New Democracy Maps

Efficient Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing

The 2020 election saw a large increase in voters choosing to utilize absentee or mail ballots rather than traditional in-person voting. This increase created logistical issues for election jurisdictions in the ballot counting process, which in turn caused delayed results in some states. One policy states can use to help lessen these delays is allowing absentee and mail ballots to be processed prior to Election Day. This processing does not involve tallying or releasing results ahead of Election Day, but rather taking steps such as verifying voter signatures and opening ballot envelopes so that counting can later be done more quickly.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State requires or allows absentee/mail ballot processing to begin prior to Election Day (42 states + D.C.)
  • State does not require or allow absentee/mail ballot processing to begin prior to Election Day (8 states)
Recommended citation: Movement Advancement Project. "Efficient Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing." Accessed 07/21/2024.

Breakdown by Population

*Note: These percentages reflect the voting-eligible population, as reported by the United States Election Project.


84 % of voting-eligible population lives in states that require or allow absentee/mail ballot processing to begin prior to Election Day


16 % of voting-eligible population lives in states that do not require or allow absentee/mail ballot processing to begin prior to Election Day

Data current as of 07/08/2024
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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