How do absentee and mail ballots work?

The specific rules for each state vary, but here are the general steps to voting by mail.

  1. Register to vote.
  2. Request a mail ballot from your election official.
  3. Receive a blank ballot in the mail from your local election official.
  4. Return the voted ballot on or before election day.

In some states there is a difference between "absentee" and "vote by mail" or "mail-in voting" but the VoteAmerica tool works for either one, regardless of your state.

Please note, the following jurisdictions will automatically send a vote-by-mail ballot to every registered voter ahead of the November 3, 2020 General Election: CA, CO, DC, HI, NV, NJ, OR, UT, VT, WA.

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