Voting from college: How to turn in your ballot from out-of-state

Mail-in ballots are shown in a sorting tray in King County, WA. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

BYU students from all 50 states can submit an absentee ballot to their home state in November to participate in the general election, all while still residing in Utah. 

If a student is living in a different state than where they are registered to vote, the government allows all students to mail in their ballot to their home state.

The student must be registered to vote in their home state and request their ballot be mailed to their college address. Each state has a different registration deadline for mail-in voting.

“If you need your ballot sent somewhere other than your usual address, contact your local election office at least one month before the election so you have time to receive the ballot,” says. 

Each state has varying absentee voting instructions, and this year also has some different rules because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In some states, all registered voters will be mailed an absentee ballot because of COVID-19. For example, California will mail all voters a mail-in ballot before the general election by an executive order from its governor to protect public health. 

Registered voters in Washington, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon will also automatically receive an absentee ballot. 

Residents of other states have to apply for an absentee vote, which can be done online. For example, registered voters in Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and Wyoming have to apply for an absentee ballot online. To apply, students have to say why they need a mail-in ballot, and as a result, the state will send a mail-in ballot.

Deadlines for mail-in ballots for each of the 50 states vary, but most ballots must be received in the home state by the evening of Nov. 3. Students should plan to send ballots well in advance so ballots are received and counted.

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