Get Your Absentee Ballot: The Easy Way to Vote in the Midterm Primaries

Register to vote and request your absentee ballot now to vote from home in both the 2022 midterm primaries and general elections.

Primary election season has begun, and many states are about to hold elections! That means, it’s time to act now to make sure your vote counts in the upcoming primary (or caucus). Remember, primaries are your chance to help narrow down the field of candidates to those you’d like to see on the ballot for the midterm general election. And this year, you have options on how to cast that ballot. 

We know it can be challenging to vote  - maybe you work or travel or you're in school, or can't leave your home? But these challenges can be overcome. There are very often options to accomodate all of these challenging situations.  Did you know that the majority of states allow all voters to vote by absentee ballot?

Make sure you are registered to vote at your current address first. And then check your state’s election rules and election deadlines.


For 2022, here are the rules on Domestic Absentee Voting

  • 26 states give all citizens the option to vote by absentee ballot, no excuse needed: AK, AZ, FL, GA, ID, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MI, MN, MT, NE, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, VA, WI, WY, and the District of Columbia

  • 8 states automatically mail all registered voters an absentee ballot to their voting residence address: CA, CO, HI, NV, OR, UT, VT for general elections only, and WA. Note that if you are away from home, you need to send in an absentee ballot request to tell your election office where to send your ballot!

  • 16 states require their residents to provide an excuse to vote by absentee ballot: AL, AR, CT, DE, IN, KY, LA, MA, MS, MO, NH, NY, SC, TN, TX, WV, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. If you are voting in these states, check your state voting requirements to see if you qualify.

US Citizens Voting from Abroad and Military Absentee Voting

Some voters are entitled to vote by absentee ballot. Namely, US citizens living abroad and uniformed service members who are absent from their voting residence. All states must send absentee ballots for federal elections to citizens serving in the military or civilians living abroad.

There is a specific absentee ballot request form (often called the FPCA) for overseas and military voters, and both US Vote and Overseas Vote guide you through the completion of the correct form. It’s important to use the FPCA: using this form entitles you to many special features of the overseas and military voting program including:

  • Ballot access by electronic means: you can receive your blank ballot online
  • Ballot availability as of 45 days prior to the election
  • Emergency ballot access in case your ballot arrives
  • No notarization requirements

If you are in the uniformed services, or living and voting from abroad, request an overseas or military absentee ballot now!  

If you voting domestically and live in a state that requires an excuse to vote absentee, and you don’t qualify, you can still vote in-person on Election Day. In some states, you can also vote during an early voting period (and register to vote at the same time too!). 

Where do we go from here?

If the pandemic brought any good, it was the expansion of absentee voting. In 2020, 65 million voters cast absentee ballots – more than voted in person! When Covid was at its peak, almost every state allowed registered voters to vote absentee. That made good sense. Voters should not have to choose between civic participation and their health. A healthy democracy, moreover, is one in which every voter participates!

As we say at U.S. Vote Foundation: Every citizen is a voter. That’s our vision and mission.

Pandemic aside, absentee voting simply makes sense! We hope that soon, all remaining states will either allow no-excuse absentee voting or mail every registered voter a ballot. After all, Americans like voting this way, as our 2020 post-election survey showed. According to those surveyed, the vast majority – domestic (95%), overseas (85%), and military (90%) – were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their absentee voting experience.   

And according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, 65% of Americans support no-excuse absentee-voting. We believe, with time and continued practice, this number will grow. This is because absentee voting is time tested and safe. It provides equal benefit to all parties and gives you a convenient voting option. More options help more citizens vote!

Helpful links:

Am I registered to vote?

How do I request an absentee ballot?

 

U.S. Vote Foundation, April 2022