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November is just two months away and with it comes two things: First, the relief that of knowing that 2020 is moving into the rearview mirror. The second, and perhaps most important, is Election Day and the checklist of things we have to do before we can cast our ballots.  

This Election Day, some states will be providing voters with different options for casting their ballots. Some are moving to all-mail voting, some are sending absentee ballots to everyone on their voter rolls and others are allowing voters to opt into absentee voting via an application citing COVID-19 as the reason. 

Before we discuss Absentee and Early Voting measures, however, we need to tackle your state’s Voting Registration Deadlines.

Voter Registration

2020 has been nothing if not normal, it’s even shaking up how some states are conducting their elections this year. Some states will be much more flexible or accommodating when it comes to casting a ballot, but the changes in elections DO still require that voters have up-to-date registration. 

Every state handles their registration deadlines differently, and it would be difficult to link to all 50 registration deadlines here. There are various resources that you can utilize to double-check your state’s registration requirements, including the  U.S. Vote Foundation, or Vote.org.

Absentee and Early Voting

With voter registration deadlines come Early Voting periods. This year is going to be different than past Presidential elections with some states sending out ballots via mail to all registered voters, these states include California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and the District of Columbia.

Nine states will automatically mail registered voters an absentee ballot request form, these include Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

Seven states will require their voters to provide a reason besides COVID-19 in order to vote absentee, these include Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

States not mentioned above will allow their registered voters to cite COVID-19 as a reason to vote absentee but require voters to procure their absentee ballot application themselves. 

Every state has different laws governing their Early Voting and Absentee ballot procedures and the best resource for understanding when these periods begin is your local elections office.

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