How to vote early, safely and by mail in all 50 states

If you want to vote early because you’re worried about the health risks of standing in line on Election Day, but you’re also worried that the U.S. Postal Service won’t deliver a mail-in ballot in time to be counted, what should you do? 

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy attempted to reassure Americans Tuesday about the USPS, announcing that he is not going to make any changes before the election that might hamper or slow mail delivery. But he has come under intense scrutiny for his political donations to President Trump, his announced changes to mail delivery and Postal Service leadership, and his potential financial conflicts of interest inside the mail and package delivery industry

In addition, the Postal Service board of governors is stacked with Republican loyalists and is chaired by a longtime Republican political operative, Mike Duncan. 

Trump himself made comments last week indicating a willingness to starve the USPS of funding in order to make it harder to vote by mail. He has since indicated he may sign a COVID-19 relief package that includes funding for the USPS. But the president’s comments have prompted both the Senate and House to call DeJoy up to Capitol Hill to explain himself amid reports that mail delivery is already slowing in some places, and that the USPS is warning states it will not be able to deliver all mail ballots in time to be counted. At least 20 Democratic attorneys general have also launched lawsuits against the USPS this week.

So what can you do?

You can request a mail ballot that comes to you through the USPS, and if you request it early enough, there shouldn’t be a problem receiving it well ahead of Election Day, which this year falls on Nov. 3. And then most states have options for voting and turning in that ballot that allows you to bypass the USPS. You can turn in the ballot in person at county or town offices or at drop box locations in most states.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of what the law says you can do to turn in a mail-in/absentee ballot, along with the deadline for your state to register to vote. There are links to where you can register, where you can request a mail/absentee ballot, and as much information as we could find to date on early voting and drop boxes. 

Legal references were provided by the Voting Rights Lab

There’s also information about whether you can give your mail ballot to another person and have them deliver it for you. The law varies a lot from state to state, and there are criminal penalties in some states for running afoul of the law, even unintentionally. So take care to read the legal instructions, which were provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures, and be clear about what is allowed and what is not.

ALABAMA

Ballots can be returned by mail or in-person by the voter. – Ala. Code § 17-11-18(a)

ALASKA 

“A ballot can be returned by mail, electronically, or dropped off at the office of the election supervisor or at an absentee voting station. The statutes are generally silent about dropping the ballot off, but they note a ballot is not timely if it is received after the election by any means other than mail. A special needs absentee ballot may be delivered by hand to the election official by the voter or the voter’s representative.” – Alaska Stat. § 15.20.081(d), (e); Alaska Stat. § 15.20.045; Alaska Stat. § 15.20.061; Alaska Stat. § 15.20.072(e)

  • Election supervisor office locations are here: https://www.elections.alaska.gov/Core/contactusandsitemap.php

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 4. Register here: https://voterregistration.alaska.gov/

  • Alaska has mailed mail/absentee ballots to all voters over 65. You can request a mail/absentee ballot here: https://absenteeballotapplication.alaska.gov/

  • Early voting is Oct. 19 to Nov. 2 in most counties. Mail/absentee ballots must be signed by a witness or a notary.

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “A friend, relative or associate may transfer the absentee ballot to the U.S. Postal Service or a private commercial delivery service for delivery to the division of elections. For those unable to vote in person because of age, illness or disability, a personal representative may pick up, assist in marking and return an absentee ballot.” – NCSL

ARIZONA

“A voter may return the ballot by mail, drop it off at any polling place in the county, or bring it to the officer in charge of the election in the voter’s jurisdiction.”- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-548(A)

ARKANSAS 

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail. The voter may, either personally or through a third party, return the ballot to the office of the county clerk.” – Ark. Code § 7-5-411

CALIFORNIA 

“Ballots may be hand delivered to the elections official who issued it, or to a polling place on Election Day or to mail ballot drop off location, if any exist. Any polling place or drop off location works; the voter need not return the ballot within the voter’s county. In a mail ballot election, the ballots may be returned to vote centers, drop off locations, or by mail to the clerk’s office.” – Cal. Elec. Code § 3017(a); Cal. Elec. Code § 3025(b); Cal. Code Regs. tit. 2, § 20133; Cal. Elec. Code § 4005; Cal. Elec. Code § 4007

COLORADO

“Voters can mail their ballots, put them in a drop box, bring them to a voter service and polling center, or return them to the office of the county clerk and recorder or the office of the designated election official.” – Colo. Rev. Stat. §1-7.5-107(4)(b)(I)(A)

  • County clerks locations are here: https://www.clerkandrecorder.org/allcounties

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 26 online. Register here: https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter/pages/pub/olvr/verifyNewVoter.xhtml You can also register at a voter center up through election day on Nov. 3. 

  • Colorado is mailing a ballot to all registered voters. 

  • Early voting at vote centers is Oct. 19-23, Oct. 26-31 and Nov. 2 in all counties, with expanded dates in some other counties. Check your county for details on dates and locations. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Any person of the elector’s own choice or any duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official may be designated to mail or deliver a mail ballot … No person other than a duly authorized agent of the county clerk and recorder or designated election official may receive more than 10 mail ballots in any election for mailing or delivery.” – NCSL

CONNECTICUT

“A ballot may be mailed by the voter, a designee of an ill or physically disabled voter, or an immediate family member of an applicant who is a student. It also may be returned in person by the voter or the voter’s immediate family member at the clerk’s office. Finally, the designee of an ill or physically disabled voter may return a ballot in person to the clerk on the voter’s behalf.” – Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-140b(a) 

  • County clerk locations are here: http://www.county-clerk.net/county.asp?state=Connecticut

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 27 online. Register here: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do. You can also register in person up through Election Day on Nov. 3. 

  • You can request a mail/absentee ballot but it is not yet available online. Visit your county clerk to do so in person, or mail them a letter. 

  • No early voting, but you may still turn in your absentee/mail-in ballot at a clerk’s office ahead of election day. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “An absentee ballot may be returned by a voter’s “designee,” which includes a person who is caring for the applicant because of the applicant’s illness or physical disability, including but not limited to, a licensed physician or a registered or practical nurse; a member of the applicant’s family; or if no such person consents or is available, then a police officer, registrar of voters, deputy registrar of voters or assistant registrar of voters in the municipality in which the applicant resides.” – NCSL

DELAWARE

“Voters can return their ballot by mailing the ballot, delivering the ballot, or causing it to be delivered to the Department before the polls close on Election Day.” – Del. Code tit. 15, § 5507(4)

  • State and county office locations here: https://elections.delaware.gov/locations.shtml

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 10. Register here: https://ivote.de.gov/VoterView

  • Delaware is sending mail/absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. You can also request one here: https://ivote.de.gov/VoterView

  • No early voting, but you may still turn in your absentee/mail-in ballot at a county election the state election office ahead of election day. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Absentee voters must return their ballots by U.S. mail, by delivering it, or “causing it to be delivered” prior to the close of polls on Election Day. There is no explicit provision for an agent or designee to return an absentee ballot on behalf of a voter.” – NCSL

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

“Voters may return an absentee ballot by mail, in person at a voting place, or by delivery to the Board of Elections office.” – D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 3, § 720.12

  • DC Board of Elections, 1015 Half Street, SE, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20003 – (202) 727-2525

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 13 online and by mail. Register here: https://www.dcboe.org/dcboe/media/PDFFiles/Voter-Registration-Form-FINAL_2.pdf You can also register in person through Election Day on Nov 3. 

  • D.C. is mailing a ballot to all registered voters. 

  • Early voting is Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. Details on locations are expected here: https://earlyvoting.dcboe.org/

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “A registered voter may apply for and return an emergency ballot through an authorized agent if the voter is unexpectedly unable to be present at the polls due to an illness or accident or the voter is serving on a sequestered jury on Election Day.” – NCSL

FLORIDA 

“Voters may return their ballot by mail. Alternatively, they may deliver it or have it delivered to any one of the secure drop boxes available at the main office of the supervisor, each branch office of the supervisor, and each early voting site. Drop boxes also may be placed at any site that is eligible to be designated as an early voting site, such as City Hall, a public library, or a civic center, if the site is staffed during the county’s early voting hours of operation by an employee of the supervisor’s office or a sworn law enforcement officer. For voters in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, “supervised voting” may be carried out on-site at the request of the institution or on the supervisor of elections’ own initiative. In such cases, the voter may return the voted ballot to the supervised voting team, which delivers the ballots to the supervisor of elections, or retain the ballot and return it on their own.” – Fla. Stat. § 101.69(2); Fla. Stat. § 101.65(9); Fla. Stat. § 101.655(1), (2), (6), (8)

  • County supervisor office locations are here: https://dos.myflorida.com/media/703373/county-contact-labels-20200805.pdf

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. Register here: https://registertovoteflorida.gov/home

  • “Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole counties are mailing absentee-ballot applications to all voters; you can also apply for an absentee ballot online on your county’s website,” according to FiveThirtyEight.com. Find your county’s website here and apply by Oct. 24 online: https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/supervisors/

  • The mandatory early voting periods for 2020 are Oct. 24 – 31. Each county Supervisor of Elections may offer more days of early voting from one or more of the following days: Oct. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and Nov. 1. Check with your county Supervisor of Elections for the additional days of early voting that may be offered in your county.

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Any elector applying to cast a vote by mail ballot in the office of the supervisor, in any election, who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may request the assistance of some person of his or her own choice, other than the elector’s employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union, in casting his or her vote-by-mail ballot.” – NCSL

GEORGIA

“Ballots may be delivered by mail or in person.” – Ga. Code § 21-2-385(a)

HAWAII 

“Like all vote-by-mail ballots, those received at a temporarily different address may be mailed or dropped off, either to the relevant county clerk at the clerk’s office, at a voter service center, and if provided, at ballot place of deposit.” – Haw. Rev. Stat. § 11-104(c); Haw. Rev. Stat. § 15-9(a)

IDAHO

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail. The voter may return the ballot in person to the office of the county clerk. The county clerk must provide at least one “absent electors’ polling place” in each county at which voters may mark and return the ballot.” – Idaho Code § 34-1005; Idaho Code § 34-1006

ILLINOIS

“Ballots may be returned by mail, in person by the voter or a person authorized by the voter, or by a licensed delivery service.” – 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/19-6

INDIANA

“Ballots may be returned to county election board by mail or in person. Voters who are absentee because of illness or injury or who are caring for a confined person at a private residence within the county and voters with disabilities whose precinct is inaccessible may request the absentee voter board to visit the voter’s place of confinement.” – Ind. Code § 3-11-10-24; Ind. Code § 3-11-10-25

IOWA

“Voters may return an absentee ballot by mail or in person to the commissioner’s office. The commissioner will also send teams to licensed health care facilities to collect ballots for confined voters.” – Iowa Code § 53.17; Iowa Code § 53.9; Iowa Code § 53.22

KANSAS

“The ballot may be mailed or delivered to the county elections officer. The voter may use a properly designated agent to return their ballot. Special provisions can be made for people confined to nursing homes and similar facilities to facilitate their receiving and casting advance ballots.” – Kan. Stat. § 25-1124(a), (d); Kan. Stat. § 25-1128(g); Kan. Stat. § 25-2812

  • County elections office locations here: https://sos.ks.gov/elections/county_election_officers_all.aspx

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 13. Register here: https://www.kdor.ks.gov/apps/voterreg/default.aspx

  • You can request a mail/absentee ballot (referred to in Kansas as an “advance ballot) by Oct. 27 here: https://www.kssos.org/forms/elections/AV1.pdf

  • Early voting is Oct. 27-30 and Nov. 2 in all counties and some counties may offer expanded dates from Oct. 14-26 and Oct. 31. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Upon written designation by the voter, a person other than the voter may return an absentee ballot. Any such person designated by the voter shall sign a statement that such person has not exercised undue influence on the voting decisions of the voter and agrees to deliver the ballot as directed by the voter.” – NCSL

KENTUCKY 

“Kentucky voters may return absentee ballots by mail to the county clerk’s office. In-person absentee voting is conducted in the county clerk’s office or other place designated by the county board of elections during normal business hours for at least the 12 working days before Election Day. In-person absentee voting may be conducted earlier at the discretion of the county board of elections.” – Ky. Rev. Stat. § 117.086(1); Ky. Rev. Stat. § 117.085(1)(c); _Absentee Voting FAQs_, Commonwealth of Kentucky State Board of Elections, 

  • County clerk locations here: https://elect.ky.gov/About-Us/Pages/County-Clerks.aspx

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. Register here: https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/

  • You can request a mail/absentee ballot by Oct. 27, but it is not yet available online.

  • Early voting is Oct. 13-17, Oct. 19-24, Oct. 26-31 and Nov. 2 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Any person assisting another in voting by use of absentee ballot shall complete a voter assistance form. ” – NCSL

LOUISIANA 

“Voters can return their ballot by mail, a commercial courier, or hand delivery. If hand delivered by someone other than the voter, that person must sign a statement certifying that they have the authorization and consent of the voter. No person other than a voter’s immediate family member may hand deliver more than one marked ballot to the registrar. Voters who feel they will not have time to vote by mail may request and return their ballot via fax, provided they sign a waiver of the right to a secret ballot. Hospitalized voters who request electronic delivery of a ballot or who have a family member pick up the ballot may return it by fax (upon signing a waiver) or any of the above methods. Voters with disabilities who request electronic delivery of a ballot may return it by fax (upon signing a waiver) or any of the above methods. The officer of the court in charge of the jury will deliver the ballots of sequestered jurors to the county registrar. Participants in the nursing home early voting program will deposit their voted absentee by mail ballots into a locked box in the possession of the election official who conducts early voting at the facility, unless the registrar opts to conduct nursing home early voting using the general early voting machines and equipment.” – La. Rev. Stat. § 18:1308(A)(1)(b)-(d), (B); La. Rev. Stat. § 18:1307.2(4); La. Rev. Stat. § 18:1308.1(B); La. Rev. Stat. § 18:1333(G)(5), (H)

MAINE 

“Ballots may be returned by mail or in person. Absentee ballots may also be cast by residents of licensed residential care facilities at the time designated by the municipal clerk.” – Me. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 754-A; Me. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 753-B(5)

  • You don’t need to receive an absentee ballot through the mail. “Absentee ballots are available at least 30 days before the election at the municipal clerk’s office.” Municipal clerk locations here: https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 13 by mail or online. Register here: https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/pdf/voterregcard20.pdf You can also register in person through Election Day on Nov. 3. 

  • You can request an absentee/mail ballot by Oct. 29 here: https://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl

  • You can vote early at your municipal clerk’s office 30 days before the election until the Thursday before the election. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Absentee ballot return by a third person is permitted as long as the third person is not a candidate or a member of a candidate’s immediate family … An absentee ballot may not be issued to a third person who has already been issued five absentee ballots for voters in the municipality until the third person has returned one of those ballots.” – NCSL

MARYLAND 

“Voters may return a completed ballot by mail, or by delivering it or having it delivered to an early voting site, a polling place, or the local board of elections office.” – Md. Code Regs. 33.11.03.06(E); Md. Code Regs. 33.11.03.08(B)

MASSACHUSETTS

“A voter or family members can return ballots in person to their town clerk or by mail.” – Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 91B; Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 92

MICHIGAN 

“A voter may return a completed ballot by mail or by using another public postal service, express mail service, parcel post service, or common carrier. The voter also may hand deliver the ballot to the clerk’s office. Additionally, a household member or an immediate family member (including a father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild) may mail or deliver the ballot for the voter. If a voter is unable return the ballot by mail or in person, they may request that the clerk arrange to collect the ballot from within the jurisdiction. The request must be made by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election.” Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.764a

MINNESOTA 

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail. The voter may, either personally or through a third party, return the ballot to the office of the county auditor or other election authority. The election official may appoint election judges to travel to/from a health care facility or hospital to deliver/return absentee ballots.” – Minn. Stat. § 203B.08; Minn. Stat. § 203B.11

MISSISSIPPI 

“Voters may return ballots by mail.” – Miss. Code § 23-15-637

MISSOURI

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail, in person, or through a relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to the office of the election authority.” – Mo. Rev. Stat. § 115.291(2)

MONTANA 

“Voters or their authorized designees may return ballots by mail or by in-person delivery to the election office, a polling place in the voter’s county, or in the case of emergency absentee voting, to the absentee election board or authorized election official.” – Mont. Code § 13-13-201(2)(e)

NEBRASKA

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail. The voter may, either personally or through a third party, return the ballot to the office of the county clerk or election commissioner. Election officials may train registered voters to act on official’s behalf in administering early voting ballots to residents of nursing homes or hospitals that have requested ballots.” – Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-943; Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-944; Neb. Rev. Stat. § 32-947(3)

NEVADA

“A voter may return ballots by mail or the ballot can be delivered to the county clerk.” – Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.317

NEW HAMPSHIRE

“The ballot may be personally delivered or mailed to the town clerk’s office by the voter or their delivery agent.” – N.H. Rev. Stat. § 657:17

NEW JERSEY 

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail. The voter may, either personally or through a third party, return the ballot to the county board of elections.” – N.J. Stat. § 19:63-18

  • County election officials are here: https://nj.gov/state/elections/county-eo.shtml

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 13. Register here: https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml

  • New Jersey is sending a ballot to all voters. 

  • You can vote early by turning in your mail/absentee ballot at a county elections office beginning 45 days before Election Day and ending at 3 p.m. the day before. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “An authorized messenger may return the ballot. The bearer certifies that he or she received a mail-in ballot directly from the voter, and no other person, and is authorized to deliver the ballot to the appropriate board of election or designee on behalf of the voter … No person shall serve as an authorized messenger for more than three qualified voters in an election. No person who is a candidate in the election for which the voter requests a mail-in ballot shall be permitted to serve as an authorized messenger or bearer.” – NCSL

NEW MEXICO 

“The voter can return the ballot by mail or commercial delivery service, or the voter can return the voted ballot to the county clerk’s office or to any polling location in the county in which the voter is registered, including any alternate voting location or mobile alternate voting location established for early voting. To return the ballot at a voting location, the voter must present the official mailing envelope to the presiding judge before the polls close on Election Day. If the clerk establishes secured containers for the deposit of mailed ballots, the voter may use that option as well. A voter’s ballot can be returned to the county clerk by an immediate family member (spouse, parent, child, or sibling) or a caregiver. However, all secured containers for ballot return are required to include signage warning voters that only an immediate family member may return a ballot for another voter.” – N.M. Stat. § 1-6-9; N.M. Stat. § 1-12-8.2(A); N.M. Stat. § 1-6-10.1

NEW YORK

“Voters may return ballots by mail or in person to the county board of elections.” – N.Y. Elec. Code § 8-410

NORTH CAROLINA

“Voters may return ballots by mail or commercial courier service, or they may deliver them in person to the county board of elections or to a site for one-stop, in-person absentee voting. A near relative (spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild.) or legal guardian may also deliver a ballot on a voter’s behalf.” – N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163-231(b); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 163-226(f)

NORTH DAKOTA

“Voters may return ballots by mail or in person to the appropriate election officer’s office. Ballots returned in person must be returned by 5 p.m. the day before Election Day.” – N.D. Cent. Code § 16.1-07-09

  • County election officials are listed here: https://vip.sos.nd.gov/CountyAuditors.aspx?ptlhPKID=34&ptlPKID=5

  • North Dakota does not have voter registration. 

  • Apply for absentee/mail ballot: https://vip.sos.nd.gov/absentee/Default.aspx

  • ID requirements are here: https://vip.sos.nd.gov/civics101.aspx?ptlhPKID=126&ptlPKID=7

  • Early voting is “at least 15 days before the election” but ” varies by county” and ends the day before the Nov. 3 election. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “An absentee voter may designate an agent. The agent may not, at that time, be a candidate for any office to be voted upon by the absent voter. The agent must provide a signed, written authorization from an applicant … No person may receive compensation, including money, goods or services, for acting as an agent for an elector, nor may a person act as an agent for more than four electors in any one election.” – NCSL

OHIO

“Voters may return ballots by mail or in person to the county board of elections. Ohio also has special procedures for delivering and returning ballots of disabled and confined voters.” – Ohio Rev. Code § 3509.05(A); Ohio Rev. Code § 3509.08

OKLAHOMA

“Voters may return ballots by mail, by private mail service, or in person to the county election board office. Voters in nursing homes or veterans facilities in the county may return their ballots on site to absentee voting board officials. Voters who apply to vote absentee under the special provisions applicable to incapacitated voters and their caregivers must return their ballots by mail or a private mail service.” – Okla. Stat. tit. 26, § 14-108(A); Okla. Stat. tit. 26, § 14-115; Okla. Stat. tit. 26, § 14-110.1; Okla. Stat. tit. 26, § 14-113.2; Okla. Admin. Code § 230:30-11-1(c)

  • County election board locations are here: https://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/CEB_Physical%20Addresses_08072020.pdf

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9. Register here: http://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Register_to_Vote/index.html

  • Apply for an absentee ballot here: https://www.ok.gov/elections/OVP.html

  • Early voting begins five days before the Nov. 3 election and ends at 2 p.m. three days before the election. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “A voter’s spouse is excepted from ballot harvesting laws and is permitted to return an absentee ballot on behalf of a voter … Any voter who hand delivers his or her ballot as provided in subsection A of this section shall provide proof of identity to the county election board. A notary public must witness the absentee voter signing the absentee ballot return envelope. Notaries may not notarize more than 20 absentee ballot affidavits without the written approval of the election board.” – NCSL

OREGON

“The voter may return a completed ballot by mail. The voter may, either personally or through a third party, return the ballot to the office of the county clerk, a place of deposit, a ballot-marking component, or a voting booth (if one provided).” – Or. Rev. Stat. § 253.070; Or. Rev. Stat. § 254.470(6)(b), (d)

PENNSYLVANIA

“An absentee or mail-in voter may return their ballot by mail or deliver it in person to the county board of election. An authorized representative may return an emergency absentee ballot on a voter’s behalf.” – 25 Pa. Stat. § 3146.6(a); 25 Pa. Stat. § 3150.16(a); 25 Pa. Stat. § 3146.2a(a.3)(4)

RHODE ISLAND

“The statute states only that voters must “cause the [ballot] to be delivered” to the state board of elections. The Secretary of State’s website indicates that absentee ballots may be returned by mail or hand delivery to the state board of elections.” – R.I. Gen. Laws § 17-20-23 

SOUTH CAROLINA

“Voters may return ballots in person or by mail.” – S.C. Code § 7-15-230

SOUTH DAKOTA 

“Voters may return ballots by mail, or by delivering or having the ballot delivered to their county election official. A special procedure can be offered to residents of nursing homes.” – S.D. Codified Laws § 12-19-7; S.D. Codified Laws § 12-19-9.1

TENNESSEE

“Voters must return absentee ballots by mail.” – Tenn. Code § 2-6-202(e)

TEXAS

“A voter may return an absentee ballot by mail or by common or contract carrier. A voter also may return an absentee ballot in person to the early voting clerk’s office, but only while the polls are open on Election Day. A voter who delivers a marked ballot in person must present an acceptable form of ID.” – Tex. Elec. Code § 86.006(a), (a-1)

  • County election offices are here: https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/county.shtml

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. Register here: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp

  • Early voting at county administrator offices, varying by county, is from Oct. 13-Oct. 30. 

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “A person possessing an envelope of another voter does not commit an offense if that person is related to the voter within the second degree by affinity or the third degree by consanguinity; physically living in the same dwelling as the voter; a person who possesses a ballot or carrier envelope solely for the purpose of lawfully assisting a voter who was eligible for assistance; a U.S. postal service employee; or a common or contract carrier … Carrier envelopes may not be collected and stored at another location for subsequent delivery to the early voting clerk.” – NCSL

UTAH

“Voters may mail in the completed ballot or return the ballot in person to an Election Day voting center or a designated ballot drop box.” – Utah Code § 20A-3a-204 (as enacted by 2020 Utah HB 36; effective date May 12, 2020)

VERMONT

“Ballots may be sent by mail, returned in person to clerk’s office, or turned in on Election Day at the polling place.” – Vt. Stat. tit. 17 § 2543(d)

VIRGINIA

“A voter may return a completed absentee ballot by mail. A voter, or in limited circumstances, a third party designated by the voter, may return a completed ballot to the office of the general registrar. The voter may return a completed absentee ballot to the central absentee voter precinct or his/her polling place on Election Day.” – Va. Code § 24.2-709; Va. Code § 24.2-711; Va. Code § 24.2-712

WASHINGTON STATE

“Ballots may be returned by mail, by dropping them off at drop boxes (whether at vote centers, registration sites that are less than vote centers, or standalone drop boxes), or by delivering them to the county auditor’s office.” – Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.40.160(4); Wash. Rev. Code § 29A.40.091(4)

WEST VIRGINIA

“Voters may return ballots by mail or hand delivery.” – W. Va. Code § 3-3-5(g), (k)

  • County clerk locations are here: https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/CountyClerkDirectory.aspx

  • Deadline to register to vote is Oct. 13. Register here: https://ovr.sos.wv.gov/Register/Landing

  • Request an absentee ballot by Oct. 28 here: https://sites.omniballot.us/54/absentee/app/home

  • Early voting is October 21-24 and Oct. 26-31

  • Who can handle a mail ballot? “Not specified, though statute does address hand-delivering ballots … No person may hand-deliver more than two absentee ballots in any election and any person hand delivering an absentee ballot is required to certify that he or she has not examined or altered the ballot. Any person who makes a false certification violates the provisions of article nine of this chapter and is subject to those provisions.” – NCSL

WISCONSIN

“Absentee ballots issued in person must be voted in person immediately on site. For ballots issued by mail, the statute states only that the ballot “shall be returned” to the clerk.” – Wis. Stat. § 6.87(3)(a), (6)

WYOMING 

“Voters may return ballots by mail or in person to their county clerk, either themselves or through an agent. Alternatively, a county may choose to set up an absentee polling place in the courthouse or other public building equipped to accommodate voters from all precincts within the county.” – Wyo. Stat. § 22-9-119; Wyo. Stat. § 22-9-113; Wyo. Stat. § 22-9-125

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