Mail-in ballots sit in containers from the US Postal Service waiting to be processed by election workers at the Salt Lake County election office in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 29, 2020 (AFP / George Frey)

Ballots received after November 3 will be counted in 22 US states

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

Social media posts circulating ahead of Election Day advise Americans to drop off their ballots or cast it in person, warning they risk losing their vote if their mail-in ballot arrives after November 3. This is misleading; while some states will not be counting ballots received after that date, 22 states will accept them as long as they are postmarked no later than polling day.

“Voters: Please drop off your ballots in person at a drop-off station, or get yourself to the polls for early voting,” advised Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love,” in a October 30 Facebook post. “Even if your mail-in ballot is postmarked today, if it arrives after Election Day, it will be thrown out. Discounted. Ignored,” she adds.Similarly, the liberal-leaning Facebook page “The Other 98%” warned in a October 26 post that “the Supreme Court ruled that mailed-in ballots sent *before Election Day* can be legally thrown away and not counted.”

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on October 30, 2020
Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on October 30, 2020

 

The posts lack important context. Both refer to emergency rulings on mail-in voting delivered by the Supreme Court on October 26 and 29, which blocked ballot deadline extension in Wisconsin, but allowed it in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

 

In all three cases, local authorities had asked for ballots to be counted when received up to three days (Pennsylvania), six days (Wisconsin), or nine days (North Carolina) after Election Day.

The rulings could be subject to further review and a potential reversal by Election Day. Although Pennsylvania will count votes received after November 3, they will be set aside in case the rules change upon review.

As of October 31, AFP noted 22 states that count ballots received at least one day after November 3 (Texas), and right up to November 23 (Washington).

Where ballots will count after Election Day

Alaska: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 13

California: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 20

District of Columbia: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 13

Illinois: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 17

Iowa: postmarked by November 2, received no later than November 9

Kansas: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 6

Kentucky: postmarked by November 3 by 6:00pm, received no later than November 6 by 6:00pm

Maryland: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 13 by 10:00am

Massachusetts: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 6

Minnesota: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 10

Mississippi: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 10

Nevada: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 10

New Jersey: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 10 by 8:00pm

New York: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 10

North Carolina: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 12 by 5:00pm

Ohio: postmarked by November 2, received no later than November 13

Pennsylvania: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 6 by 5:00pm

Texas: postmarked by November 3 by 7:00pm, received no later than November 4 by 5:00pm

Utah: postmarked by November 2, received no later than county canvass day, between one and two weeks after Election Day

Virginia: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 6 by 12:00pm

Washington: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 23, a Washington State elections officer told AFP by phone

West Virginia: postmarked by November 3, received no later than November 9

Where ballots won’t count after Election Day

Alabama: postmarked by November 2, received no later than November 3 by 12:00pm

Arizona: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Arkansas: received no later than November 3 by 7:30 pm

Colorado: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Connecticut: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

Delaware: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm  

Florida: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Georgia: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Hawaii: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Idaho: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

Indiana: received no later than November 3 by 12:00pm

Louisiana: received no later than November 2, by 4:30pm

Maine: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

Michigan: received no later than November 3

Missouri: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Montana: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

Nebraska: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm CT and 7:00pm MT

New Hampshire: received no later than November 3 by 5:00 pm

New Mexico: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

North Dakota: received no later than November 2, by 12:00pm

Oklahoma: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

Oregon: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

Rhode Island: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

South Carolina: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm

South Dakota: received no later than November 3

Tennessee: received no later than November 3 by close of polls

Vermont: received no later than November 2, by close of business

Wisconsin: received no later than November 3 by 8:00 pm

Wyoming: received no later than November 3 by 7:00 pm 

In Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Indiana, voters need a reason beyond fear of Covid-19 to request a mail-in ballot.

Last-minute appeals over procedures may change rules by November 3.

AFP Fact Check debunked several misleading and false claims over mail-in voting procedure ahead of the November 3 general election.

US Elections 2020