Table 18: States With All-Mail Elections

2/3/2022

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

In all-mail elections, all registered voters are sent a ballot in the mail. The voter marks the ballot, puts it in a secrecy envelope or sleeve and then into a separate mailing envelope, signs an affidavit on the exterior of the mailing envelope and returns the package via mail or by dropping it off.

Ballots are mailed out well ahead of Election Day, and thus voters have an “election period,” not just a single day, to vote. All-mail elections can be thought of as absentee voting for everyone. This system is also referred to as “vote by mail.”

  • Eight states—California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington—allow all elections to be conducted by mail.
  • Two states—Nebraska and North Dakota—permit counties to opt into conducting elections by mail.
  • Nine states—Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming—allow specific small elections to be conducted by mail.
  • Four states—Idaho, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico—permit all-mail elections for certain small jurisdictions.

The four tables below show which states allow which types of all-mail elections.

Table 18a: States That Conduct All Elections by Mail

State Statute Year Enacted Year Implemented Bill Number
California Cali. Elec Code § 3000.5 2021 2022 AB 37
Colorado CRS §1-5-401 2013 2014 HB 1303
Hawaii Hawaii Stat. §11-101 2019 2020 HB 1248
Nevada NRS §293 2021 2022 AB 321
Oregon ORS §254.465 1998 2000 Citizen initiative
Utah Utah Code Ann. §20A-3a-302 2012 (Counties permitted to choose.) 2019 (The first year all counties opted for all-mail elections.) HB 172
Vermont 17 VSA § 2537a
(General elections only.)
2021 2022 SB 15
Washington Rev. Code of Wash. 29A.40.010 2011 2012 HB 5124

Table 18b: States That Allow Counties to Choose to Conduct Elections by Mail

State Statute Details
Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. §32-960

Neb. Rev. Stat. §32-95

Any county of less than 10,000 inhabitants may apply to the secretary of state to mail ballots for all elections in lieu of establishing polling places. Certain ballot measure elections can also be conducted by mail.
North Dakota ND Cent. Code §16.1-11.1-01 et seq.

Counties may conduct any election by mail. Applications for mailed ballots are sent to each individual listed on the central voter file, and there must be one or more polling places in the county for voting in the usual manner.

Table 18c: States That Allow Certain Small Elections to Be Conducted by Mail

State Statute Details
Alaska Alaska Stat.§15.20.800 Elections that are not held on the same day as a general, party primary or municipal election may be conducted by mail.
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §16-409, §16-558 A city, town, school district or special district may conduct elections by mail.
Florida Fla. Stat. §101.6102 Referendum elections at the county, city, school district or special district level may be conducted by mail.
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §25-432 Nonpartisan elections at which no candidate is elected, retained or recalled and which is not held on the same date as another election may be conducted by mail.
Maryland Md. Election Code §9-501 Special elections not held concurrently with a regularly scheduled primary or general election may be conducted by mail.
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. §115.652 et seq.

Nonpartisan issue elections at which no candidate is elected, retained or recalled and in which all qualified voters of one political subdivision are the only voters eligible to vote may be conducted by mail.

Montana MCA 13-19-101 et seq.

Any election other than a regularly scheduled federal, state or county election; a special federal or state election, unless authorized by the legislature; or a regularly scheduled or special election when another election in the political subdivision is taking place at the polls on the same day may be conducted by mail.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. §1-24-3

N. M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-22.1
Special elections, except those to fill a vacancy in the office of U.S. Representative, shall be conducted by mail.
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. 22-29-115 Counties may decide to conduct special elections not held in conjunction with a primary, general or statewide special election entirely by mail.

Table 18d: States That Allow Elections in Certain Small Jurisdictions to Be Conducted by Mail

State Statute Details
Idaho Idaho Code §34-308

A precinct which contains no more than 140 registered electors at the last general election may be designated by the board of county commissioners a mail ballot precinct no later than April 1 in an even-numbered year.

Minnesota Minn. Stat. §204B.45 Elections conducted by a municipality having fewer than 400 registered voters on June 1 of an election year and not located in a metropolitan county may be conducted by mail.
New Jersey NJRS §19.62-1 A municipality with a population of 500 or fewer persons, according to the latest federal decennial census, may conduct all elections by mail.
New Mexico

N.M. Stat. §1-24-3

N. M. Stat. Ann. § 1-6-22.1
A county may designate a precinct as a mail ballot election precinct if it has fewer than 100 voters and the nearest polling place for an adjoining precinct is more than 20 miles driving distance from the precinct boundary in question.