Voting in the United States has always been complicated. The deadlines and rules vary in every state. On top of that, it’s difficult to find out key information, and the alterations made to the voting process may go unnoticed by most people until it’s time for them to do their civic duty.

However, voting this year will bring a whole new level of challenge for all of us. With the continuous rise of the COVID-19 cases and the threat of spreading the virus, the 2020 presidential elections have made voters and officials nationwide struggle more.

A lot of states changed their election dates and how they will conduct a more proper voting activity because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Some of them consolidated in-person voting locations because they can’t recruit a lot of poll workers, while others implemented mail-in elections for convenience and to keep everyone safe.

With just two weeks until November 3, here are the major ways mail-in voting has been more preferred and accessible for the upcoming Election Day:

Mail-in voting rules were either relaxed or expanded by different states

This type of voting is considered the most secure and convenient way to vote since the COVID-19 outbreak.

More than 30 states, and the District of Columbia, made some alterations that will make it easier for registered voters to enter their ballots from home. Some of these changes include:

  • Allowing COVID-19 concerns as valid reasons to become an absentee voter
  • Offering prepaid postage on election mail
  • Sending registered voters an application that requests an absentee ballot
  • Allowing ballot drop boxes

The 31 states are: 

  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If your state isn’t listed above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that voters in your area will have a hard time casting their mail-in ballots.

Before the election cycle this year, some states – including Colorado, Washington, Arizona, and Florida – have predominantly voted via mail-in polls. On top of that, voters in these states were already familiar with the system. Thus, there’s no need for them to change the laws and rules.

A few states, on the other hand, require voters to present a notary signature or have a witness before officials consider their returned absentee ballots. North Carolina and Rhode Island are two of those states.