the Friday before the election.
  • CA AB 37: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from 17 days after the election if postmarked by Election Day to seven days after if postmarked by Election Day.
  • GA SB 202: Requires ID to request and return absentee ballots
  • IA SF 413: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from being postmarked the day before the election to needing to be received by the close of polls.
  • NV AB 321: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from the close of polls on Election Day to four days after the election if they were postmarked by Election Day.
  • NY AB 6047: Revises the deadlines for the mailing and receipt of absentee ballots from the day before the election to Election Day.
  • OR HB 3291: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from the close of polls on Election Day to seven days after the election if it was postmarked on or before Election Day.
  • VT SB 15: Changes the return deadline for a hand delivered ballot from the day before the election to the day of the election at 7 p.m.

2022 Enactments

  • MA SB 2924: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from 8 p.m. on Election Day to three days after the election if it was postmarked on Election Day.
  • OH HB 45: Changes the return deadline for a ballot from 10 days after the election if postmarked by Election Day to four days after if postmarked by Election Day.

Table 7: Ballot Collection

2020 Enactments

  • MI SB 757: Allows a household member to return an absentee ballot.
  • NV AB 4: Allows people authorized by the voter to return an absentee ballot.
  • NJ AB 4320: Allows a single person to return up to five ballots.
  • UT SB 6007: Specifies that an absentee ballot may be returned by members of the voter’s household, or those authorized to deliver a ballot for a military-overseas voter or a voter who needs assistance due to age, illness or disability.

2021 Enactments

  • AR HB 1715: Changes the number of ballots one individual could return from 10 to four.
  • FL SB 90: Clarifies that no individual can return more than two ballots from supervised voting at a assisted living and nursing home facilities.
  • IA SF 413: Specifies that a voter’s designated person to return their ballot must do so within 72 hours of receiving it or before the closing of polls on Election Day.
  • LA HB 581: Clarifies that no person may return more than one ballot other than their own per election.
  • MT HB 530: Prohibits a person from collecting money in exchange for dropping off a ballot on behalf of an elector and provides for civil penalties of $100 per ballot.
  • NV AB 321: Permits a person authorized by the voter to return a mail ballot on their behalf.

2022 Enactments

  • FL SB 524: Changes from a misdemeanor to a felony the act of anyone  other than an immediate family member  collecting or otherwise physically possessing more than two vote-by-mail ballots per election.
  • LA SB 144: Establishes the manner, location and time periods for hand delivery of absentee ballots by a voter or voter’s agent.
  • OK SB 1814: Makes minor changes to the regulations governing the collection of ballots from nursing homes.

Table 8: Drop Boxes

2020 Enactments

  • CT HB 6002: Temporarily allowed the use of drop boxes.
  • IL SB 1863: Allows the use of drop boxes.
  • MI SB 757: Establishes requirements for drop boxes installed after October 1, 2020.
  • NV AB 4: Temporarily allowed the use of drop boxes.
  • NJ AB 4475: Allows the use of drop boxes.
  • OH HB 197: Allows the use of drop boxes.
  • VA SB 5120: Temporarily allowed the use of drop boxes.

2021 Enactments

  • CO SB 21-250: Prohibits county clerks from establishing drop boxes at police stations, sheriff’s offices or town marshal’s offices.
  • DE SB 320 (Ruled unconstitutional by the Delaware Supreme Court): Established voting by mail and permitted the use of ballot drop boxes.
  • FL SB 90: Requires drop boxes to be geographically located to provide all voters in the county an equal opportunity to cast a ballot. Specified that drop boxes in the offices of the supervisor must be continuously monitored in person by an employee of the supervisor’s office when the drop box is accessible for the deposit of ballots. Requires drop boxes to be designated at least 30 days before an election and unmovable without approval.
  • GA SB 202: Requires clerks to establish at least one drop box and may establish additional drop boxes, totaling the lesser of either one drop box for every 100,000 active registered voters in the county or the number of advance voting locations in the county. Allowed drop boxes to be open during the hours of advance voting at that location and closed when advance voting is not being conducted. Requires drop box locations to have adequate lighting and to be under constant surveillance by an election official, his or her designee, law enforcement, or a licensed security guard.
  • HI HB 199: Requires the county clerk, not the chief election officer, to issue an election proclamation listing all voter service centers and drop boxes, including the days, location and hours of operation for each.
  • IL HB 1871: Permits the distribution of HAVA funds to be made available for the maintenance of secure collection sites (drop boxes) for the return of mail ballots. Requires that all sites be secured by locks that may be opened only by election authority personnel and requires that the State Board of Elections establish additional guidelines for the security of collection sites.
  • IA SF 413: Permits drop boxes. Specified that a county commissioner is not required to establish a ballot drop box and shall not establish more than one ballot drop box. Specifies that the drop box  shall be located at the office of the county commissioner, or on property owned and maintained by the county that directly surrounds the building where the office is located.
  • KY HB 574: Requires county clerks to provide at least one secure ballot drop box for each election in a well-lit and easily accessible location. Requires locations to be posted on the county clerk’s website.
  • ME SP 450: Permits municipalities to establish drop boxes. Requires drop boxes to be located outside the municipal office building or the building where in-person absentee voting takes place, and municipalities may seek approval from the Secretary of State to obtain and install additional secured drop boxes at other locations.
  • MD SB 525: Requires the Baltimore City centralized booking facility to provide a secure, designated ballot drop box for eligible voters incarcerated in the facility to easily submit absentee ballot applications, absentee ballots and voter registration forms.
  • MD SB 683: Establishes ballot drop boxes. Requires drop boxes to be monitored by security cameras at all times and by periodic in-person visits by appropriate personnel, and to be emptied at least once per day. Requires local boards to consider the following factors when determining drop box locations: accessibility to historically disenfranchised communities, proximity to dense concentrations of voters, accessibility by public transportation, equitable distribution of drop boxes throughout the county and maximizing voter participation through placement at community centers and public gathering places. Requires the state elections administrator to approve drop box locations.
  • MN SF 2:  Specifies that the county auditor or municipal clerk may provide drop boxes and must provide a list of locations to the secretary of state no later than 40 days before the start of the absentee voting period. The list must be published on the county or municipality’s website. Requires drop boxes to be continually monitored during the absentee voting period; designed to prevent an unauthorized person from moving, removing or tampering with the drop box; secured to prevent the drop box’s removal; secured against access by any unauthorized person; and clearly identified as an official absentee ballot return location. Ballots must be collected at least once per business day. Prohibits electioneering within 100 feet of the drop box.
  • NV AB 321: Requires county clerks to establish a ballot drop box at every polling place in the county, including a polling place for early voting, and allowed county clerks to establish a ballot drop box at any other location in the county.
  • NJ AB 5373: Sets requirements for locations for drop boxes.
  • NJ AB 4655: Limited police presence at polling places and ballot drop boxes. Prohibited electioneering within 100 feet of ballot drop box.
  • TX SB 1: Prohibits the use of drop boxes.
  • VT SB 15: Permits the use of drop boxes and requires them to be on municipal property and open 24 hours a day. Requires drop boxes to be affixed to a foundation or other immovable object, under 24-hour video surveillance (or be within sight of the municipal building), tamper-proof and able to be closed once the deposit deadline has passed.
  • VA HB 1888: Permits the use of drop boxes.
  • VA SB 1245: Requires the establishment of a drop-off location for the return of marked absentee ballots at the office of the general registrar and each voter satellite office. On Election Day, requires a drop-off location be available at each polling place in operation.
  • WA SB 5015: Any misrepresentation of an unofficial ballot collection site or device as an official ballot drop box that has been established by the county auditor is punishable as a gross misdemeanor.

2022 Enactments

  • CA AB 2815: Requires that all counties with state universities provide an additional ballot drop box location on the university’s main campus.
  • CO HB 1086: Prohibits the open carrying of a firearm at any polling place or ballot drop box.
  • FL SB 524: Changes the term “drop box” to “secure intake station.”
  • LA SB 144: Prohibits the use of drop boxes.
  • MA SB 2924: Permits secured drop boxes at municipal locations.
  • MI HB 4491: Requires drop boxes to be in public, well-lit areas. Requires drop boxes to be clearly labeled, securely locked, designed to prevent the removal of absent voter ballots when locked, secured to prevent the removal of the drop box from its location,  equipped with a single slot or mailbox-style lever to allow ballots to be placed in the drop box and be under video monitoring.
  • MO HB 1878: Prohibited the use of drop boxes.
  • NE LB 843: Specifies that if an election commissioner or county clerk maintains a secure ballot drop box, the election commissioner or county clerk shall ensure that the drop box is securely fastened to the ground or a concrete slab connected to the ground; secured by a lock that can only be opened by the election commissioner or county clerk or designee; and is ADA compliant. Requires ballots to be collected from drop boxes at least once each business day.  
  • NJ AB 3822: Requires that all ballot drop boxes must adhere to the standards of accessibility set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • RI HB 7100A: Requires at least one drop box per town or city. Requires drop boxes to be accessible 20 days before a state election 24/7 if established outside a municipal building, and during normal business hours of the facility if established inside a municipal building.
  • UT HB 313: Requires election officials to designate at least one ballot drop box in each municipality and reservation located in the jurisdiction. Requires 24-hour video surveillance of each unattended drop box.

Table 9: Ballot Verification

2020 Enactments

  • NJ AB 4276: Requires a ballot signature to be compared to the voter’s registration record for verification.
  • UT HB 36: Changes the signature verification from comparing the signature on the returned ballot envelope to the voter’s ballot application record to the voter’s registration record.

2021 Enactments

  • AZ SB 1003: Requires early voter instructions to state that the ballot will not be counted without the voter's signature on the return envelope. If a signature is missing from an early ballot return envelope, it requires the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections to make reasonable efforts to contact the voter and allow that voter to add their signature no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.
  • CA SB 503: Makes changes to the state’s signature verification process and specifies that an exact signature is not required to determine validity.
  • GA SB 202: Requires voters to sign an oath on the return envelope that the information they are presenting is accurate and removes the signature verification requirement.
  • ID HB 290: Requires a voter’s signature to be compared with their voter registration signature.
  • IN SB 398: Requires a voter’s signature to be compared with their ballot application signature.
  • NV AB 321: Requires a voter’s signature to be compared to the signature in their registration record or to any other signature the clerk has available to them. Requires those doing the signature verification process to go through forensics training.
  • TX SB 1: Removes the requirement that a signature used to compare to the voter’s ballot signature does not need to have been from the last six years.
  • VA SB 1097: Eliminates the requirement for a witness signature on absentee ballots during states of emergency.

2022 Enactments

  • CA AB 1619: Requires that both paper and electronic affidavits of registration inform affiants that the signature appearing on the affidavit of registration may be compared with the signature appearing on an identification envelope for the return of a mail ballot.
  • ID SB 1352: If an absentee ballot is returned marked as “undeliverable,” the county clerk shall investigate the validity of the absent elector’s registration.
  • OK HB 3364: Sets forth the required information a voter most supply to request an absentee ballot and stipulates that such information as provided must match the voter’s information on file with the state elections office.
  • RI HB 7428: Requires a person’s name, residence and signature to be verified through the voter’s registration record.
  • RI HB 7100: Removes the witness and notary signature requirement for absentee/mail ballots.
  • SC SB 108: Clarifies that a witness signature must come from someone who is 18 years or older.
  • TN SB 2558: Stipulates that going forward all voting machines must produce a voter verifiable paper trail for security purposes.
  • UT HB 313: Requires video surveillance of all unattended ballot drop boxes. Stipulates that any voter who did not provide valid ID upon registration must provide it when voting. Prohibits the acceptance of any private funds in the conduct of elections.
  • VA HB 1140: Clarifies the methods by which voters whose registrations have been canceled will be notified.
  • WA HB 1953: Allows the secretary of state to authorize the inspection of unredacted ballot return envelopes, ballot declarations and signature correction forms.

Table 10: Ballot Cure Process

2020 Enactments

  • MA SB 2608: Temporarily created a ballot curing process.
  • NJ AB 4276: Creates a ballot curing process.

2021 Enactments

2022 Enactments

  • LA HB 1074: Creates a ballot curing process.
  • MA SB 2924: Creates a ballot curing process.
  • UT HB 411: Alters deadlines associated with the ballot cure process and makes minor technical revisions to the same process.

Table 11: Processing Timeline

2020 Enactments

  • CT HB 6002: Temporarily allowed ballot processing to begin 14 days before the election instead of seven days.
  • ID SB 1001: Allows processing to begin upon receipt of a ballot instead of after the polls close on Election Day.
  • LA SB 397: Allows parishes with more than 1,000 absentee ballots to begin processing the day before the election and allows parishes with less than 1,000 absentee ballots to process ballots on Election Day.
  • MS HB 1521: Allows processing to begin when polls open on Election Day instead of after polls close on Election Day.
  • NE LB 1055: Allows processing to begin on the second Friday before the election instead of the second Monday before the election.
  • NH HB 1266: Temporarily allowed the secretary of state to post a new time to process ballots—one hour after the polls open instead of two hours.
  • NC HB 1169: Allows processing to begin the fifth Tuesday before the election instead of the third Tuesday.
  • PA SB 422: Allows processing to begin on Election Day instead of after the polls close.

2021 Enactments

  • AL HB 538: Changes when ballots can start to be processed from noon on Election Day to 7 a.m.
  • GA SB 202: Allows signatures verification to begin upon receipt of the ballot and allows other processing to begin the third Monday before the election.
  • HI SB 548: Allows signatures verification to begin upon receipt of the ballot and allows other processing to begin 18 days before the election.
  • IN SB 260: Provides that absentee ballots may be scanned, but not tabulated, not earlier than seven days before Election Day.
  • KY HB 574: Allows processing of ballots to begin 14 days before the election and requires that it must start by 8 a.m. on Election Day.
  • LA HB 388: Allows ballot processing to begin three days before the election with approval of the secretary of state.
  • ME HB 68: Allows approvals for processing ballots to be submitted 31 days before the election in order to process ballots seven days before the election.
  • NY SB 1027: Requires that the verification of a ballot must occur within four days of receipt.
  • ND SB 2142: Allows processing of ballots to occur three business days before the election instead of on Election Day.
  • OR HB 3291: Allows processing of ballots to occur upon receipt.
  • VT SB 15: Allows processing of ballots to occur on receipt instead of the day before the election.
  • VA SB 1245: Allows processing of ballots to occur upon receipt instead of Election Day.

2022 Enactments

  • MA SB 2924: Allows processing of ballots to begin upon receipt.
  • NJ AB 3822: Allows signature verification to begin upon receipt of the ballot and allows other processing to begin five days before the election.
  • RI SB 2119: Allows processing of ballots to begin 20 days before the election instead of 14 days.
  • SC SB 108: Allows the processing of ballots to being at 7 a.m. two days before the election instead of 9 a.m. on Election Day.
  • WY HB 52: Allows processing of ballots to occur the Thursday or Friday before the election instead of on Election Day.

Table 12: Counting Timeline

2020 Enactments

  • LA SB 397: Temporarily specified that counting may begin on Election Day.
  • PA SB 422: Allows counting to begin at 7 a.m. on Election Day instead of after the polls close.

2021 Enactments

  • FL SB 90: Allows counting to begin after the completion of public testing of tabulation equipment, which occurs not later than  25 days before the election.
  • HI SB 548: Allows counting to begin 18 days before the election instead of 10 days.
  • KY HB 574:  Allows counting to occur after all the ballots have been processed, instead of on Election Day at 8 a.m.
  • LA HB 388: Requires ballots to be counted on Election Day.
  • NV AB 321: Allows counting to begin 15 days before the election, but results may not be released until polls close.
  • NY SB 1027: Allows counting to begin one hour before the polls close.
  • VA SB 1245: Allows ballots to be inserted into ballot counting machines prior to the close of polls. Allows hand counting absentee ballots to begin after noon on Election Day, but results may not be released until the close of polls.

2022 Enactments

  • AZ SB 1329: Stipulates that the counting of absentee ballots, as opposed to the processing of absentee ballots, shall begin on Election Day at the earliest. Results from the election may not be released until either all precincts have reported or one hour after polls close.
  • AZ SB 1362:  Allows counting to begin upon receipt, but results may not be released until one hour after the polls close.
  • ID SB 1341: Provides that the results of an election may not be reported until all voting places in the state have closed across both time zones.
  • MA SB 2924: Requires that absentee ballots counting begin no later than an hour after polls close on Election Day.
  • NJ AB 3822: Allows counting to begin five days before the election, but results may not be released until polls close.
  • SC SB 108: Allows counting to begin at 7 a.m. on Election Day, but results may not be released until polls close.

Table 13: Prohibitions on Philanthropic Money

2021 Enactments

  • AZ HB 2569: Prohibits the state or other public body that administers elections from receiving or expending private monies for the purpose of preparing, administering or conducting an election.
  • AR HB 1866: Prohibits any county board of election commissioners from taking or accepting any funding, grants, or gifts from any source other than from a city or incorporated town, county, the state of Arkansas or the US government.
  • FL CS/CS/CS/SB 90: Prohibits any agency or state or local official responsible for conducting elections from excepting or using any donation in the form of money, grants, property, or personal services from an individual or non-governmental agency.
  • GA SB 202: Prohibits any superintendent from taking or accepting any funds, grants, or gifts from any source other than from the governing authority of the county or municipality, the state of Georgia or the federal government.
  • ID SB 1168: Requires that elections must be funded by only appropriations from federal, state, or local government entities.
  • IN SB 398: Provides that a political subdivision that administers an election may not receive or expend funds received from a person (other than from the state or the federal government) for preparing, administering or conducting elections, including registering voters.
  • KS HB 2183: Prohibits the use of private or philanthropic funding to run elections.
  • ND HB 1256: Prohibits any state and political subdivisions from soliciting, accepting or using any grants or donations from private persons for elections operations or administration.
  • OH HB 110: Prohibits any election official from accepting or spending any funds from a non-governmental entity for voter registration, voter education, voter identification, get-out-the-vote, absent voting, election official recruitment or training or any other election-related purpose.
  • SC SB 108: Prohibits the State Election Commission and the county boards of voter registration and elections from receiving, accepting, or expending gifts, donations, or funding from private individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts, or any third party not provided through ordinary state or county appropriations.
  • TX HB 2283: Prohibits joint elections commissions, county election commissions and county election boards from accepting contributions of $1,000 or more, including in-kind donations. It also prohibits a county commissioners court from accepting donations of $1,000 or more for the purpose of administering elections.

2022 Enactments

  • AL HB 194: Prohibits state and local election officials and their employees from soliciting, accepting, using or disposing of certain donations from individuals or nongovernmental entities for funding certain election-related expenses.
  • IN SB 134: Prohibits the use of private money donations to prepare, administer or conduct elections or to employ individuals on a temporary basis for preparing, administering or conducting elections, including registering voters. Requires all state agencies to submit a report of each individual state employee employed by a state agency whose salary is funded in whole or in part from donated money.
  • KY HB 301: Requires all costs and expenses related to election administration be paid for with public funds. Prohibits an employee of a governmental body from soliciting, taking or otherwise accepting any private contribution, donation or anything of value to assist with election administration.
  • MI HB 6071: Prohibits the use of privately owned buildings for the use in elections unless a publicly owned building is not available.
  • MS HB 1365: Prohibits any agency, state or local official from soliciting, accepting or otherwise using private funds for any election-related expenses or voter education, voter outreach or voter registration programs.
  • OK HB 3046: Requires elections to be paid for with public funds.
  • PA SB 982: Requires the administration and conduct of elections to be funded only via appropriation of federal, state and local governments. Requires that funding sources be limited to money derived from taxes, fees and other sources of public revenue.
  • SD SB 122: Prohibits the private funding of election costs except for gifts of a nominal value.
  • UT SB 219: Prohibits an election officer from soliciting, accepting or using funds donated for an election by a person other than a government entity.
  • UT HB 313: Prohibits the acceptance of any private funds in the conduct of elections.
  • VA SB 80: Prohibits the acceptance of certain gifts and funding of voter education and outreach programs, voter registration programs or any other expense incurred in the conduct of elections.
  • WV HB 4097: Prohibits public officials and bodies responsible for elections from directly receiving or accepting money or anything of value for election administration and related expenses from private parties.

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