VOPP: Table 2: Excuses to Vote Absentee

4/20/2020

This resource is intended to reflect permanent state law. Many states have made changes to election policies that will only be in effect for the 2020 election. Please see Absentee and Mail Voting Policies in Effect for the 2020 Election for more information.

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.

All states, by federal law, are required to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters for federal elections. See the 1986 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

Aside from military and overseas voters, some states have “no-excuse absentee” voting, which means any voter can request a mail ballot without providing an excuse, and a few send all voters ballots by mail. Sixteen states only permit certain voters to request an absentee ballot by mail, based on an “excuse” of why that voter can’t make it to the polls on Election Day.

All states permit voters who will be outside of their home county to vote absentee, as well as voters with an illness or disability who know ahead of time that they won’t be able to make it to the polls. Many other states allow elderly voters to vote absentee or allow voters to request an absentee ballot in case of an emergency—such as an unforeseen illness, confinement to a medical facility or an accident resulting in injury.

The table below summarizes and compares other acceptable excuses in the states that require one.

Note: This table is meant to summarize the acceptable excuses for states that require an excuse to vote absentee. Since it is comparative, it is not necessarily comprehensive of all excuses in a given state. Visit state election webpages for additional information on each state’s requirements.

*ACP stands for Address Confidentiality Program, which protects the information of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Learn more about Address Confidentiality Programs here.

State Out of County on Election Day Illness or Disability Persons Over a Certain Age Work Shift is During all Voting Hours Student Living Outside of County  Election Worker or Poll Worker Religious Belief or Practice ACP* Participant Incarcerated (but Still Qualified to Vote) Jurors

Alabama

Ala. Code § 17-11-3
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Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 7-5-402

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Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 9-135
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Delaware

15 Del. Code §5502
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Indiana

Ind. Code §3-11-10-24
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65-plus
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Kentucky

Ken. Rev. Stat.

§117.085(1)(a), §117.077
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65-plus
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Louisiana

LSA-R.S. 18:1303
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65-plus
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Massachusetts

M.G.L.A. 54 § 86
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Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-715

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65-plus              

Missouri

V.A.M.S. 115.277
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New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 657:1
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New York

§ 8-400
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South Carolina

§ 7-15-320

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65-plus
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Tennessee

T. C. A. § 2-6-201
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60-plus
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Texas

V.T.C.A., Election Code § 82.001 et seq.

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65-plus        
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West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 3-3-1
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"Advanced Age"
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