October 26, 2020

Category: Safety

Options for Voting Early in 2020

Options for Voting Early In 2020


















Long wait times and social-distancing can make voting in-person on Election Day a frustrating and time-consuming experience. However, many states offer options to vote early both in-person or by mail to help you avoid the potential crowds and get your vote in well before Election Day. We’ll go over how mail-in and absentee ballots work, changes this year due to COVID-19, and the dates for early voting by state.

 

Note: this information is valid as of 10/14/2020. Please visit your state or county’s voting website for the most current information.

 

Mail-in Voting

 

This election year, mail-in voting methods have made headlines as more options become available to voters in response to COVID-19. Mail-in voting is a voting method in which a voter can mail-in their ballots. In most cases, ballots are sent to voter’s homes and must be postmarked or received back on or before Election Day. In some states, voters may be given grace days of about a week in order to have their ballots counted.

 

Learn more about mail-in voting in this blog post from CNN.com and be sure to visit your Secretary of State’s website for more information on voting options available to you.

 

Absentee Ballots

 

Absentee voting involves mailing in or delivering a ballot to your local electoral officials before or on Election Day. Depending on your state, if you’re in the military overseas, currently attending an out-of-state university, or you have an illness, injury, or disability that would prevent you from voting in person, then an absentee ballot ensures you still have the ability to make your voice heard.

 

Requirements for absentee voting

 

Several states require you to meet certain conditions in order to be eligible for an absentee ballot. Be sure to check your state’s website ahead of time to determine if you are required to have a valid excuse in order to vote by absentee ballot.

 

Delivering absentee ballots

 

If you’re casting an absentee ballot, you have the option to deliver it either by mail or in person to the office listed on your ballot. Depending on your state, this may be your Secretary of State office, Elections Department, or another address. 28 states require mail-in ballots to arrive on or before Election Day, while the other 22 states require them to be postmarked on or before Election Day (even if they arrive later).[1] 

 

Learn more about voting methods in this blog post.

 

What Has Changed This Year Due To COVID-19?

 

Mail-in voting options

 

Many states previously offered mail-in voting options for absentee ballots. This year, more states have added or extended those options to provide better convenience and safety options.

 

Increased early voting windows

 

Some states have increased the window during which voters can vote early in person. This is in effort to cut down on crowds on Election Day, while providing more opportunities for voters to make their voices heard.

 

Witness signatures

 

Over 30 states and the District of Columbia have enacted new changes that will make it easier for voters to vote early or via mail.[2] Some states normally require you to have a witness or notary signature on your absentee ballot in order for it to be counted, which can be tricky when businesses are closed or services are otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19. While Minnesota, South Carolina, and Rhode Island have eliminated this requirement for the upcoming election, North Carolina has reduced the requirement to one signature instead of two.[3]

 

Extended deadlines for mail-in ballots

 

While many states normally require mail-in absentee ballots to be delivered by Election Day, several have extended the deadline. A court of claims judge in Michigan ruled that ballots have to be accepted if they’re postmarked by November 2nd and are received within two weeks of Election Day. Similarly, on October 19th the Supreme Court ruled in Pennsylvania that election officials could count ballots received up to three days after Election Day.4 North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and New Jersey have also extended the deadline for receiving ballots.[4],6

 

Eliminating or relaxing the excuse requirement

 

Many states that require a valid excuse in order to vote by absentee ballot have either eliminated or relaxed the excuse requirement for the upcoming election.  Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Delaware have eliminated the excuse requirement entirely. Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, and West Virginia have relaxed their requirements by allowing anyone concerned about the coronavirus pandemic to vote via absentee ballot.5

 

What States Offer In-Person Early Voting?

 

For some voters, the best way to have their voice heard this election is to vote early in person. With this method, you may visit one of several polling locations near you during your state’s specified window to vote before Election Day. Early voting options vary by state, and not all states offer this option. Find your state below to see what’s available to you!

 

Alabama

 

Early voting is not available in Alabama. However, if you are unable to vote in person on Election Day, you can request an absentee ballot by mail or by visiting your local Board of Registrars.

 

Alaska

 

October 19, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Arizona

 

October 7, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

Arkansas

 

October 19, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

California

 

You can vote early in California, although the timelines vary depending on your county. Contact your local election office to find out more.

 

Colorado

 

October 19, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Connecticut

 

Early voting is not available in Connecticut.

 

Delaware

 

Early voting is not available in Delaware.

 

District of Columbia

 

October 27, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Florida

 

October 24, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

 

 

Georgia

 

October 12, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

Hawaii

 

October 20, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Idaho

 

October 19, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

Illinois

 

September 24, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Indiana

 

You can vote early in Indiana through absentee ballots in-person, by mail, or traveling board from October 6, 2020 to November 2, 2020. Learn more here.

 

Iowa

 

You can vote early in Iowa through absentee in-person voting by visiting your county auditor’s office from October 5, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Kansas

 

October 14, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Kentucky

 

October 13, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Louisiana

 

October 16, 2020 to October 27, 2020.

 

Maine

 

October 5, 2020 to October 29, 2020.

 

Maryland

 

October 26, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Massachusetts

 

October 17, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

Michigan

 

September 24, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Minnesota

 

September 18, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Mississippi

 

Early voting is not available in Mississippi.

 

Missouri

 

Early voting is not available in Missouri.

 

Montana

 

October 5, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Nebraska

 

October 5, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Nevada

 

October 17, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

New Hampshire

 

Early voting is not available in New Hampshire.

 

New Jersey

 

Early voting dates in New Jersey vary based on your county. Learn more by checking with your county clerk’s office.

 

New Mexico

 

October 6, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

 

New York

 

October 24, 2020 to November 1, 2020.

 

North Carolina

 

October 15, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

 

North Dakota

 

October 19, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Ohio

 

October 6, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Oklahoma

 

October 29, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

 

Oregon

 

Early voting is not available in Oregon.

 

Pennsylvania

 

You can apply for a ballot and vote in-person same day until 5 PM on October 27, 2020.

 

Rhode Island

 

October 14, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

South Carolina

 

In South Carolina all voters are now qualified to vote by absentee. Ballots must have a witness signature and be returned to county officials by November 3, 2020.

 

South Dakota

 

September 18, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Tennessee

 

October 14, 2020 to October 29, 2020.

 

Texas

 

October 13, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

Utah

 

October 20, 2020 to October 30, 2020.

 

Vermont

 

September 21, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

Virginia

 

September 18, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

 

Washington

 

October 16, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

West Virginia

 

October 21, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

 

Wisconsin

 

October 20, 2020 to November 1, 2020.

 

Wyoming

 

September 18, 2020 to November 2, 2020.

 

ACE Cash Express wants to provide the communities we serve with the knowledge they need to register to vote and cast their ballot. Our Your Voice, Your Vote initiative aims to bring awareness to the different ways you can vote, to ensure your voice is heard this Election Day.

 

Visit our site to learn how to register to vote in your state, and make sure you know the important voter registration deadlines and election days in your state.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/vopp-table-11-receipt-and-postmark-deadlines-for-absentee-ballots.aspx
  2. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/states-changed-rules-voting-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/story?id=72309089
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/voters-struggling-witness-rules-early-voting-n1241117
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-pennsylvania-ballots/2020/10/19/4fd106a6-08a6-11eb-a166-dc429b380d10_story.html
  5. https://www.npr.org/2020/09/23/916012284/rule-changes-in-swing-states-mean-more-votes-will-count-results-may-take-longer
  6. https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/absentee-and-mail-voting-policies-in-effect-for-the-2020-election.aspx

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