Ballots received after Election Day are legally valid in many states and will be counted.

The Facts

Many states will accept and count ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if they are received after November 3rd. While some states extended the deadline for ballot receipt in response to the pandemic, there is a long history of states accepting postmarked ballots. This is especially true for overseas and military voters, who may have an even longer window to return their ballots than domestic voters in some jurisdictions.

Ongoing litigation in a few states may impact how those specific jurisdictions handle ballots that arrive after Election Day. However, this does not change the underlying reality that many states have accepted ballots received after Election Day in previous election cycles, and such deadlines are written into state law. 

Find out your state’s rules for ballot receipt at

Last updated Tuesday, November 3, 2020 10:50 AM EST

Trusted Sources

Absentee and Mail Voting Policies in Effect for the 2020 Election →