Where’s my ballot? How to track your absentee ballot.

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In a Nutshell

Every state allows registered voters to cast their ballots by mail, though some states only allow you to cast an absentee vote under certain circumstances. Most also allow voters to track their absentee ballots, from the time the state receives your ballot request right up to when it’s accepted and counted.

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Every state, plus the District of Columbia, allows registered citizens to vote by mail. And many provide online tools to help you keep tabs on the progress of your absentee ballot.

More than 81 million absentee ballots have been requested or automatically sent to voters ahead of the 2020 election, according to the New York Times. If you’ve chosen to vote by mail this year and want to keep tabs on the progress of your ballot, let’s look at some information that might help.



Can I track my absentee ballot?

In nearly every state, Americans who vote by absentee ballot in 2020 will be able to monitor the status of their ballots. Just four states — Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas — do not provide ballot tracking.

If you vote by absentee ballot in a state that offers tracking, you may have access to online tools to help you track your absentee ballot. Or you may need to contact your county-level election officials for information.

Click a state name in the table below to visit that state’s online ballot tracking page.

Absentee ballot tracking by state

Alabama

Request ballot by Oct. 29

Alaska

Request ballot by Oct. 24

Arizona

Request ballot by Oct. 23

Arkansas

Request ballot by Nov. 2

California*

No request needed

Colorado*

No request needed

Connecticut

Request ballot by Nov. 2

Delaware

Request ballot by Oct. 30

District of Columbia*

No request needed

Florida

Request ballot by Oct. 24

Georgia

Request ballot by Oct. 30

Hawaii*

No request needed

Idaho

Request ballot by Oct. 23

Illinois

No ballot tracking

Indiana

Request ballot by Oct. 22

Iowa

Request ballot by Oct. 24

Kansas

Request ballot by Oct. 27

Kentucky

Request ballot by Oct. 9

Louisiana

Request ballot by Oct. 29

Maine

Request ballot by Oct. 29

Maryland

Request ballot by Oct. 20

Massachusetts

Request ballot by Oct. 28

Michigan

Request ballot by Oct. 30

Minnesota

Request ballot by Nov. 2

Mississippi

No ballot tracking

Missouri

No ballot tracking

Request ballot by Oct. 21

Montana

Request ballot by Nov. 2

Nebraska

Request ballot by Oct. 23

Nevada*

No request needed

New Hampshire

Request ballot by Nov. 2

New Jersey*

No request needed if registered by Oct. 5

Request ballot by Oct. 23 if registered after Oct. 5

New Mexico

Request ballot by Oct. 20

New York

Request ballot by Oct. 27

North Carolina

Request ballot by Oct. 27

North Dakota

Request ballot by Nov. 2

Ohio

Request ballot by Oct. 31

Oklahoma

Request ballot by Oct. 27

Oregon*

No request needed

Pennsylvania

Request ballot by Oct. 27

Rhode Island

Request ballot by Oct. 13

South Carolina

Request ballot by Oct. 24

South Dakota

Request ballot by Nov. 2

Tennessee

Request ballot by Oct. 27

Texas

No ballot tracking

Request ballot by Oct. 23

Utah*

No request needed

Vermont*

No request needed

Virginia

Request ballot by Oct. 23

Washington*

No request needed

West Virginia

Request ballot by Oct. 28

Wisconsin

Request ballot by Oct. 29

Wyoming

Request ballot by Nov. 2

* State mails ballots to all registered voters.

Note: When requesting or returning an absentee ballot by mail, be sure to allow for postal delivery time and possible delays.

States that provide online tracking generally allow voters to monitor the progress of their absentee ballot application, as well as confirm when election officials receive, accept and count their completed and returned ballot.

Learn more about how to vote by mail

How do I track an absentee ballot?

If you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 46 states that provide ballot tracking services, you’ll need to start with the state’s designated tracking portal.

You may need to create a voter account and/or provide some identification and information in order to track your ballot. States may require a combination of the following:

  • A voter ID number
  • Driver’s license number
  • The address where you’re registered to vote
  • Last four digits of your Social Security number
  • The county where you’re registered
  • Your full name
  • Your birth date

Depending on the state, the tracking tool may tell you …

  • That election officials received your absentee ballot request (if you live in a state that doesn’t automatically send ballots to all registered voters)
  • The date a ballot was mailed to you
  • The date election officials received your completed and returned ballot
  • Whether it was received, and accepted or rejected (and possibly why, if it was rejected)

What if there’s a problem with my absentee ballot?

If election officials reject your absentee ballot, the online tracking tool may tell you why it was rejected and provide information on what to do next. Ballots can be rejected for different reasons, including failure to properly sign the ballot or the return envelope before you return it. It’s important to follow all the instructions that come with your mail-in ballot to help ensure the state can accept and validate it.

If your state doesn’t provide online tools to track your ballot status, or it has an online tracking system but doesn’t explain why your ballot was rejected, you’ll have to do some legwork. You may be able to get guidance through the website of your state’s secretary of state or by contacting local officials, such as a municipal clerk or your county board of elections.

When will my mail-in vote be counted?

Just as deadlines for requesting and returning absentee ballots can vary, so does the timeline for when states can begin counting absentee ballots. State law — not federal — determines when a state begins counting mailed in votes.

Some states begin processing ballots as soon as they receive them, while others don’t begin until Election Day (Nov. 3 this year). Others may begin a week or two before Election Day, and a handful begin nearly a month in advance.

The National Conference of State Legislators, or NCSL, provides a state-by-state table of when absentee ballot processing begins this year.

Election Day registration and provisional voting

You must be registered to vote by absentee ballot ahead of Election Day. But what if you missed registration and absentee voting deadlines? You may still be able to vote.

According to the NCSL, 21 states and the District of Columbia allow eligible voters to register and vote with a provisional ballot on Election Day at their designated polling place. You can find an interactive map on the NCSL website and more information on states with same-day registration at VoteAmerica. Restrictions may apply, such as being required to show ID, so it’s best to check your state’s individual rules so you know what to expect at the polls. This VoteAmerica chart shows identification requirements for voting in each state.

The right to vote is foundational to our democracy, and states give voters multiple ways to take part in this critical process. And, if you vote by mail in 2020, most states provide ways to stay on top of the status of your ballot and make sure your vote counts.


About the author: Evelyn Pimplaskar is Credit Karma’s tax editor. With nearly 30 years of experience in media, marketing, public relations and journalism, Evelyn’s written about everything — from newspaper accounts of salacious capital… Read more.