Voting is an important part of being an American citizen that every eligible person should do their best to participate in. Of course, with the United States in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future, voting is easier said than done in the year 2020. Thankfully, most states offer methods for some or all of their residents to vote by mail.
We’ve compiled everything you need to know to understand how you can vote by mail in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) in the 2020 U.S. election. To the best of our ability, the information is accurate as of publishing time. But with less than three months to go until Election Day, voting laws are still in flux in states across the country; we strongly recommend verifying the details with your local board of elections or other relevant authorities. And if you see any details that appear to be incorrect or out of date, please alert us via email.
A state-by-state map of mail voting in the 2020 U.S. election
To get you started, we’ve put together a state-by-state map to illustrate the current status of the various mail voting laws that are in effect across the U.S. All states allow some form of voting by mail, but each one handles the process differently, and it’s not uncommon for states to restrict absentee voting to people who have a legitimate excuse. That’s in normal circumstances, though. During the coronavirus pandemic, many states have temporarily changed their laws to make it easier to vote by mail in the 2020 general election.
As of Sept. 16, 45 states and the District of Columbia will allow all registered voters to cast mail ballots this year — residents either won’t need to give an excuse for why they’re voting by mail rather than in person, or they’ll be able to cite the pandemic as an excuse. In many states, voters will have to fill out an application to request that a ballot be mailed to them (blue). But nine of the 45 states, plus D.C., will go a step further in facilitating absentee voting: They will send absentee ballots to every registered voter, no application required (purple). The remaining five states have not relaxed their existing restrictions on mail voting; people who live there will still have to vote in person unless they have one of the usual excuses, because the pandemic doesn’t count as one (red).
As we mentioned above, policies are still liable to change. For instance, it wasn’t until Sept. 16 that South Carolina amended its laws to make the pandemic an acceptable excuse for absentee voting. We’ll do our best to keep the map — and this article — updated with the latest.
Things everyone should know
When is Election Day 2020?
By law, Election Day in the U.S. falls on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In 2020, that day is Nov. 3.
Register to vote
Before we get started, it’s important to note that voting by mail in any state is only available to those who have registered to vote in that state. We have a whole guide on how to register to vote in every state, so check that out first and make sure you’re registered.
What’s the difference between absentee ballots and mail voting?
For all intents and purposes, there is no difference — certainly no legal distinction — between voting by mail and voting via an absentee ballot. This article uses the terms interchangeably, depending on each state’s individual language (except for Missouri, where there is a difference).
If this is your first time voting, you’ll likely need to include a copy of your ID with your completed ballot or application — probably a photo ID, to be specific. This is true in every state, but instructions included with your ballot or application will tell you more.
Read the envelope
Many envelopes for mail-in ballots require you to sign them or include extra information. Each state is different, but the envelopes should say directly on them what is required. Pay attention to those steps, follow their instructions, and provide the necessary information.
You’ll probably need to print something
The most common method of applying for a vote-by-mail ballot is to download a form, fill it out, print it, and then mail it. Because many people — especially younger people — don’t have printers, this can be a little tricky. Thankfully, there are a few places that can help. You can usually use your local library to print something short like a mail ballot application, or if you’re in high school or college, you can likely print through your school’s computer labs as well.
Send everything in as early as you possibly can
The United States Postal Service is currently facing a funding crisis. This has meant cutbacks and mail delays, on top of the difficulties caused by COVID-19 itself. Mail is now likely to arrive at its destination significantly later than it otherwise would. Because of these facts, it’s very important that any part of the mail-in voting process, whether it be the application or the ballot itself, be mailed as early as possible.
If you have any doubts about whether an item will be delivered on time, you can almost always hand-deliver it to the location you’re attempting to send it to, anyway. Most state election offices, or county and circuit clerks offices, will have drop boxes available, meaning that you won’t need to interact with anyone or break social distancing to make the delivery. Hand delivery, while obviously more difficult than mailing, will ensure that your ballot or application is received on time.
How to vote by mail in every state
Jump to your state:
- Alabama - District of Columbia
- Florida - Louisiana
- Maine - North Dakota
- Ohio - Utah
- Vermont - Wyoming
Residents can request absentee ballots by submitting an application to their county Absentee Election Manager either in person or through the mail. Each county has a unique application, which can be found here. Under the state of emergency general election absentee regulations, which were enacted earlier this year for the COVID-19 pandemic, residents should select the “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls” option on their absentee application for pandemic-related approval. Applications must be received no later than the fifth day prior to the election. The ballot itself must be postmarked no later than the day before the election, and received no later than noon on Election Day if mailed to the Absentee Election Manager. If it’s delivered in person, the deadline is no later than 5 p.m. on the day prior to the election.
Any resident may request a ballot by mail in Alaska for any reason. To do so, residents of the state can use the Online Absentee Ballot Application with a valid state ID, or complete the PDF, then print, sign, and mail it to the Absentee Office. Absentee applications in Alaska must be received 10 days before Election Day. Alaska residents who request a By-Mail Ballot will receive the ballot with a return envelope, and the ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
Arizona offers residents two ways to register for Ballot-By-Mail. You can either request one, or join the state’s Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL). To sign up for PEVL, you can either apply online, or submit a written request form. The deadline to join PEVL or request a Ballot-By-Mail is Oct. 23. If you’d like a one-time Ballot-By-Mail, you can request one online, call or email your county recorder, or submit a written request form. The deadline for one-time Ballot-By-Mail options is also Oct. 23. Completed ballots must be received by your county’s election officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day. If you’re returning your ballot by mail, Arizona recommends mailing it by Oct. 27 — one week before Election Day.
Residents of Arkansas can vote by mail in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has announced. While the governor mentioned in his speech on the subject that residents can apply for ballots online, it appears that is only true for those in military service. For everyone else, you’ll need to download the absentee ballot application and send it to your local county clerk, according to officials at the Arkansas Elections Division. Applications must be submitted by mail seven days before the election, and completed ballots must be delivered to the county clerk by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in executive order N-64-20, ordered that all California residents who are registered to vote be delivered a vote-by-mail ballot. The state will still hold in-person elections under strict guidelines, but all registered voters will receive a mail-in ballot. All mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day.
Colorado provides every registered voter with a mail ballot automatically. The state will still have in-person elections this year, but all voters will receive their mail ballots as usual. Ballots must be received by your local county clerk no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. You can either mail the ballot back to your local county clerk, or deliver it in person. If you’re a first-time voter, you’ll need to include a copy of your ID with your mail ballot.
In Connecticut, the current plan appears to be for Secretary of State Denise Merrill to mail absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state. However, voters can also request mail ballots under a no-excuse allowance in 2020, meaning that any registered voter who requests a ballot will be given one. Registered voters in Connecticut can use the absentee ballot request form on the Connecticut Secretary of State website, and simply check the COVID-19 box to receive their ballot by mail.
Delaware will allow voters to request absentee or Vote By Mail ballots. The state’s online form is the simplest method, but there are also two forms you can use to send in your application through the mail: a Vote By Mail application or an absentee ballot application. The Vote By Mail form doesn’t require a reason for the request. On the absentee ballot form, reason No. 3 (“I am sick, or temporarily or permanently physically disabled”) will be accepted in 2020 as an excuse to obtain an absentee ballot, on order of Gov. John Carney. Regardless of whether you’re using an absentee ballot or Vote By Mail, your ballot must arrive at your county elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
District of Columbia
For the 2020 general election, the D.C. Board of Elections is mailing a ballot to every active voter at their registered address, so you don’t need to request one. The district does not require residents to have a reason to vote by mail. The ballots must be postmarked before Election Day, and must arrive no later than seven days after the election.
Residents of Florida can request a vote-by-mail ballot for any reason (according to Florida statute 101.62). The ballots themselves must be requested through a voter’s local county Supervisor of Elections. Some supervisors have online applications; others only accept mail-in or in-person submissions. A supervisor must receive applications for vote-by-mail ballots no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th day before Election Day (Oct. 24). Voters must return completed ballots to their supervisor’s office by no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day; the state recommends ballots be mailed a week ahead of Election Day in order to meet this deadline.
Registered voters in Georgia are allowed to vote by mail without an excuse. They can request a ballot via the state’s online portal, or fill out the state’s Application for Official Absentee Ballot (PDF). Once this PDF is filled out, it must be returned to their county Board of Registrars Office either in person, by mail, by fax, or by email as an attachment. Applications must be submitted by the end of business on the Friday before Election Day (Oct. 30). Completed ballots must arrive at the local county election office by Election Day.
All registered voters in Hawaii automatically receive ballots to vote by mail. Once you’ve filled out your ballot, simply place it in the secrecy sleeve, then use the return envelope that was sent with the ballot. Sign and mail the envelope, which will already be addressed to the Clerk’s Office. All ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Registered Idaho voters can request an absentee ballot to vote by mail, no excuse needed, by using the Absentee Request Form and mailing it to their local county clerk’s office. Applications must be received by the county clerk’s office by the 11th day prior to Election Day (Oct. 23). Completed ballots must be received by the county clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Illinois voters may request a vote-by-mail ballot for any reason. The application must be printed, filled out, and mailed to your local county clerk’s office (the correct address will be at the bottom of your application) or other election authority in the jurisdiction in which you’re registered. Some jurisdictions have online applications. Applications must be received by Oct. 29. Ballots themselves must be returned to your local election authority by 7 p.m. on Election Day, or postmarked by Election Day.
Indiana voters can apply for an absentee-by-mail ballot, but must have a reason to vote by mail. Valid reasons include being away from the state, having a disability, being 65 or older, working, or being confined due to illness. However, voters will not be able to use COVID-19 as a reason to vote by mail. Voters can download and fill out the application, then send it to their local election authority by mail, in person, by email, or by filling out the online application using the state’s online portal. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 22. Ballots themselves must be received by no later than noon on Election Day.
Iowa residents can request a mail-in absentee ballot using an Absentee Ballot Request Form. The form must be filled out, then mailed or delivered in person to the resident’s local county auditor. The request must be received by the auditor’s office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 24. Completed ballots must be postmarked the Monday before Election Day (Nov. 2), and must be received by the auditor’s office no later than noon on the Monday after Election Day (Nov. 9).
Registered voters in Kansas can request absentee ballots in order to vote by mail. Applications for vote-by-mail ballots must be submitted to the local county election authority by Oct. 27. (The addresses for election offices throughout the state are on the ballot application.) Completed ballots must be postmarked on or by Election Day and received by the county election office by close of business on the Friday following Election Day (Nov. 6).
Kentucky will allow residents concerned about COVID-19 to vote by mail, as long as they have applied for an absentee ballot. Registered voters may request absentee ballots online. The deadline to request a ballot is 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 9. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by your local county clerk’s office by 6 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Louisiana voters can register for absentee ballots in order to vote by mail. Applications for absentee ballots can be found by searching for your voter registration on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website to complete the form online, or through your local parish’s registrar of voters; contact each registrar to find out the requirements. During the state’s primary, Louisiana put in place temporary legislation to let voters cite COVID-19 as a reason to vote absentee. However, this applied only to high-risk individuals, and has not been extended to the general election. Absentee ballot applications must be turned in by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 30, while completed ballots must be received by the registrar of voters by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Maine will allow all voters to request absentee ballots. They can do this by filling out a form online, or with a PDF form that can be filled out and delivered to the local municipal clerk or registrar of voters; the deadline to request a mail ballot is 5 p.m. on Oct. 29. All completed ballots must be returned to the local municipal clerk or the registrar of voters by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Maryland will mail applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters. In addition, any registered voter can request a mail ballot online, or by filling out a form (PDF) and mailing it to their local election office. Ballot requests must be received by Oct. 20. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 13.
Massachusetts is mailing applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters, and they can request ballots themselves for any reason. Registered voters just have to fill out the Vote-by-Mail Application then deliver it to their local election office by Oct. 28. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and must arrive at local election offices by Nov. 6.
Michigan is mailing applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters, and the state normally allows voters to request mail ballots for any reason. Registered voters can fill out the request form at michigan.gov/vote after checking their registration status. Voters must send the completed form to their local clerk — the address for which can be found on michigan.gov/vote — by no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. Completed ballots must be returned to the local clerk, along with a signature on the designated envelope, by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Registered voters in Minnesota can request mail-in ballots. Applications for mail-in ballots can be completed online or by downloading a PDF and sending it to your local county election official by mail, fax, or email. Minnesota does not currently have a hard deadline on applications, but it recommends that voters “leave time for election officials to mail your ballot.” As for the actual ballots, Minnesota has made several changes to its process this year. While the state normally requires a witness signature on ballots, that will not be necessary this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and must be received no later than Nov. 10.
Mississippi normally allows certain registered voters — specifically, those over 65 or with restrictive medical conditions — to apply to vote by mail. The state has made a minor change to account for the pandemic, but a general fear of COVID-19 still won’t count as a valid reason to vote by mail. The only accommodation is that any voter who is “under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 during the year 2020 or is caring for a dependent who is under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19” now qualifies to vote by mail. To apply for a vote-by-mail ballot, you’ll have to contact your local circuit or municipal clerk’s office. There’s no request deadline, but the completed ballots themselves must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 10.
Missouri normally allows residents to vote by absentee ballot, but only if they have a valid excuse. The state also requires that absentee voters get their ballots notarized. Due to the pandemic, Missouri changed its voting laws for 2020 to add a new category of valid excuse: Anybody who has contracted the coronavirus or is in an “at-risk category” for doing so is now eligible to vote by absentee ballot. In addition, those voters do not need to get their absentee ballots notarized.
Missouri also created a new voting option because of the pandemic that the state refers to as the “mail-in ballot.” This allows for all registered voters to cast a ballot by mail without an excuse — but all mail-in ballots must be notarized. (Hundreds of notaries across the state are offering to notarize ballots for free, as are KC Parks Community Centers for Kansas City residents.)
Missouri voters can download a form to request either type of mail ballot, then fill it out, print it, and send it to their local election authority. Mail ballot requests must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 21. Completed ballots must be returned to local election authorities by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is allowing individual counties to decide whether to conduct the election with mail voting as the default method, rather than in-person voting. Those counties are sending ballots to all registered voters. But any eligible voter can request an absentee ballot without an excuse by filling out an Application for Absentee Ballot and returning it to their local county election office. The application must be received by noon on the day before Election Day, but of course, you should allow enough time for the office to mail your ballot to you. Completed absentee ballots must be returned, in a signed envelope, to the county election office (or dropped off at a polling place), which must receive them by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Nebraska is mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. The state also allows registered voters to request mail ballots for any reason. Voters can download the early voting form on the Nebraska Secretary of State website, then send the completed form to their local county election officials. Voters can also scan and email the completed and signed form, or even take a picture of the signed form and email that instead. Applications must be submitted to election officials by Oct. 23. Completed mail ballots must be received by local election officials by 8 p.m. CST/7 p.m. MST on Election Day.
Nevada is one of the nine states that is mailing ballots to all eligible voters because of the pandemic. The state also allows all registered voters to request mail-in ballots by filling out the Absent Ballot Request Form. The completed form must be sent to the voter’s local County Clerk/Registrar of Voters — except in Clark County, where voters use a separate website. Requests must be received by no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 20. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than Nov. 10.
Registered voters in New Hampshire are required to have a valid reason for requesting an absentee ballot or vote-by-mail ballot — and in 2020, concerns over contracting or exposing others to COVID-19 are considered to be valid reasons. Voters must submit an absentee application to their local county clerk. There is no set deadline for submission of applications, but you should make sure your clerk receives it at least 14 days ahead of Election Day, as the approval process can take time. Completed ballots must be received by your local clerk by 5 p.m. on Election Day.
New Jersey is mailing ballots to all registered voters for the 2020 election, and it also allows them to request vote-by-mail ballots for any reason. Voters must fill out the proper mail-in-ballot application for their county, then return it to their county clerk by mail at least seven days prior to Election Day. Completed ballots must be postmarked (or dropped off in person) by Election Day and received by Nov. 10. Ballots without a postmark will be counted as long as they are received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 5 — though some specific counties may have different deadlines.
New Mexico voters may request an absentee ballot for any reason, and some counties are mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters. Registered voters can make this request by applying online, contacting their local county clerk’s office, or downloading an Absentee Ballot Application and mailing it to their county clerk. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, either by mail or online. Completed ballots must be returned to the local county clerk’s office or any polling place by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
New York allows voters to apply for vote-by-mail ballots, and while it requires an excuse to vote absentee, COVID is now a valid reason. The state changed its voting laws in August to redefine the “illness” excuse — it now covers instances in which “there is a risk of contracting or spreading a disease-causing illness to the voter or to other members of the public.”
New York City residents can request an absentee ballot online right now. New Yorkers outside the five boroughs can request a ballot via the online form on the state board of elections website; they can also fill out an absentee ballot application form, then print it and send to their local county board of elections no later than Oct. 27. (The state also allows residents to request mail ballots from their county board of elections via email, phone, or fax, or in person.) Completed ballots must be postmarked by the close of polls on Election Day and received no later than Nov. 10; ballots without a postmark will still be counted, as long as they’re received by Nov. 4.
All registered North Carolina voters may request vote-by-mail ballots for any reason. They can do so via the state’s online portal (which also allows for tracking absentee ballots), or by using an Absentee Ballot Request Form. The signed form must be returned to the local county board of elections (via mail, email, or fax, or in person) by 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. Any vote-by-mail ballot for the 2020 general election in North Carolina must be observed by one witness, instead of the usual two. (Information on who can be a witness is available on the board of elections’ website.) A completed and witnessed ballot must be received by the voter’s local county board of elections no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day. As long as ballots are postmarked on or before Nov. 3, they’ll be counted if they’re received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6. Ballots without a postmark must be received by Election Day to count.
North Dakota allows any resident to apply for a mail ballot; it’s the only state that does not have some form of voter registration. Residents can fill out the mail ballot application online, or use the paper form and return it to their local election officials. There’s no specific deadline for these requests, but you should allow enough time for the ballot to be sent to you. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by Nov. 9.
Ohio will send mail ballot applications to all registered voters this year. In addition, voters can request an absentee ballot using the request form. Voters must mail completed forms to their local county board of elections, where they must be received by noon on Oct. 31. Completed ballots should also be sent to the county board of elections, and must be received before the close of polls on Election Day. Ballots will still be counted if they’re postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by Nov. 13.
Depending on how voters fill out the ballot request, they will receive one of two different types of absentee ballots. The most common one comes in a packet with a yellow stripe, but voters who are physically incapacitated (or are caregivers for physically incapacitated people) will receive a ballot in a packet with a pink stripe. For the 2020 election, Oklahoma is also allowing voters to choose the “physically incapacitated” option on the absentee ballot request form for a variety of reasons related to contracting COVID-19.
Oklahoma normally requires absentee voters to get their ballots notarized (standard ballot) or signed by two witnesses (“physically incapacitated” ballot). The state has waived those requirements during the pandemic; instead, voters must submit a copy of a valid ID with their ballot. (The criteria for valid identification is available on the state election board website.) Completed ballots must be received by the county election board before 7 p.m. on Election Day.
All registered voters in Oregon received vote-by-mail ballots and simply need to complete them and mail them via the pre-addressed envelopes. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
All registered voters in Pennsylvania can request mail-in ballots either online or by mail, for any reason. Completed applications must be received by your local county election office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. Completed ballots must be received by local election offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Rhode Island typically has select criteria to determine who is allowed to vote by mail. However, due to the pandemic, the state is sending mail ballot applications to every registered voter ahead of the 2020 general election. In addition, anyone can request a mail ballot by selecting Option 4 in Box C on the state’s application.
Completed applications must be sent to the local board of canvassers by 4 p.m. on Oct. 13. Completed ballots must be inserted into the Voter’s Mail Ballot Certificate (small envelope) along with the voter’s printed name, a telephone number, signature, and either their state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security Number. Then the voter can place the Voter’s Mail Ballot Certificate into the larger postage-paid envelope, addressed to the Rhode Island Board of Elections.
All South Carolina voters can vote by mail in the 2020 general election — the state has waived restrictions because of the pandemic, so voters can choose the “State of Emergency” reason. Registered voters can request a mail-in ballot using the printable online application; if they don’t have a printer, they can call or email their local county voter registration office to request that a ballot be mailed to them.
Once the application has been filled out, it must be returned to the local county voter registration office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 24. The application may be returned by mail, email, fax, or personal delivery. Completed ballots — which need to be signed by a witness — can be delivered in person or by mail to the county voter registration office or extension office; the deadline is 7 p.m. on Election Day. (Note that courts have been going back and forth over the witness signature requirement, so if you’re a South Carolina voter, double-check the policy before submitting your ballot.)
South Dakota voters can request mail-in ballots using the state Absentee Ballot Application Form. These applications will need to be sent to a voter’s local county auditor by 5 p.m. on the day before Election Day. All applications must be notarized or must include a photocopy of an acceptable photo ID. If a voter cannot photocopy their ID, they can take a photo of it and email it to their local county auditor. Completed ballots must be delivered to the local County Election Official on Election Day with enough time for them to deliver it to the relevant local precinct — so try to return ballots as early as possible.
Registered voters in Tennessee may request mail-in ballots for a variety of reasons, but they must provide some reason. The pandemic does not qualify, except for “voters who have an illness, physical disability or other underlying health condition that makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” or being the caretaker of someone who is. (The state relies on the CDC’s definition of at-risk groups.) Voters who qualify based on these guidelines do not need to submit a doctor’s note. They can fill out the Tennessee Absentee Ballot Request Form and return it to their local election commission via mail, fax, or email by Oct. 27. Completed ballots must be received no later than the close of polls on Election Day — note that the specific time varies depending on the county.
The Texas Supreme Court has forbidden voters from using COVID-19 as a reason to vote by mail. Technically, registered Texas voters can select the disabilities option if they feel they are at particular risk of contracting a dangerous case of COVID-19, but even that isn’t expressly allowed, or considered acceptable on its own as a reason to vote by mail. Any Texas voter who meets the state’s strict requirements can apply to vote by mail using an Application for Ballot by Mail — either by printing a form or requesting that one be mailed to you. The completed form must be mailed to the county clerk or election administrator in each specific county. Applications must be received by Oct. 23. Completed ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, although they will be counted as long as they’re postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and arrive by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4.
All registered voters in Utah receive ballots in the mail automatically. Simply complete your ballot, then make sure that it is postmarked the day before Election Day.
Due to the pandemic, Vermont has mailed ballots for the 2020 general election to all registered voters. Voters may also request ballots online or by mailing in a printed form that can be sent to their local town clerk. All requests must be made by 5 p.m. on the day before Election Day. Voters can return completed ballots in their specific, signed envelope; the deadline is 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Virginia allows registered voters to request mail-in ballots for any reason. Voters can register using an online form or a printable PDF form that can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to a local registrar’s office by 5 p.m. on Oct. 23. Completed ballots must be delivered to your local registrar’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Registered voters in Washington are automatically sent vote-by-mail ballots. Voters must sign the ballot’s return envelope. Completed ballots can be mailed back — they must be postmarked no later than Election Day — or returned in person to a drop box (all drop boxes are open until 8 p.m. on Election Day). As long as ballots are postmarked on or before Nov. 3, they will be counted if received by Nov. 23.
West Virginia generally only allows certain registered voters to apply for vote-by-mail ballots. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any voter can request a ballot by selecting the “Illness, injury or other medical reason which keeps me confined (includes concerns of COVID-19)” option on the application. Registered West Virginia voters can fill out the West Virginia Absentee Ballot Application and send it to their local County Clerk. Applications must be received by the local County Clerk by Oct. 28. If mailed back, completed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 9. If returned in person, ballots must be dropped off by Nov. 2. Ballots that are not postmarked will be counted as long as they are received by Nov. 4.
Any Wisconsin voter can request a by-mail ballot for any reason, and the state mailed absentee ballot applications to all registered voters who hadn’t already requested one. Voters can also fill out the Application for Absentee Ballot and mail it to their local municipal clerk’s office, or use the online portal to request a mail ballot. Applications must be sent with a copy of photo ID, and must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29. Completed ballots, which must be signed by a witness, must be received by your local county clerk or polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Wyoming already sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. In addition, any registered voter in Wyoming may request a mail ballot. To request a vote-by-mail ballot in Wyoming, you can fill out the online form and send it to your local county clerk. Completed ballots must be received by the county clerk by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Polygon is part of Vox Media. Find more coverage of the 2020 election across its other 13 networks: how to vote, in-depth analysis, and how policies will affect you, your state, and the country over the next four years and beyond.
Update (Sept. 22): We’ve updated this article, including the map, with the latest details about absentee voting in South Carolina and Oklahoma.
Update (Sept. 24): We’ve updated this article to note that South Carolina must reinstate its witness signature requirement for absentee ballots, per a new federal court ruling.
Update (Sept. 30): We’ve updated this article to note that the latest federal court ruling regarding South Carolina absentee ballots has once again eliminated the state’s witness signature requirement. We’ve also updated the details of the application process for absentee ballots in Georgia.
Update (Oct. 5): Mail ballots in South Carolina must be signed by witnesses, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning lower courts’ decisions.