Voting Methods and Options

What are the different ways I can vote in my state?

States offer various methods for voting. Choose your state to see what options are available to you, and consult the list of definitions that follow.

Absentee Voting With Excuse
Absentee Voting Without Excuse
All-Mail Voting
In Arkansas, certain elections may be held by mail only.
Early Voting
In-Person Absentee Voting
Military Absentee Voting
Overseas Absentee Voting
Polling Place Voting
Provisional Voting
Election Day (Same Day) Voter Registration

For further information about your state's options see

MY STATE VOTING RULES

DEFINITIONS

Absentee Voting with Excuse

— is a form of early voting in states that require a reason for voters to vote-by-mail, or early in the election office, depending on the state’s allowable methods. To vote in this method, registered voters must send in an application to request an absentee ballot.

 

Absentee Voting without Excuse

— is also called “no-excuse absentee voting.” This is a form of early voting in states that allow all registered voters to request a ballot to vote-by-mail, or vote early in the election office depending on the state’s allowable methods. No special reason is required for registered voters to file their request for an absentee ballot.

 

All Mail Voting

— is a voting method adopted in certain states that chiefly conduct elections by mail. Registered voters are automatically sent a ballot to their voting residence address. If away from their voting residence, voters file a request for an absentee ballot to be sent to another address.

 

Early Voting

— generally refers to voting prior to Election Day during specified periods and at specified early voting locations or in the election office, depending on what is offered locally. States refer to this voting method in various ways, including early voting, early in-person voting, advanced voting, absentee voting, vote-by-mail or in-person absentee voting.

 

In-Person Absentee Voting

— is an early voting method that allows a voter to go in-person to a polling place or election office, depending on the state, and in one visit, complete the ballot request and immediately receive the ballot and vote, or receive a requested ballot and vote, or drop off a completed ballot.

 

Military Voting

— refers to an absentee ballot / vote-by-mail process that allows active-duty uniformed services members, their spouses and their eligible dependents, when away from their voting residence, to register and vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.

 

Overseas Voting / Voting from Abroad

— refers to an absentee ballot / vote-by-mail process that allows most U.S. citizens of voting-age who reside or are temporarily outside the United States to register and vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.

 

Polling Place Voting

— is a form of in-person voting conducted at a specified location, called a “polling place” or a “vote center.”

 

Provisional Voting

— is used at polling locations when a voter’s registration record, identity, residence, and/or eligibility cannot be verified at the polling place. The voter will then receive a provisional ballot.

 

Election Day (Same Day) Voter Registration and Voting

— is an in-person voting method that allows voters to both register to vote and cast their ballot on Election Day, or on the “same day” during an early voting period.