What are Absentee Ballots and Who is Eligible for Absentee Voting?

All you need to know about Elections 2020


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To get a better idea about the absentee ballot, it is important that you are familiar with election basics. As most of us are aware, ballots are cast by US voters in a polling booth set up at polling stations. The vote is cast in person, so the voter has to be present at the station.  

The device that is used for casting a vote is known as a “ballot”, it can be a piece of paper with the vote or electronic voting via computer-mediated voting.  

An absentee ballot, on the other hand, is exactly as the name indicates; it is used to cast the vote of a voter who is unable to be present at the polls on the election day. This kind of vote is normally submitted at a different location, through online voting, proxy voting, or postal voting. 

This type of voting has been around since the Civil War era and is usually allowed by almost every other state in one form or another. It helps to improve the ease of access to absentee ballots and is quite convenient for people who can’t show up to vote in person. 

In order to get an absentee ballot, an application has to be sent to the state government that requests access to absentee voting, which is then accepted or rejected by the state government. If the request is accepted, an absentee ballot is mailed to the voter by the election officials. This is filled and signed by the voter and returned via mail or fax. 

Absentee ballots can also be rejected by officials if the information provided is incorrect or false, which can also lead to serious penalties. 

Absentee ballots are sent to all overseas and military voters that make the request for it. If you are an overseas vote, you need to request an absentee ballot and register with your local election officials in your state of voting residence. 

Who is eligible to cast an Absentee Vote?

The absentee voters are required to give the reason for not being able to appear for in-person voting. Though the exact eligibility criteria can vary, some of the qualifying reasons can be: 

  • You are not present in the country during the election time
  • You are in prison but allowed to vote
  • You are working as an election poll watcher or election worker
  • You are not present in the country because you study abroad 
  • You are ill or suffer from a disability 
  • You will be on jury duty or working during the voting hours
  • You can’t be present at a voting center due to religious practices or beliefs  

The voters are notified via mail if certain conditions are not met. 


Source dictionary.com ace

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