Absentee Voting Rules
No excuse is needed to vote by mail in California.
California counties that have decided to adopt the California Voter’s Choice Act use a vote-by-mail system for all elections, meaning that every registered receives a ballot in the mail 28 days before Election Day. As of 2020, these counties are: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Tuolumne.
Colorado uses a vote-by-mail system for all elections, meaning that every active voter registered in advance receives a mail ballot. If you are an inactive voter, the county has sent a ballot to your address and it bounced back because you no longer live at that location. To correct this you have to go online or to the county’s office to input your new address. The ballot will be sent to the mailing address you provided for your voter registration file. If you prefer to vote at the polls, you can vote in-person at a voter service and polling center.
District of Columbia
As of 2020, Hawaii uses a vote by mail system for all elections, meaning that all registered voters will automatically receive ballots in the mail. If you prefer to vote in person, you can visit a voter service center.
Certain counties in North Dakota are vote-by-mail, in which case a blank ballot is automatically sent to voters 40-50 days before the election. In counties that are not vote-by-mail, you must apply for an absentee ballot. No excuse is needed to vote absentee in North Dakota.
In Pennsylvania, you have two options for mail ballots. You may either choose a mail-in ballot or an absentee ballot to request, complete, and return to your county election office.
- Absentee ballot – If you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you should request this ballot type, which still requires you to list a reason for your ballot.
- Mail-in ballot – If you aren’t an absentee voter, you may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason.
Washington uses a vote-by-mail system for all elections, meaning all registered voters will automatically receive a ballot in the mail at least 18 days before each election. If you prefer to vote in person, each county opens a voting center prior to each primary, special election, and general election.