Table 11: Receipt and Postmark Deadlines for Absentee/Mail Ballots

7/12/2022

Our organization does not run elections and cannot provide legal advice. If you are a voter looking for assistance, please contact your local election official. You can find your local election official's website and contact information by using this database from the US Vote Foundation.

This table is part of NCSL’s Voting Outside the Polling Place report.

Absentee/mail ballots are typically returned by mail or hand delivery, and the most common deadline for absentee/mail ballots to be returned by any method is by the close of polls on Election Day.

No states allow hand-delivered ballots to be returned after Election Day, but five require hand-delivered ballots to be received before Election Day: Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, North Dakota and Vermont.

Thirty states require absentee/mail ballots returned by mail to be received on or before Election Day. Nineteen states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., however, will accept and count a mailed ballot if it is received after Election Day but postmarked on or before (sometimes only before) Election Day. Because what constitutes a postmark is changing and less mail gets truly postmarked, many states will accept an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) as evidence.

The table below shows which states require mailed ballots to be received by Election Day or postmarked by Election Day and provides deadline details for each state.

Note: This table does not include the receipt and postmark deadlines for voters subject to the Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which may differ from the deadlines for domestic absentee voters. 

State

Mail Receipt by Election Day

Postmarked by Election Day

Absentee/Mail Ballot Deadline Details

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-18

X

 

Must be received by noon on Election Day.

Alaska

AS § 15.20.081(e) and (h)

 

X

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

Arizona

A.R.S. 16-548

X

 

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

Arkansas

A.C.A. § 7-5-411

X

 

Must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Hand-delivered ballots must be received at the county clerk’s office by the close of business the Friday before Election Day.

California

West's Ann.Cal.Elec.Code § 3020

 

X

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

Colorado

C.R.S. § 1-7.5-107

X

 

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

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. 45-9-140b

X

 

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. Hand-delivered ballots must be received the day before an election if delivered by the voter and by the close of polls on Election Day if delivered by a designated agent.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. § 15-55-5508

X

 

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

District of Columbia

DC ST § 1-1001.05(a)(10A)

 

X

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

Florida

West's F.S.A. §101.67

X

 

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

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann., § 21-2-386(F)

X

 

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

Hawaii

HRS § 11-104

X

 

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

Idaho

I.C. § 34-1005

X

 

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

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/19-8, 10 ILCS 5/18A-15

 

X

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

Indiana

IC 3-11.5-4-7

X

 

Must be received by noon on Election Day.

Iowa

Iowa Code § 53.17(2)

X

 

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

Kansas

K.S.A. 25-1132

 

X

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

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. 117.086

X

 

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

Louisiana

LSA-R.S. 18:1311

   

All absentee ballots, regardless of return method, must be received the day before the election.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 21-A § 755

X

 

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

Maryland

MD Code, Election Law, § 9-309, Board of Elections

 

X

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

Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. 54 § 93

 

X

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

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws 168.764a

X

 

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

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. 203B.08

X

 

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 3 p.m. on Election Day.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-637

 

X

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

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. 115.293

X

 

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

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. 13-13-232

X

 

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

Nebraska

Neb.Rev.St. § 32-950

X

 

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

Nevada

N.R.S. AB 321, § 8

 

X

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.

New Hampshire

NH Rev Stat § 657:22

X

 

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

New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 19:63-22

 

X

Must be received within 144 hours (6 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(B)

X

 

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

New York

McKinney's Election Law § 8-412

 

X

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

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163A-1310

 

X

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

North Dakota

NDCC 16.1-07-09, 16.1-15-25

 

X

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. Hand-delivered ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on the day before Election Day.

Ohio

R.C. § 3509.05

 

X

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

Oklahoma

26 Okl.St.Ann. § 14-104

X

 

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

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §253.070

 

X

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

Pennsylvania

25 P.S. § 3146.8

X

 

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

Puerto Rico

16 L.P.R.A. § Section 9.36.-

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

Rhode Island

Gen.Laws 1956, § 17-20-8

X

 

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

South Carolina

SC Code § 7-15-420

X

 

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

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. 12-19-12

X

 

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

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. 2-6-304

X

 

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

Texas

Texas Election Code § 86.007

 

X

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

 

X

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

Vermont Statutes Title 17. Elections, § 2543

X

 

Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. Ballots hand-delivered to a drop box or the town clerk’s office must be received before the close of business on the day before the election; ballots hand-delivered to the voter’s polling place must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

Virgin Islands

18 V.I.C. § 665

  X Must be received within 10 days of Election Day.

Virginia

Va. Code 24.2-709

 

X

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

Washington

West's RCWA 29A.40.091

 

X

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

 

X

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)

X

 

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

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. 22-9-119

X

 

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