How voting by mail works

You get a ballot in the mail, fill it out, sign and seal the ballot envelope, and return it through the mail or at a secure drop box.

Tips for successfully voting by mail

Read and follow the instructions carefully for any special requirements

  • Some states require other people to sign your ballot envelope as a witness.
  • Some states require a copy of your driver’s license or Social Security number.
  • You may be able to use your phone to take a photo of your ID.

Make sure your ballot will be counted

  • Be sure you sign the declaration or oath on the return envelope. When you sign, use a pen, not a pencil.
  • Sign carefully. Sign legibly. Your election department may match your signature to what they have on file.
  • Be sure you know when the ballot must be returned. Get it back early if you can.

1. Sign the envelope. 2. Election officials match the signature. 3. Return your ballot on time.

You can return the ballot in several ways

Put it in the mail

  • Put it in your own mailbox for the mail carrier to collect, or put it in a Post Office blue mail box, or take it to a post office.
  • Mail it early, if you can, to be sure it arrives on time.
  • If you mail it on Election Day, ask the post office to "hand cancel it." (That means it will have the right date to prove you mailed it on time.)
  • Follow state guidelines if you want assistance for returning your ballot.

Drop it off at a drop box or vote center

  • To find where you can drop off your ballot, go to your state or county website.
  • Be sure to drop it off in time. For the deadline, check with local election officials.
  • If you drop it off in person at a voting center, follow local guidance, including practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask or face covering.
  • Follow state guidelines if you want assistance for returning your ballot.

Find information about your voting options