You have to wait until Election Day to cast your vote, but you can start the process of voting right now by requesting an absentee ballot. Most states allow anyone to request an absentee ballot for any reason.
An absentee ballot is the same as a regular ballot, except it’s mailed to you. You fill it in at home, and then return it by postal mail, or drop it off at an official ballot drop box or your local election office.
2020 is the perfect year to vote from home, because global pandemic.
For many folks, going to the polls, standing in line with other voters, interacting with poll workers, not to mention the usual obstacles like getting time off work, finding your polling place, getting child care… any one of those things might understandably get in the way on November 3.
Voting absentee is convenient, secure, and free from virus risk.
My mom lives in California and has voted absentee for years. “Why should I shlep to a polling place? This is so much easier,” she says, and she’s right. We know, because we live in Oregon, where every resident automatically votes from home for every election.
Another benefit of voting absentee: you have more time to check out candidates and ballot measures, and talk over voting choices with friends.
Request an absentee ballot with TurboVote or Vote411
We’ve listed two great services for requesting your absentee ballot in our ACE the Election Checklist: TurboVote and Vote411. Both are trusted online tools that make voting easy. Answer some basic questions about where you live, and you’ll receive state-specific help to request your absentee ballot. It takes about two minutes.
Sign up now so you’re all set for Election Day. Some states require you to request your absentee ballot up to 30 days before the election (click here to find out your state’s deadline).
What if I’m not eligible to request an absentee ballot in my state?
A few states only allow certain residents to vote absentee (which makes no sense given that the entire US military is eligible). TurboVote and Vote411 will tell you what your state’s rules are, and how to proceed if you’re not eligible.
If you’d like to speak to someone in person, can also call your state’s Secretary of State office, the office responsible for administering elections.
What if I prefer to vote in person?
Great! No need to switch. But if you decide later that voting in person concerns you or a loved one, consider voting absentee. Sign up with TurboVote or Vote411, and help your friends and family sign up, too.
For more voting resources, check the Election section of the ACE Checklist.