Can I Change My Mind After Requesting an Absentee Ballot?

I requested an absentee ballot. Can I change my mind and vote at the polls? Here are your state-specific rules.

With all the chatter about different ways of voting, many people are wondering about their options. We are receiving a lot of inquiries from voters about whether someone can change their mind and go to the polls if they have already requested an absentee ballot. Unfortunately, there is no single answer - it varies by state. This chart will help you determine what works best for you.

If you do change your mind and decide to go to the polls, in most cases, you’ll be asked to sign a sworn statement attesting that you have not already voted. You cannot go to the polls to change your vote, if you already cast your ballot. (Those are two very different things, friends;-) Voting more than once is against the law. 

In all cases, we recommend sticking to your original voting plan - if you requested and received an absentee ballot, it is best to vote that ballot. Changing your mind creates additional work for poll workers and election officials in a year when there is already significant pressure on our election system.  

We've identified 5 situations you may encounter, depending on your state: *see below for further detail on the definitions of these 5 situations

Note: These provisions apply to voters who have already requested an absentee ballot.  If you have not requested an absentee ballot, check our Elections Dates and Deadlines page to find out when you can vote in-person and the Early Voting Dates chart for a look at your state's options. 

State (1) Regular ballot without surrendering absentee ballot (2) Regular ballot if you surrender absentee ballot; provisional ballot if you do not (3) Provisional ballot for all absentee requests (4) No change allowed (5) All vote-by-mail state
Alabama     X    
Alaska X        
Arizona     X    
Arkansas     X    
California   X     X
Colorado X       X
Connecticut X        
Delaware X        
District of Columbia     X    
Florida   X      
Georgia   X      
Hawaii         X
Idaho   X      
Illinois   X      
Indiana   X      
Iowa   X      
Kansas     X    
Kentucky       You must vote absentee, unless you have not received your ballot by Oct. 28th  
Louisiana     X    
Maine X        
Maryland     X    
Massachusetts X        
Michigan X        
Minnesota X        
Mississippi     X    
Missouri   X      
Montana X       46 of 56 counties are vote by mail only
Nebraska     X    
Nevada   X     X
New Hampshire X        
New Jersey     X    
New Mexico X        
New York X        
North Carolina X        
North Dakota X        
Ohio     X    
Oklahoma   X      
Oregon         X
Pennsylvania   X      
Rhode Island     X    
South Carolina X        
South Dakota X        
Tennessee     X    
Texas     X    
Utah X       X
Vermont   X      
Virginia   X      
Washington X       X
West Virginia   X      
Wisconsin X    
Wyoming   X      

*Further Useful Information - explanations for your state's provisions on what will happen if you change your mind about voting with an absentee ballot that you already requested: 

  1. You can vote a regular ballot without surrendering absentee ballot: If you vote in these states, you will be given a regular ballot if you go to the polls to vote. You do not need to surrender your absentee ballot to be given a regular ballot.

  2. You can vote a regular ballot if you surrender absentee ballot; provisional if you do not return your ballot: In these states, you must bring your absentee ballot with you and you must surrender it to the election official on-site to use a regular ballot. If you show up without that ballot, you’ll be asked to use a provisional ballot.

  3. Absentee ballot requestors will vote with a provisional ballot: These states require voters who change their mind and show up to the polls to use a provisional ballot. It is HIGHLY recommended that you vote using your absentee ballot in all of these states.

  4. No change allowed: The only state without a blanket provision for in-person voting is Kentucky. If you vote here, you must use your absentee ballot if requested. The only case where you may go to the polls and vote a provisional ballot is if you have not received your absentee ballot by October 28th.  You will be asked to sign a sworn statement.

  5. All vote-by-mail state: In these states, voting by mail is your option. Some jurisdictions may support an election office that allows in-person voting on election day, but in many cases, voting by mail is your only option.