A vote-by-mail state sends a ballot to every registered voter. Voters return ballots by mail, to designated drop boxes or to voting centers. Voters who need assistance can visit a voting center. There are no polls on election day.
Absentee voting by mail began during the Civil War.
Oregon was the first state to vote by mail, followed by Washington, Colorado and Utah. Hawaii implemented vote by mail for the 2020 elections.
- California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont (general elections only) and Washington.
Nine states allow specific small elections to be conducted by mail:
- Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming
Nebraska and North Dakota allow counties to determine if an election will be held entirely by mail, with many but not all counties choosing to do so:
Idaho, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico permit all-mail elections for certain small jurisdictions.