What is Absentee Voting?
Absentee voting refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a voter who is unable or unwilling to go to the polls to vote during early voting or Election Day. A voter does not have to be absent from the county of residence or have an excuse in order to vote absentee except on Election Day (see details below). A request covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. To receive an absentee ballot, the voter or authorized person must contact his or her county Supervisor of Elections.
How to Request an Absentee Ballot
A request for an absentee ballot may be made in one of the following ways:
- Online application on your county Supervisors of Elections' website
- In writing (e.g., by email, fax, mail) to Supervisor of Elections
- In person at Supervisor of Elections
- By telephone call to Supervisor of Elections
If you are making the request, the following information is required:
- The name of the voter for whom the ballot is being requested;
- The voter’s address;
- The voter’s date of birth; and
- The voter’s signature (if the request is written).
If an immediate family member or legal guardian is requesting an absentee ballot for you, the following additional information must be provided:
- The requestor’s address;
- The requestor’s driver’s license number (if available);
- The requestor’s relationship to the voter; and
- The requestor’s signature (if the request is written).
The deadline to request that an absentee ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on the 6th day before the election. Otherwise, an absentee ballot can be picked-up until and including on Election Day. However, the ballot must still be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day if the voted ballot is to count.
Who Can Pick Up an Absentee Ballot
A voter can pick up or have delivered his or her own absentee ballot at any time the ballot becomes available, including up to 7 p.m. on Election Day. A voter can also authorize in writing a designee to pick up the ballot for him or her but the earliest the designee can then pick up the ballot is five days before Election Day. A designee is limited to picking up two absentee ballots per elections (not including his or her own ballot and ballots for immediate family members. Additionally, a designee must submit a completed Affidavit to pick-up an Absentee Ballot for a Voter (DS-DE 37 - English PDF/ Español PDF), which includes the written authorization from the Voter. If there is no request on record, the voter also have to submit the request part of the Affidavit.
If a voter or designee waits until Election Day to pick up or have delivered an absentee ballot, the Election Day Absentee Ballot Delivery Affidavit (DS-DE 136 - English PDF/ Español PDF) must also be completed in which the voter affirms that he or she has as an emergency that keeps the voter from being able to go his or her assigned polling place instead to vote.
How to Vote an Absentee Ballot
Instructions for completing the absentee ballot are included with the ballot. The voted ballot must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. Other return options are available for Military and Overseas Voters.
If the voter decides to go to the polls to vote instead, the voter should bring the absentee ballot (whether it has been marked or not). Even if the voter comes to the polls without the absentee ballot, the voter will still be able to vote a regular ballot if the supervisor of elections' office is able to confirm that it has not received the voter's absentee ballot. However, if it is confirmed that the voter have already voted an absentee ballot, the voter cannot vote again at the polls. If the voter believes or insists that the supervisor of elections' office is wrong about receiving the absentee ballot or if the supervisor of elections' office cannot confirm that the voter has already voted an absentee ballot, the voter is allowed to vote a provisional ballot.
How to Correct a Missing Signature on Your Absentee Ballot
If you forgot to sign your certificate with the returned absentee ballot, you may still have the opportunity to correct the omission by completing and returning an Omitted Signature Affidavit for Absentee Ballot (DS–DE 139 - English PDF / Español PDF) with a copy of your identification. The deadline to submit the Affidavit, however, is no later than 5 p.m. on the day before the election. Failure to follow the instructions carefully may cause your ballot not to count.
How to Track Your Absentee Ballot Request and Returned Ballot
Any voter who has requested an absentee ballot can track online the status of his or her absentee ballot through a link within the Division of Elections' Check your Voter Status website or through their county Supervisor of Elections' website.