How to vote by mail in 2020: request an absentee ballot with TurboVote

How to vote by mail in 2020

Let’s talk about voting! Are you as ready to vote as I am? I mean, if I could vote today, I would, but, alas, I have to twiddle my thumbs till Election Day on November 3. Sigh. So, till then, I’m going to do everything I can to help YOU vote. Today, let’s talk about how to vote by mail.


Why 2020 is the perfect year to vote by mail

Your usual voting routine might need some some tweaking because global pandemic. Going to the polls, standing in line with other voters, interacting with poll workers, not to mention the usual obstacles like getting time off work, finding your polling place, getting child care… any one of those things might understandably get in the way on November 3.

To vote by mail, request an absentee ballot

Did you know that, no matter where you live in the USA, you can most likely vote by mail, from home?

It’s called voting by absentee ballot, and it’s a secure, convenient option for everyone, but especially elderly folks, parents of young kids, folks who must work on Election Day, folks who live far from a polling location, folks with mobility issues, or folks who simply want to minimize their COVID-19 exposure.

An absentee ballot is the same as a regular ballot, except it’s mailed to you. You fill it in at home, and then return it by mail.

My mom lives in California and has voted by mail for years. “Why should I shlep to a polling place? This is so much easier,” she says, and she’s right. I know, because I live in Oregon, a 100% vote-by-mail state. I’ve voted by mail since 2001.

Voting by mail also gives me more time to check out candidates and local ballot measures, and talk over voting choices with friends.

Request an absentee ballot with TurboVote

To vote by mail, you must request an absentee ballot. Most states allow anyone to request an absentee ballot for any reason.


Sign up online to vote by mail

The easiest way to request an absentee ballot is with TurboVote, a trusted online tool that makes voting easy. TurboVote asks you basic questions about where you live, then gives you state-specific help to register to vote and get your absentee ballot. Click here to request your absentee ballot at TurboVote. It takes about two minutes.

Sign up now so you’re all set for November 3. Some states require you to request your absentee ballot up to 30 days before the election (click here to find out your state’s deadline).

What if I’m not eligible to request an absentee ballot in my state?

A few states only allow certain residents to vote by mail (which makes no sense given that the entire US military is eligible to vote by mail). TurboVote will tell you what your state’s rules are, and how to proceed if you’re not eligible to vote by mail.

What if I prefer to vote in person?

Great! No need to switch. But if you decide later that voting in person concerns you or a loved one, consider voting by mail. Sign up to vote by mail with TurboVote, and help your friends and family sign up to vote by mail, too.

Photo credit: Tiffany Tertipes

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