When does mail in ballot need to be postmarked

Our organization does not organize elections and cannot provide legal advice. If you are a voter seeking assistance, please contact your local election official. You can find the website and contact information for your local election official using this us vote foundation database.

This table is part of the ncsl polling away report.

Absentee/mail-in ballots are generally returned by mail or hand-delivery, and the most common deadline to return absentee/mail-in ballots by any method is before the polls close on election day.

No states allow hand-delivered ballots to be returned after Election Day, but five require hand-delivered ballots to be received before Election Day: Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Vermont .

Thirty states require that absentee/mail-in ballots returned by mail be received on or before Election Day. Nineteen states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C., however, will accept and count a mail-in ballot if it is received after Election Day but postmarked on or before Election Day (sometimes just before). . Because what constitutes a postmark is changing and less mail is receiving a true postmark, many states will accept an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) as evidence.

The table below shows which states require that mail-in ballots be received by Election Day or postmarked by Election Day and provides deadline details for each state.

Note: This table does not include receipt and postmark deadlines for voters subject to the Uniform Absentee Voting Act and Overseas Citizens, which may differ from the deadlines for domestic absentee voters.

status

election day mail receipt

Postmarked by Election Day

Absentee/Mail Vote Deadline Details

alabama

wing. code § 17-11-18

x

must be received by noon on Election Day.

alaska

such as § 15.20.081(e) and (h)

x

must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

arizona

a.r.s. 16-548

x

must be received by 7 p.m. m. on election day.

arkansas

a.c.a. § 7-5-411

x

must be received by 7:30 p.m. m. on election day. hand-delivered ballots must be received at the county clerk’s office by close of business on the Friday before Election Day.

california

west’s ann.cal.elec.code § 3020

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x

must be received no later than seven days after Election Day.

red

c.r.s. § 1-7.5-107

x

must be received by 7 p.m. m. on election day.

connecticut

with. gene 45-9-140b stat

x

must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. Hand-delivered ballots must be received the day before an election if delivered by the voter and by the close of polls on Election Day if delivered by a designated agent.

delaware

del. ann code § 15-55-5508

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

district of colombia

dc st § 1-1001.05(a)(10a)

x

must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked on or before election day.

florida

f.s.a. western §101.67

x

must be received by 7 p.m. m. on election day.

georgia

ga. ann. code, § 21-2-386(f)

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

hawaii

hrs § 11-104

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

idaho

i.c. § 34-1005

x

must be received by 8:00 p.m. m. on election day.

illinois

10 ilcs 5/19-8, 10 ilcs 5/18a-15

x

must be received within 14 days of the election if postmarked on or before election day.

indian

ic 3-11.5-4-7

x

must be received by noon on Election Day.

iowa

iowa code § 53.17(2)

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

kansas

k.s.a. 25-1132

x

must be received within three days after the election if postmarked by close of polls on election day.

kentucky

ky. Rev. statistic 117,086

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

Louisiana

lsa-r.s. 18:1311

All absentee ballots, regardless of return method, must be received the day before the election.

main

me. Rev. ana statistic 21-a § 755

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

maryland

md code, election law, § 9-309, board of elections

x

must be received within 10 days if postmarked on or before Election Day.

massachusetts

m.g.l.a. 54 § 93

must be received by 5 p.m. m. by the third day after the election if postmarked on or before election day.

michigan

mich. draft laws 168.764a

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

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minnesota

min. statistic 203b.08

x

must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. hand-delivered ballots must be received by 3 p.m. on election day.

mississippi

Miss. ann code § 23-15-637

x

must be received within five business days after the election if postmarked on or before election day.

Missouri

month rvdo. stat 115,293

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

mountain

month. ann code 13-13-232

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

nebraska

neb.rev.st. § 32-950

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

snowfall

n.r.s. ab 321, § 8

x

must be received by 5 p.m. m. the fourth day after the election if the postmark is on election day. unclearly postmarked ballots received by the third day after the election will be considered postmarked on or before election day.

new hampshire

nh rev stat § 657:22

x

must be received by 5 p.m. m. on election day.

new jersey

n.j.s.a. 19:63-22

x

must be received within 144 hours (6 days) after polls close if postmarked on or before Election Day. unpostmarked mail-in ballots that arrive within 48 hours of polls closing will be considered valid.

new mexico

n.m. ana statistic 1-6-10(b)

x

must be received by 7 p.m. m. on election day.

new york

mckinney election law § 8-412

x

must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked before election day.

north carolina

n.c. gene statistics § 163a-1310

x

must be received within three days after the election if postmarked on or before election day.

north dakota

ndcc 16.1-07-09, 16.1-15-25

x

must be received before the canvass (which takes place before 4:00 pm on the eighth day after the election) if it is postmarked the day before election day. hand-delivered ballots must be received by 5 p.m. m. the day before election day.

ohio

r.c. § 3509.05

x

must be received within ten days after the election if postmarked by the day before election day.

oklahoma

26 okl.st.ann. § 14-104

x

must be received by 7 p.m. m. on election day.

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oregon

o. Rev. statistics §253.070

x

must be received within seven days of the election if postmarked on or before election day.

pennsylvania

25 p.d. § 3146.8

x

must be received by 8:00 p.m. m. on election day.

Puerto Rico

16 l.p.r.a. § article 9.36.-

rhode island

general laws of 1956, § 17-20-8

x

must be received by 8:00 p.m. m. on election day.

south carolina

sc code § 7-15-420

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

south dakota

n.d. codified laws ann. 12-19-12

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

tennessee

code lieutenant ann. 2-6-304

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

texas

texas election code § 86.007

x

must be received by 5 p.m. m. the day after the election if postmarked on or before election day.

utah

utah code ann. § 20a-3a-204

x

must be received no later than noon on official canvass day (which occurs seven to 14 days after the election) if postmarked the day before election day.

vermont

title 17 of the vermont statutes. elections, § 2543

x

must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. ballots hand-delivered to a drop box or city clerk’s office must be received by close of business the day before the election; ballots delivered in person to the voter’s polling place must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

virgin islands

18 c.i.c. §665

virginia

goes. code 24.2-709

x

must be received no later than noon of the third day after the election if postmarked by election day.

washington

west rcwa 29a.40.091

x

ballots received after the election postmarked by Election Day are counted; receipt deadline not specified.

west virginia

w. Virginia. code, § 3-3-5, § 3-5-17

x

must be received before the canvass (which begins the fifth day after the election) if postmarked on or before election day.

wisconsin

wisdom. statistic 6.87(6)

x

must be received by 8:00 p.m. m. on election day.

wyoming

wo. statistic 22-9-119

x

must be received before polls close on Election Day.

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