An unprecedented number of Americans are expected to vote by mail. Many states don’t allow the processing or counting of absentee ballots until Election Day. All states keep results secret until Election Day.

* Processing means getting the ballot ready to be counted. This includes signature verification and opening envelopes. RepresentUs marked a state as processing in advance if they perform any processing tasks.

** Last updated 10/7/2020

Ballot-processing-map10

Hover overTap on table cells for source information and links.

State

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

All states

Alabama

Source 1

Source 2

Secretary of State’s office confirms no changes have been made for November.

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Noon on Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

7 a.m. on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Alaska

“Alaska law allows the Absentee Review Board to begin the review of absentee ballots seven days prior to Election Day. The division is returning to prior practice of not counting any absentee ballots until after in person voter history is completed. This was a security measure in place prior to 2016.”- Gail Fenumiai, Director, Division of Elections

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

7 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Arizona

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

14 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

14 days in advance of Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Arkansas

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

7 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

California

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

29 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

29 days in advance of Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Colorado

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

15 days in advance of Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Connecticut

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

7 days in advance of Election Day

“They can pre-check/sort the ballots beginning 7 days before, but cannot start opening and counting until Election Day.” – Gina Atanasoff, Secretary of State’s office

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Delaware

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Friday before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Friday before Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Florida

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

22 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

22 days in advance of Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Georgia

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

7 a.m. on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Hawaii

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

10 days in advance of Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Idaho

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Affidavit verified upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Illinois

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Indiana

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Noon on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Iowa

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Affidavits can be verified the day before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Kansas

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day (not specified)

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Ballots can be run through the scanners, but final results not tabulated until Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Kentucky

NBC News reports, “Kentucky’s secretary of state, Michael Adams, told the House Homeland Security Committee last week that for the first time, election officials were allowed during the June primary to start the processing early.

‘It took a good week for us to get all the ballots counted, but it would have been even longer without that,’ he said. The state plans to do the same for the general election, starting the process Sept. 21.”

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Processing begins September 21

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Louisiana

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day (not specified)

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Before Election Day (not specified)

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Maine

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Four days before Election Day, earlier with permission.

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Four days before Election Day when scanners are used

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Maryland

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Some counties can start October 1

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Massachusetts

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Michigan

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Day before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Minnesota

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Mississippi

“In Mississippi, The Resolution Board may begin processing (accepting/rejecting) absentee ballots as early as 7:00 a.m. on Election Day, but the time will vary by county. Mississippi is a bottom-up state, meaning the counties run the elections.” – Kendra James, Assistant Secretary of State, Communications and Publications

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

7 a.m. on Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Missouri

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

5 days in advance on Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls open on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Montana

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Day before Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Nebraska

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Second Monday before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Day before Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Nevada

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verified upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

New Hampshire

“For the purposes of the 2020 elections, due to COVID-19 and an anticipated significant increase in absentee ballots submitted, House Bill 1266 was passed by the legislature to allow for partial pre-processing of ballots prior to Election Day. However, ballots will not be counted or fully processed until Election Day. ” – Secretary of State’s Office

Source

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Partial processing before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

New Jersey

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot.

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

10 days before Election Day.

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

New Mexico

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

5 days in advance of Election Day, if fewer than 10,000 ballots

2 weeks in advance of Election Day, if 10,000 or more  ballots

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

New York

The governor signed an executive order on August 24, 2020 allowing for limited processing, the examine of the envelopes, before Election Day.

 

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

North Carolina

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

2 weeks before Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

North Dakota

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Day before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Ohio

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day (not specified)

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Before Election Day (not specified)

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Oklahoma

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day (not specified)

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Before Election Day (not specified)

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Oregon

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

7 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

7 days in advance of Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Pennsylvania

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

7 a.m. on Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

7 a.m. on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Rhode Island

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

14 days in advance of Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

South Carolina

“Election officials do not begin tabulating ballots until election day. At 9:00 a.m. on the day before an election, county officials can begin processing absentee ballots by opening the outer envelope (S.C. Code of Laws 7-15-420).  They must wait until 9:00 a.m. on election day to open the inner envelope, remove the ballot, and scan the ballot.” – John Michael Catalano
Outreach Coordinator, South Carolina State Election Commission

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Day before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

9 a.m. on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

South Dakota

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

When election supplies are delivered to precinct

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Tennessee

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Texas

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Signature verification upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After early in-person voting ends in counties with populations of more than 100,000

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Utah

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

Before Election Day (time not specified)

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Vermont

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Day before Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Virginia

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Processing can occur before Election Day if needed

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Washington

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Upon receipt of ballot

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State_DC

Washington, DC

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

Before Election Day (not specified)

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls close on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

West Virginia

“In West Virginia, we count ballots on Election Day after the polls have closed. When we receive absentee ballots and early-voting ballots, those are securely stored and are counted on election night along with the ballots cast on Election Day. We keep record of ballots cast early or by mail in our Statewide Voter Registration System, but the ballots are not processed/tabulated until Election Day.” – Elaine Tuckwiller
Elections Specialist

Source

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

On Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Wisconsin

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

On Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

After polls open on Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

State

Wyoming

The Secretary of State’s office says clerks received special permission to count ballots early for the primary. We are waiting to hear if this will be allowed in November.

Source

When Can Ballots Be Processed?

On Election Day

When Can Ballots Be Counted?

On Election Day

Process Before Election Day?

Count Before Election Day?

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