No-fault absentee voting allows voters the convenient option of voting from home. While all states will provide an absentee ballot to qualified voters who request one, 20 states require the voter to provide a qualified excuse before they can receive a ballot. Twenty-seven other states and the District of Columbia, however, offer “no fault” absentee voting, meaning that any registered voter can request a mail ballot and vote from home. Of these, seven states offer the opportunity for voters to join a permanent absentee voting list, signing up one time to receive all ballots for future elections automatically, while an additional nine states have a provision for some but not all voters—often overseas voters or voters with disabilities—to join a permanent absentee voting list.

Colorado, Oregon, and Washington conduct vote-by-mail elections. This report fully credits these states for an all-mail voting system, as it provides the same essential benefit as no-fault absentee: Voters can cast ballots from the convenience of their home, at the time and in the environment that they find most convenient.

For a more detailed explanation of each factor, including citations, please download the full report.

Click to view scoring methodology
  1. Current Policy in State
    Points added to score
  2. State has passed a law allowing for no-fault absentee voting, or has a vote-by-mail system
    0 points
  3. State has not passed a no-fault absentee voting law
    10 points
Policy Recommendation for This Factor
Provide no-fault absentee voting

The ability to vote from home should not be open only to those who submit a qualified excuse to the satisfaction of the state. Rather, states should ensure that anyone who wishes to cast an absentee ballot has the opportunity to request, receive, and cast a ballot by mail.

Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.

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