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Voting By Absentee Ballot: For Seniors Who Can’t Get to the Polls

For hospitalized or housebound seniors and caregivers, absentee voting can be a way to ensure their votes get counted in the upcoming election.

All states allow some form of absentee voting. Absentee ballots exist to ensure that people who can't (or don't want to) go to their local polling place on Election Day (November 6, 2012), have the opportunity to vote.

Each state has its own unique set of rules regarding the requirements and qualifications for absentee voting. Here is some general information about absentee ballots, but for specific rules and regulations in your state, be sure to check with your county's Supervisor of Elections, found either in the phone book or by online search.

How do I apply for an absentee ballot?

You can generally apply for an absentee ballot from your local Office of the Supervisor of Elections in one of several ways:

  • In person
  • Over the phone
  • Online
  • By mail (both regular mail and e-mail)

What information do I need to have to request an absentee ballot?

When applying for an absentee ballot for yourself, you will probably need to supply: your name, date of birth, address, and possibly a signature.

As caregiver, you can also request an absentee ballot on behalf of a senior, but you will have to have some additional information to do so. In addition to the name, date of birth, and address of your elderly loved one, you will also need to provide: your name, address, and driver's license number, as well as an explanation of your relationship to the elderly voter, and possibly a signature. Keep in mind that you are not actually casting a vote for your loved one—you're just asking to have the form sent to them.

In some states, you will also be required to provide a valid excuse as to why the person for whom the absentee ballot is being requested won't be able to make it to the polls. Depending on the state, valid excuses for absentee ballots can include: pre-existing work or school obligations, illness or infirmity, military service, and religious reasons.

What is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot?

In most states, applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Office of the Supervisor of Elections no later than approximately one week prior to Election Day.

What is the deadline for submitting an absentee ballot?

If you want your vote to count, the deadline for submitting a filled-out absentee ballot generally falls sometime in the late afternoon, or early evening hours of Election Day. You can either deliver an absentee ballot in-person to the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, or mail it in.

 

For more information on how to apply for an absentee ballot in your state, visit our state-by-state voter information page.

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