Mailing It In: VBM Ballot Deadlines Explained

Brian Skinner Elections


By Democracy Docket

A voter in Sacramento, California and a voter in Flint, Michigan mail their ballots three days before Election Day. Each ballot is postmarked three days before Election Day and arrives at their respective local election offices the day after Election Day. However, only one ballot counts. Why? 

Under some state laws, mail ballots will count as long as the ballot is postmarked by Election Day and arrives at the local election office within a certain number of days after Election Day. This type of vote by mail deadline is known as a postmarked by deadline.For instance, in California, a mail ballot will count if it is postmarked by Election Day and the ballot arrives at the local election office within 17 days after Election Day. 

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