How to Vote By Mail

Victoria Whalen, ACE Fellow


September 13, 2022

A short breakdown of absentee ballots

What is Absentee Voting?

Absentee voting (mail-in voting) is conducted by mail-in ballot before Election Day. Voting by mail allows you to vote safely from home instead of going to a polling place. As we continue to work through a global pandemic, voting by mail ensures the safety of voters and poll workers.

Additionally, absentee voting is a safe and secure system that allows more time and flexibility to cast your ballot.

Absentee Ballot Rules

Each state has its own guidelines and requirements when it comes to voting by mail. Below are some examples that vary by state:

  • Excuse: Voters in these states will need to provide a valid excuse for not voting on Election Day to vote by absentee ballot
  • No Excuse: Any voter in these states can vote by absentee ballot, even if they can vote in person on Election Day
  • Mail-in Only: Voters in these states only need to request an absentee ballot if they need their ballot mailed to a different address

How to Vote by Mail

  1. Make sure you are registered to vote and that your registration is up-to-date
  2. Request your mail-in ballot for your state by filling out an application form online. Note: some states have universal vote-by-mail, which will automatically send a ballot to your address
  3. You will receive the ballot, instructions, and a return envelope in the mail. Follow the instructions, insert and seal your ballot inside the return envelope
  4. Don’t forget to date and sign your name on the return envelope

Important Things to Remember

Each state has different deadlines when it comes to voting by mail, so make sure to check before submitting.

Always sign your return envelope. Your signature is required for the ballot to count!

Active duty military members, their families, and U.S. citizens living abroad also have the right to vote by sending absentee ballots. Be sure to check your state rules to see how to participate abroad.

Your Vote is Your Voice

In a democracy, your vote is your voice, and decisions are made by those who show up at the polls! The first step in ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard equally is getting as many people as possible registered to vote.

Register to vote today!

Victoria Whalen, ACE Fellow

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