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Midterm Elections 2022: Ballot Return Options Chart

How to return your absentee ballot without putting it into the mail?

U.S. Vote Foundation has answers for you on our Ballot Return Options chart. Newly updated for the 2022 Midterm Election Year.

  • American voters enjoy options. This goes for how to vote - it could be voting in-person or early voting or absentee voting / vote-by-mail. As for absentee / mail voting, the post office is a an excellent option for you if you are mailing your ballot back with plenty of time for the post to deliver it to your election office.
  • But if you are late to return your ballot, or if you are the type of person that likes to know for sure that the ballot arrived in time, then you will be interested in the options available in your state for returning your ballot.
  • And the good news is that most states have options. U.S. Vote Foundation brings them to you through our Ballot Return Options chart.

One option is a Ballot Dropbox:

Ballot drop boxes are receptacles that the government provides as an option for returning a completed mail or absentee ballot in an election. They are often located outside in public areas adjacent to government buildings. 

Drop boxes are typically around the same size as blue USPS collection boxes, but they are clearly marked as official ballot drop boxes so you won’t mix them up when you use one to cast your ballot. 

Some states offer you 24-hour voting with ballot drop boxes. Other states keep their drop boxes inside election offices and make them available during office hours. Ballot drop boxes are not available in every state. Check the Ballot Return Options chart to see what's available for you.


Another option is to return your ballot to your Election Office:

Almost every state allows you to take your completed to your election office. Depending where the office is located, this may be a convenient option. You can look up your local election office location, hours of operation and contact details in the US Vote Election Official Directory.

Make sure to verify that you will arrive within their opening hours.


Taking your absentee ballot to an Early Voting Location or a Polling Place:

Head's up! Taking your completed absentee ballot to an early voting location or polling place is actually NOT always an accepted practice. Be very careful to assume that it will be accepted. If you want to do this, double check the Ballot Return Options chart and contact your local election office to be sure.

Some states allow you to arrive with an unused absentee ballot, and turn that in, and then vote in-person. But again, not all of them. If you requested an absentee ballot, and haven't returned it and would prefer to vote in-person on Election Day: bring the blank, unused absentee ballot with youto show you have not yet voted.


Regardless of how you return your absentee ballot - by mail, or in-person, just be sure to use it and return it in time to be counted. Thank you for voting!


Important: The information is subject to change. It will be augmented and updated regularly.