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Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Best Practices

Accepting ballots received after Election Day if they’re postmarked by Election Day can reduce rejection rates and increase voter confidence. Many states already have postmark acceptance for overseas and military voters, and should expand it to all voters. When implementing this policy, it’s important policymakers give sufficient time for ballots that arrive after Election Day to still be processed and counted. National Vote at Home Institute recommends providing at least three days post-election for these ballots to be accepted.

Why It's Important

  • Reduces rejection rates. Simply put, postmark acceptance allows more voices to be heard in our electoral process. States that have implemented postmark acceptance experience lower mail ballot rejection rates as it significantly reduces the probability of ballots arriving after Election Day from being disqualified.
  • Safeguards against unavoidable delays. Accepting postmarks can provide safeguards and ensure a voter’s ballot is considered if there is a mailing delay due to no fault of the voter (i.e., natural disaster, postal issues, etc.).
  • Increases trust in voting by mail. By accepting postmarked ballots, people can vote by mail with confidence that their ballot will arrive at the elections office and be counted.

Relevant Research

Example Statutes

Election Day Postmark Acceptance Across the US

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