Have some plans on Tuesday, Nov. 6, that will keep you away from home base all day? No worries — there's still time for you to get an absentee ballot in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware.
There's a lot on the line during this year's midterm elections, so you'll want to make sure you aren't missing any important deadlines if you want a say in who will be representing you in national and local governments.
Below, you'll find some useful information if you're planning on voting absentee. But before you can even consider that option, you'll want to make sure you're registered to vote by your state's deadline.
What is absentee voting?
Casting an absentee vote is an option for those who wish to vote but aren't physically able to make it out to the polls.
Do all states have absentee voting?
Yes, but not every state is the same. There are three basic ways that states have in place to allow voters to cast their ballot ahead of Election Day, including early voting, absentee voting and mail voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that works to improve state legislatures.
What about Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware?
In Pennsylvania, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot if you are registered to vote and are a college student, have a physical disability or illness, a member of the military, have a work conflict, are on vacation, or are celebrating a religious holiday or occasion. Pennsylvania's "Votes PA" website outlines more specific information on eligibility.
In New Jersey, all registered voters are able to vote by mail.
In Delaware, you can cast an absentee ballot if you're registered to vote and are in the military, your schooling or job prevents you from making it to the polls on Election Day, you're sick or physically disabled, you're on vacation, or the "tenets or teachings of your religion prevent you from coming to the polls." Delaware further outlines its rules and regulations for voting by absentee ballot in a pamphlet found online.
Vote.org also has a handy state-by-state breakdown on how absentee voting works in each state.
When are deadlines to request an absentee ballot?
In Pennsylvania, voters have until Oct. 30 to apply for an absentee ballot, while New Jersey voters will need to make sure their county clerk gets their "application for vote by mail ballot" seven days before the election. Voters can also apply in person until 3 p.m. the day before the election, according to the New Jersey Department of State.
Voters in Delaware have until Nov. 2 to request an absentee ballot from the Department of Elections.
When do I have to return the ballot?
In Pennsylvania, you'll have to return your absentee ballot by 5 p.m. Nov. 2. Members of the military and those voting overseas will need to make sure their ballot is postmarked by Nov. 5.
New Jersey voters can hand in their ballots by the time the polls close or have them postmarked by Nov. 6, according to NJ.com. Delaware offices will need to receive absentee ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day, as outlined in the state's voter deadline calendar.