A voter prepares to cast a ballot at Meadowfield Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina on February 24, 2024
When it comes to elections, on election day, heading to the polls in person can often be tricky. Hence, here are other options to consider to cast your ballot.

NEW YORK CITY - As the 2024 elections get closer and the political cycle switches from primary to general campaigning, it is imperative to be aware of the voting process and the different options available for those eligible to cast a ballot.

Heading to the polls in person on election day can often be tricky. From work to household responsibilities, voting in person is not always an option for many members of the electorate.

That is why absentee voting and voting by mail are options to consider. Rather than completely missing the opportunity to vote due to other commitments and responsibilities, here's what you should know about your other voting options so your voice can be heard:

What is absentee voting and vote-by-mail?

Both absentee voting and vote-by-mail are options given by states to voters who cannot or do not want to vote in person.

For absentee voting, in most states you will need to request an absentee ballot to vote in each election. But in some you may qualify to sign up to receive absentee ballots for every election. Check here if your state offers permanent absentee voting.

Other states, on the other hand, offer vote-by-mail programs. For these, states automatically send ballots to all registered voters in the state before Election Day. See which states offer vote-by-mail programs.

How to vote absentee or by mail if you live in the U.S.

To get a ballot, visit the Can I Vote site and choose your state from the dropdown menu. It will take you right to your state's absentee voting or bote-by-mail page.

States may require you to have a valid excuse to vote absentee. Acceptable excuses vary by state. Most include:

  • Being unable to get to your polling place due to illness, injury, or disability.
  • Being on business travel or vacation outside of your county or city of residence on Election Day.
  • Being a student at an out-of-state college or university.

Each state has different deadlines to request and return your ballot, check your state's guidelines here. It is also important to note whether the deadline is for when your ballot must be postmarked or for when it must be received by the election office.

To return your ballot, check with your state or local election office about ways to return your ballot besides postal mail. Some states have ballot drop boxes. Many let you return your ballot in person at your local election office or another location.

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