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5 States with New Absentee Ballot Rules Voters Need to Know

by Joshua Alvarez, published

As the 2014 general election season comes into view, absentee voters in some states will participate in the voting process under new rules. Here’s a rundown of new absentee ballot rules for Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Ohio.


Colorado has shifted to an all-mail voting system. Voters still have the option of voting in person, but the vast majority choose to mail in their vote. In 2012, before the new rules were passed, 74 percent of Coloradans voted by mail. Mail voting, naturally, applies to absentee ballots as well. 


In November, Republican Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued an order that absentee voters could only send their ballots to an election supervisor’s office. Prior to the rule being implemented, absentee voters were allowed to drop off their ballots at designated sites, including libraries and tax collector’s offices. 


Minnesota is heading into the 2014 general election season with a set of new voting rules, including a “no excuses” absentee voting law. A “no excuses” rule means voters do not have to provide a legally-recognized excuse to receive an absentee ballot. Minnesota became the twenty-seventh state to enact “no excuses” rules (D.C. also has “no excuses” rules).

North Carolina

North Carolina was one of several states that passed a slew of new voter lD laws immediately after the Supreme Court threw out a provision from the Voting Rights Act that established the formula for preclearance. Included in the new laws passed by a GOP-controlled government are provisions that require absentee voters to include an ID number on their ballots and shortens the in-person absentee voting period from 17 days to 10 days. 


Earlier this year, Ohio passed a law prohibiting county boards of election from sending out unsolicited absentee ballot applications. It also stipulates that the Ohio secretary of state can send out absentee ballots statewide, but only if lawmakers appropriate money to pay for the mailing. 

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