Table 17: How Election Results Are Reported


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.

Most states report absentee/mail ballots at the precinct level so that it’s possible to see voter turnout by precinct regardless of how the ballot was voted (in person or by absentee/mail ballot). Since absentee/mail ballots are accepted through Election Day in many states, it can take until days after Election Day before all ballots are counted.

In many states, especially those that handle large volumes of absentee/mail ballots, counting is done at a central location. The most common way to report absentee/mail ballot results is to add the tabulated votes from absentee ballots to the total tabulated at each precinct and report precinct results with both the absentee/mail and Election Day votes included.

Some states handle this process differently, though. Some send absentee ballots to precinct polling places on Election Day to be counted by the precinct-level scanners/tabulators. Others establish separate “absentee ballot precincts” that combine all mailed ballots from throughout the jurisdiction into one reporting unit, regardless of what precinct the voter is in. That approach loses the precinct-level data that is useful to candidates for campaigning and to election officials to allocate resources.

State How Results Are Reported


Code of Ala. §17-11-10
By precinct. Absentee ballots are delivered to precinct polling places where they are counted and otherwise handled as if the voter were present and voting in person.


Alaska Stat. §15.20.201
By election district.


Ariz. Stat. §16-622
By precinct or election district.


A.C.A. § 7-5-416

By precinct.


West's Ann. Cal. Elec. Code §15373
By precinct. 


Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1-7-601
By precinct.


Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-150a, §9-147a
By voting district.


15 Del. C. § 5510
By district.

District of Columbia

D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 3, § 808
By precinct.


West's F.S.A. § 101.68, §98.0981
By precinct.


O.C.G.A. § 21-2-386
By precinct.


HRS § 11-155
By district and precinct.


Idaho Code § 34-1007
By precinct.


10 ILCS 5/19-8
By precinct.


IC 3-11.5-7-1
By precinct.


Iowa Code § 53.20, 53.23
Each county establishes a special “absentee ballot and special voters precinct.” Results from the special precinct are reported separately. For general elections, results are also reported by the resident precinct of voters. For all other elections, absentee results may be reported as a single precinct.


K.S.A. § 25-1134, 25-3206
By precinct.


KRS § 117.275
By precinct.


LSA-R.S. 18:573
Absentee and early voting votes are reported separately from precinct totals.


21-A M.R.S.A. § 759, 760-A
By precinct, with military and overseas results counted centrally and reported separately.


MD Code, Election Law, § 11-302
By district, with absentee ballots reported separately.


M.G.L.A. 54 § 33H
By precinct.


MCLS §168.765 et seq.
By precinct.


M.S.A. §203B.121
In state primary and general elections, absentee vote totals are added to the returns for the appropriate precinct. For other elections, vote totals may be added to the precinct or reported as a separate total.


Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-603

By precinct.


V.A.M.S. 115.507
Absentee votes are reported separately, except where such reporting would disclose how any single voter cast his or her vote.


Mont. Code Anno. § 13-15-404
By precinct.


Neb. Rev. Stat. §32-1036
By precinct.


N.R.S. AB 321, §15
By precinct. The returns of mail ballots must be reported separately from the regular votes of the precinct, unless reporting the returns separately would violate the secrecy of a voter's ballot.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 659:73
Absentee ballots are reported separately, by precinct.

New Jersey

Not specified.

New Mexico

N.M.S.A. 1978, § 1-12-70

By precinct.

New York

McKinney's Election Law § 9-209
By election district.

North Carolina

N.C.G.S.A. § 163A-1315
By precinct, with absentee ballots reported separately.

North Dakota

NDCC 16.1-07-12.1
An absentee ballot precinct is established for counting all absentee ballots in the county.


Ohio Rev. Code § 3509.06
By precinct.


26 Okl. St. Ann. § 7-136
By precinct.


O.R.S. § 254.485
By precinct.


25 P.S. § 3146.8
By election district.
Puerto Rico Not specified.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-26
By election district.

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 7-15-420

An absentee voting precinct for counting all absentee ballots is established in each county.

South Dakota

SDCL § 12-19-37, ARSD 5:02:14:04

An absentee ballot precinct is established for counting all absentee ballots in each county, unless a paper ballot precinct has 10 or fewer absentee ballots cast at the time the polls open on Election Day, in which case absentee ballots in that precinct are counted at the polling place. Tally sheets include a space for results by precinct.


Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-6-304
By precinct.


V.T.C.A., Election Code §67.017

By precinct. The results report includes the number of voters that voted early in-person and absentee in each precinct.


U.C.A. § 20A-4-104
By precinct. Absentee votes are added to the official return of each voting precinct.


17 V.S.A. § 2588
By precinct.

Virgin Islands

18 V.I.C. § 667

By precinct.


VA Code Ann.

§ 24.2-712

A central absentee voter precinct for counting absentee ballots is established in each county or city.


West's RCWA


Counties must produce cumulative and precinct returns.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 3-3-8
By precinct. Absentee ballots are delivered to polling places to be counted.


W.S.A. 6.88, 7.52
By ward (similar to a precinct elsewhere).


W.S § 22-9-118, § 22-16-103
Absentee ballots are delivered to polling places for counting unless the county adopts an alternate procedure to count them centrally. The number of electors voting in person and by absentee ballot by precinct at the election is reported.