Vote by Mail States 2021

Vote by mail, also called mail-in voting, allows those who are registered to vote to receive a ballot at their designated mailing address, typically a few weeks before the election. After completing the ballot, the registered voter can either mail it back or drop it in a drop-box before Election Day.

Absentee Voting

Mail-in voting is similar to absentee ballots. Absentee ballots started during the Civil War, allowing soldiers to cast their ballots in their home states. Absentee ballots became more common as they made voting more accessible to more people, such as those who are facing emergency situations or those who have a disability. Over time, many states began expanding access to absentee voting.

Today, 34 states and the District of Columbia allow any voter to ask for an absentee ballot even if they are physically able to vote in person on Election Day. This is called “no-excuse absentee voting.” The other 16 states have specific requirements to receive an absentee ballot but have relaxed their rules due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that someone can cite the virus as an excuse for their request.

Election officials began referring to absentee ballots as “advanced ballots,” “mailed ballots,” “vote-by-mail ballots,” and “mail ballots” as the practice became more widespread and the policy of absentee voting was expanded to be available more people. If you are in the United States, you must register to vote before you’re eligible to receive an absentee ballot.

States with Statutory Provisions for All-Mail Ballot Elections

Currently, five states conduct all elections by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Oregon was the first state to implement this system in 2000. Hawaii was the most recent state to implement all-mail ballot elections in 2020.

Three states permit counties to opt into conducting all elections by mail: California, Nebraska, North Dakota. Nine states permit some elections to be conducted by mail: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Five states permit certain jurisdictions to be designated as all-mail based on population: Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico.

The following states have no-excuse absentee voting:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado (All-mail elections)
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii (All-mail elections)
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon (All-mail elections)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah (All-mail elections)
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington (All-mail elections)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Vote by Mail States 2021

State Vote by Mail
AlabamaEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
AlaskaNo-excuse absentee voting
ArizonaNo-excuse absentee voting
ArkansasEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
CaliforniaNo-excuse absentee voting
ColoradoAll mail-in election
ConnecticutEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
DelawareEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
FloridaNo-excuse absentee voting
GeorgiaNo-excuse absentee voting
HawaiiAll mail-in election
IdahoNo-excuse absentee voting
IllinoisNo-excuse absentee voting
IndianaEligibility requirements
IowaNo-excuse absentee voting
KansasNo-excuse absentee voting
KentuckyEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
LouisianaEligibility requirements
MaineNo-excuse absentee voting
MarylandNo-excuse absentee voting
MassachusettsEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
MichiganNo-excuse absentee voting
MinnesotaNo-excuse absentee voting
MississippiEligibility requirements
MissouriEligibility extended to all voters, subject to notarization
MontanaNo-excuse absentee voting
NebraskaNo-excuse absentee voting
NevadaNo-excuse absentee voting
New HampshireEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
New JerseyNo-excuse absentee voting
New MexicoNo-excuse absentee voting
New YorkEligibility extended for COVID-19
North CarolinaNo-excuse absentee voting
North DakotaNo-excuse absentee voting
OhioNo-excuse absentee voting
OklahomaNo-excuse absentee voting
OregonAll mail-in election
PennsylvaniaNo-excuse absentee voting
Rhode IslandNo-excuse absentee voting
South CarolinaEligibility extended to all voters in 2020 election
South DakotaNo-excuse absentee voting
TennesseeEligibility requirements
TexasEligibility requirements
UtahAll mail-in election
VermontNo-excuse absentee voting
VirginiaNo-excuse absentee voting
WashingtonAll mail-in election
West VirginiaEligibility requirements
WisconsinNo-excuse absentee voting
WyomingNo-excuse absentee voting

Vote by Mail States 2021