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Election 2020: Absentee and Early Voting

Every Vote Count


Early, Absentee and Mail Voting

Absentee voting is voting that does not happen in person on Election Day but instead occurs another way—usually by mail or over the internet. All states allow for some form of absentee balloting. Some states require voters to provide a valid excuse to vote absentee, while others allow any eligible voter to cast an absentee ballot.

Mail Voting: A ballot is automatically mailed to every eligible voter (no request or application is necessary). In-person voting sites may also be available for voters who would like to vote in-person and to provide additional services to voters. Three states mail ballots to all eligible voters for every election. Other states may provide this option for some types of elections.

(From National Conference of State Legislatures)

Excuse Required

In Massachusetts commonly accepted reasons for casting an absentee ballot include the following:[1]

  • a voter's absence from his or her home county on Election Day
  • illness or physical disability
  • a voter's prolonged absence from his or her home county (e.g., armed forces personnel, overseas employees, college students, etc.)
  • a voter being required to work during polling hours
  • religious observance
  • incarceration (non-felony)
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