Absentee and Mail Voting Policies in Effect for the 2020 Election

11/3/2020

A white hand holding a mail in ballot.

This resource is intended to catalog state policies on absentee/mail voting that will be in effect for the 2020 general election. Many of these policies represent temporary changes that will only apply for the 2020 election. For resources on permanent state policies on absentee and mail voting, please visit our Voting Outside the Polling Place report.

Absentee and Mail Voting Policies in Effect for the 2020 Election
State Expanding Absentee/Mail Eligibility (1) Mailing Applications (2) Mailing Ballots to All Eligible Voters (3) When Ballot Processing Begins Absentee/Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline

Alabama

Yes, any voter may use illness or infirmity as an excuse.

No

No

7 a.m. on Election Day.

Noon on Election Day if postmarked the day before Election Day. Day before Election Day if returning in person.

Alaska (4) N/A No No

Seven days before Election Day.

10 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Arkansas

Yes, any voter may use illness or disability as an excuse.

No

No

Seven days before Election Day.

Election Day if returned by mail or the day before Election Day if returned in person.

Arizona

N/A

No

No

14 days before Election Day.

Election Day by 7pm.

California

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

29 days before Election Day.

17 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Colorado

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Upon receipt.

Election Day by 7pm.

Connecticut (5)

Yes, any voter may use COVID-19 as an excuse.

Yes

No

14 days before Election Day (2020 only).

Close of polls on Election Day.

Delaware

Yes, no excuse required.

Yes

No

Friday before Election Day.

Close of polls on Election Day.

District of Columbia N/A No Yes Signatures can be verified and the secrecy envelope removed prior to tabulation. Exact timing not specified. 10 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Florida

N/A

No

No

22 days before Election Day.

7pm on Election Day.

Georgia

N/A

No

No

Upon receipt.

Close of polls on Election Day.

Hawaii

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Upon receipt.

Close of polls on Election Day.

Idaho

N/A

No

No

Upon receipt.

8pm on Election Day.

Illinois

N/A

Yes

No

Upon receipt.

14 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Indiana

No

No

No

On Election Day. (Initial signature review can be done before Election Day).

Noon on Election Day.

Iowa

N/A

Yes

No

The Saturday before Election Day (2020 only).

Noon on the sixth day after Election Day if postmarked the day before Election Day,

Kansas

N/A

No

No

Prior to Election Day, timing not specified.

3 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Kentucky

Yes, any voter may use COVID-19 as an excuse.

No

No

Sep. 21, 2020.

3 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Louisiana

No

No

No

The day before Election Day if the parish has more than 1,000 absentee ballots, or on Election Day if less than 1,000 absentee ballots.

The day before Election Day.

Maine

N/A

No

No

Seven days before Election Day (2020 only).

Election Day.

Maryland (6)

N/A

Yes

No

Oct. 1, 2020 (2020 only).

10 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Massachusetts

Yes, no excuse required.

Yes

No

Upon receipt.

3 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Michigan

N/A

Yes

No

In cities with population over 25,000, processing may begin the day before Election Day. (2020 only)

Close of polls on Election Day. (pending litigation)

Minnesota (7)

N/A

No

No

Processing upon receipt and envelopes opened fourteen days before Election Day. (2020 only)

7 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day. (pending litigation)

Mississippi (8)

Yes, voters who test positive for COVID-19 or are quarantined may request an absentee ballot.

No

No

On Election Day.

5 business days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Missouri

Yes, voters who test positive for COVID-19 or are in an at-risk category may request an absentee ballot.

No

No

Five days before Election Day.

Election Day.

Montana

N/A

No

Yes, counties' choice.

Signature verification upon receipt, envelopes opened three days before Election Day.

Close of polls on Election Day.

Nebraska

N/A

Yes

No

Second Friday before Election Day.

Close of polls on Election Day.

Nevada

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

Upon receipt.

7 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day. Ballots without postmarks will be accepted up to 3 days after Election Day.

New Hampshire (9)

Yes, any voter may use COVID-19 as an excuse.

No

No

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (2020 only).

5pm on Election Day.

New Jersey (10)

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

Upon receipt.

7 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day. Ballots without postmarks will be accepted up to 2 days after Election Day.

New Mexico

N/A

Yes (counties choice)

No

If more than 10,000 absentee ballots are sent in a county, they may be opened and inserted into an electronic voting machine two weeks before Election Day. If fewer than 10,000 absentee ballots are sent, processing may begin four days before the election.

Election Day.

New York

Yes, any voter may use illness as an excuse.  

No

Upon receipt.

7 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day. Ballots without postmarks will be accepted up to the day after Election Day.

North Carolina (11)

N/A

No

No

Fifth Tuesday before Election Day.

9 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day. (pending litigation)

North Dakota

N/A

No

No

October 29, 2020. (2020 only)

6 days after Election Day if postmarked the day before Election Day.

Ohio

N/A

Yes

No

Processing may begin before the time for counting ballots. Exact timing not specified.

10 days after Election Day if postmarked the day before Election Day.

Oklahoma

N/A

No

No

10 a.m. on the Thursday before Election Day.

Election Day.

Oregon

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Seven days before Election Day.

8pm on Election Day.

Pennsylvania

N/A

No

No

7 a.m. on Election Day.

3 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Rhode Island (12)

N/A

Yes

No

20 days before Election Day. (2020 only)

Election Day.

South Carolina

Yes

No

No

Nov. 1, 2020 at 7 a.m. (2020 only)

Election Day.

South Dakota

N/A

No

No

Processing may begin when sealed absentee ballots are delivered to precincts with the election supplies.

Election Day.

Tennessee

No

No

No

Upon receipt.

Election Day. Ballots must be mailed and cannot be returned in person.

Texas

No

No

No

Upon receipt.

1 day after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Utah

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Processing may begin before Election Day. Exact timing not specified.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before Election Day and received by noon on the day of the county canvass (which varies by county but may be as late as Nov. 17).

Vermont

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

Day before Election Day.

Election Day if returning by mail, the day before Election Day if returning in person.

Virginia (13)

N/A

No

No

Before Election Day as needed to expedite counting absentee ballots.

3 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Washington

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Upon receipt.

Postmarked by Election Day.

West Virginia

Yes

No

No

On Election Day.

6 days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day.

Wisconsin

N/A

Yes

No

After polls open on Election Day.

8pm on Election Day.

Wyoming

N/A

No

No

On Election Day.

Election Day.

(1): Expanding eligibility refers to states that normally require an excuse to vote by absentee/mail ballot but have expanded eligibility in 2020 temporarily. States tagged "N/A" did not require an excuse prior to COVID-19.

(2): Refers to states that are mailing applications for absentee/mail ballots to voters proactively.

(3): Refers to states that are mailing ballots to all eligible voters, no request needed.

(4): The State Supreme Court waived the witness signature requirement for 2020.

(5): HB 6002 extends the timeframe for processing absentee ballots and allows the use of ballot drop boxes.

(6): The state board of elections' decision expands early voting and requires vote centers and ballot drop boxes. The state will also allow ballot counting to begin on Oct. 1, 2020.

(7): Following a lawsuit, the state will waive the witness requirement for absentee ballots.

(8):The state has created a new process for voters to cure issues with their ballots.

(9): HB 1266 made temporary changes to the state's absentee voter registration, absentee ballot application, and absentee voting processes.

(10): AB 4475 allows ballot drop boxes, AB 4276 establishes a signature process and AB 4320 extends the ballot receipt deadline.

(11): HB 1169 reduced the number of witness signatures required for absentee ballots from two to one and allows absentee ballot requests to be submitted by email or fax.

(12): Following a lawsuit, the state will waive the witness requirement for absentee ballots.

(13): A court settlement has waived the witness requirement for ballots in 2020 only. The state also implemented a signature cure process for 2020 only.

Additonal Resoures