Absentee and Mail Voting Policies in Effect for the 2020 Election

9/18/2020

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.

Table: Absentee and Mail Voting Policies in Effect for the 2020 Election

State

Expanding Absentee/Mail Eligibility (1)

Mailing Applications (2)

Mailing Ballots (3)

When Ballot Processing Begins

Other Changes

Alabama

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

No

No

Noon on Election Day.

 

Alaska

N/A

No

No

Seven days before Election Day.

 

Arkansas

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

No

No

Seven days before Election Day.

 

Arizona

N/A

No

No

14 days before Election Day.

 

California

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

29 days before Election Day.

 

Colorado

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Upon receipt.

 

Connecticut

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

Yes

No

14 days before Election Day (2020 only).

HB 6002 extends the timeframe for processing absentee ballots allows the use of ballot drop boxes.

Delaware

Yes, no excuse required.

Yes

No

Friday before Election Day.

 

Florida

N/A

No

No

22 days before Election Day.

 

Georgia

N/A

No

No

Upon receipt.

 

Hawaii

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Upon receipt.

 

Idaho

N/A

No

No

Upon receipt.

 

Illinois

N/A

Yes

No

Upon receipt.

 

Indiana

No

No

No

Upon receipt.

 

Iowa

N/A

Yes

No

The day before Election Day.

 

Kansas

N/A

No

No

Prior to Election Day, timing not specified.

 

Kentucky

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

No

No

8am on Election Day.

The governor's executive order requires early in-person voting and allows drop boxes.

Louisiana

No

No

No

The day before Election Day if the parish has more than 1000 absentee ballots, or on Election Day if less than 1000 absentee ballots.

 

Maine

N/A

No

No

Seven days before Election Day (2020 only).

 

Maryland

N/A

Yes

No

October 1, 2020 (2020 only).

The state board of elections' decision requires vote centers and ballot drop boxes.

Massachusetts

Yes, no excuse required.

Yes

No

Upon receipt.

HB 4820 expands early voting and extends the ballot receipt deadline. 

Michigan

N/A

Yes

No

On Election Day.

 

Minnesota

N/A

No

No

Processing upon receipt and envelopes opened seven days before Election Day.

Following a lawsuit, the state will waive the witness requirement for absentee ballots and extend the ballot receipt deadline.

Mississippi

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

No

No

On Election Day.

HB 1521 extends the ballot receipt deadline.

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.

 

Montana

N/A

No

Yes, counties' choice.

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

 

Nebraska

N/A

Yes

No

Second Friday before Election Day.

 

Nevada

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

Upon receipt.

 

New Hampshire

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

No

No

Thursday, October 29th, 2020. (2020 only).

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

New Jersey

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

Upon receipt.

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

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.

 

New York

Yes, any voter may use illness as an excuse.  

No

On Election Day.

 

North Carolina

N/A

No

No

Fifth Tuesday before Election Day.

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.

North Dakota

N/A

No

No

Day before Election Day.

 

Ohio

N/A

Yes

No

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

 

Oklahoma

N/A

No

No

10am on the Thursday before Election Day.

 

Oregon

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Seven days before Election Day.

 

Pennsylvania

N/A

No

No

7am on Election Day.

The state supreme court issued a ruling extending the ballot receipt deadline to allow ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received three days after Election Day.

Rhode Island

N/A

Yes

No

14 days before Election Day.

Following a lawsuit, the state will waive the witness requirement for absentee ballots.

South Carolina

Yes

No

No

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

HB 5305 allows any qualified elector to vote absentee if they are in an area subject to a state of emergency. The bill also makes various other changes to election procedures.

South Dakota

N/A

No

No

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

 

Tennessee

No

No

No

Upon receipt.

 

Texas

No

No

No

Upon receipt.

 

Utah

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

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

 

Vermont

N/A

No

Yes, for November 2020.

Day before Election Day.

 

Virginia

N/A

No

No

Before Election Day as needed to expedite counting absentee ballots.

 

Washington

N/A

No

Yes, for all elections.

Upon receipt.

 

West Virginia

Yes

No

No

On Election Day.

 

Wisconsin

N/A

Yes

No

After polls open on Election Day.

 

Wyoming

N/A

No

No

On 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.

NCSL Resoures