How To Check If Your Vote Was Counted

Monica Torres
·Reporter, Work/Life
·8 min read
Most Americans have options for checking their mail-in ballot status in the 2020 election. (Photo: smartboy10 via Getty Images)
Most Americans have options for checking their mail-in ballot status in the 2020 election. (Photo: smartboy10 via Getty Images)

Once you vote in the 2020 presidential election, how do you check to make sure your ballot has been counted? This answer varies depending on where you live and how you voted.

There is no standardized national system for tracking whether a ballot was counted. The ballot tracking landscape is a “mess, because it’s 50 different systems, and within each of those 50 systems, there [are] county registrars, so everybody has slightly different methods,” said Jessica Levinson, a professor and expert on election laws at Loyola Law School.

When you vote in person, you can see your vote be submitted and it’s “a fair bet” that your ballot will count, Levinson said.

Paul Mitchell, vice president of the California voting data firm Political Data Inc., noted that it’s incredibly rare for an in-person vote to be discarded in his state: “If you vote in person, the only thing that could happen is a meteor could strike your polling place five minutes after you leave, and then your vote wouldn’t get counted.”

As such, no state offers ballot tracking for in-person voting.

But when you mail in your vote, you don’t see it being processed and there’s more opportunity for mistakes to be made, so most states offer some form of confirmation for those ballots.

“People are worried about vote-by-mail because they’re not the ones physically putting it in somebody’s hands or putting it in the box, and I think that’s why the tracking is so much more robust,” Levinson said.

By and large, mail-in votes end up counting. Nearly 92% of returned mail-in ballots were counted in the 2018 general election, according to a survey by the federal Election Assistance Commission. Among the most common reasons ballots were rejected were that the voter was not actually registered to vote; the ballot was missing an important document, such as an affidavit; the ballot was not received in time; the signature on the ballot did not match the signature on file; or the ballot lacked a voter’s signature.

Sometimes people can only vote a provisional ballot at their polling site, and these ballots often need follow-up from either the voter or election officials. If this happens to you, ask your local election official to explain how you can check to see if your provisional vote was counted or rejected. A written explanation is your legal right under the Help America Vote Act.

If you want to double-check the status of your vote, here are your options by state and the District of Columbia:

Alabama

You can check the status of your absentee ballot online. If you have further questions, contact your local election office.

Alaska

Track your absentee ballot status at myvoterinformation.alaska.gov.

Arizona

The Grand Canyon State offers both absentee and provisional ballot tracking at my.arizona.vote, and some counties go a step further. In Maricopa County, for example, you can sign up for text updates on your mail-in ballot.

Arkansas

View ballot status by entering your name and date of birth at the Arkansas elections website.

California

You can look up your mail-in ballot status and also sign up to get text or email notifications as information is updated.

Colorado

Colorado offers status updates and alerts for mail-in ballots.

Connecticut

See if and when your absentee ballot was received.

Delaware

The state offers look-up service for both absentee and provisional ballots.

District of Columbia

In D.C., you can check your absentee ballot status online. If you are asked to cast a special ballot, check its status here.

Florida

The Sunshine State offers tracking for mail-in ballots. For help with provisional ballots, contact your local elections office.

Georgia

Both absentee and provisional ballots can be tracked at the state’s “My Voter Page.”

Hawaii

Residents can head to ballotstatus.hawaii.gov to see if their mail-in vote was received.

Idaho

Enter your info in Idaho’s voter record tool to check your mail-in ballot status.

Illinois

Although some counties use mail-in ballot tracking software (Cook County has portals for both suburban residents and those in the city of Chicago), Illinois offers statewide tracking only for provisional ballots. Check your local election authority for absentee ballot tracking information.

Indiana

Check if your ballot was received and counted with Indiana’s “My Voter Portal.”

Iowa

Absentee ballot tracking is available for the entire state. Contact your county auditor for questions about provisional ballots.

Kansas

Kansas offers tracking for mail-in ballots.

Kentucky

Nervous about your absentee ballot? Check its status with a statewide tool.

Louisiana

The state’s “Geaux Vote” portal offers tracking information for mail-in ballots.

Maine

The Pine Tree State has a statewide tool for tracking absentee ballots.

Maryland

You can check the status of your mail-in or provisional ballot. Provisional ballot status will be made available 10 days after the election.

Massachusetts

Find out if your mail-in vote was rejected or accepted at trackmyballotma.com. You can check if a provisional ballot was counted by calling 1-800-462-VOTE after Election Day.

Michigan

You can track the status of your absentee ballot. For provisional ballots, Michigan recommends contacting your city or township clerk’s office.

Minnesota

You can see if your mail-in ballot was received and counted. Minnesota, one of the few states with same-day voter registration, is not required to offer provisional ballots.

Mississippi

Mississippi does not use statewide ballot tracking software. If you have doubts about your vote counting, contact your county election official.

Missouri

Although some jurisdictions offer tracking for mail-in ballots, including the city of St. Louis and Calhoun County, Missouri does not have statewide ballot tracking.

Montana

Track your mail-in ballot status at app.mt.gov/voterinfo.

Nebraska

Nebraska offers mail-in ballot status in its voter information tool.

Nevada

The state’s Ballottrax site provides tracking information and the opportunity to sign up for text or email alerts when your mail-in ballot is received and counted. Provisional ballot status will be made available eight days after Election Day and remain available for 30 days. Call (877) 766-8683 to find out your provisional ballot status, according to Nevada’s explainer.

New Hampshire

You can find out when your ballot was received from the clerk’s office.

New Jersey

For the presidential election, in-person votes will be cast by provisional ballot. “All voters can call 1-877-NJVOTER after the election to find out whether their vote by mail or provisional ballot was counted or the reason it was rejected,” the state’s voter information portal explains.

New Mexico

Absentee ballot tracking is available.

New York

The state of New York doesn’t offer absentee ballot tracking, but New York City and Albany County do. Check your county’s election office.

North Carolina

There’s one system for checking absentee ballot status and another for viewing provisional ballot status.

North Dakota

Mail-in ballots can be tracked at a statewide portal.

Ohio

Ohio offers statewide tracking for mail-in ballots.

Oklahoma

Check the status of absentee ballots at ok.gov/elections/OVP.html.

Oregon

Oregon mails a ballot to every registered voter. They can be tracked at the state’s “My Vote Now” site.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will be the first and only state to disqualify mail-in ballots that aren’t enclosed in a second secrecy envelope ― and the state initially offered no chance for voters to fix that rejection. Now, voters who returned one of these so-called “naked ballots” will be able to vote a provisional ballot on Election Day, the secretary of state’s office told HuffPost. Pennsylvania offers tracking for mail-in ballots, but there are some quirks you should know about as the system is old and relies on confusing language.

Rhode Island

Check the status of your mail-in ballot at vote.sos.ri.gov.

South Carolina

You can track to see if your absentee ballot has been received, but the state reportedly has no plans to display whether that vote was accepted.

South Dakota

South Dakota’s tracking website will show the date an absentee ballot was received, but not if it was accepted or rejected, the state told HuffPost.

Tennessee

Mail-in ballots can be tracked in Tennessee.

Texas

Ballot tracking is only available for voters who live overseas or serve in the military.

Utah

The state says people whose votes are rejected will be contacted with instructions on how to fix the problem, but voters can also check the status of both mail-in and provisional ballots at vote.utah.gov.

Vermont

Check the status of your mail-in ballot at mvp.vermont.gov.

Virginia

Head to elections.virginia.gov to track a mail-in vote.

Washington

Enter your name and birthdate at the state’s voter information portal and you can see if your ballot reached its destination.

West Virginia

In the Mountain State, you can track the status of both absentee and provisional ballots.

Wisconsin

Voters in Wisconsin can view their election history and track absentee ballots.

Wyoming

Contact your county clerk for information,” says the website of the Wyoming Secretary of State. The state does publish a single list tracking the ballot status of military and overseas voters, listed by voter ID number.

Janie Campbell contributed reporting.

Language in the section on Pennsylvania has been updated to explain what a voter who omitted the second secrecy envelope on their mailed-in ballot can do to fix that problem.

Related...

Companies Giving Time Off To Vote Is A Good Start, But It's Not Enough

Change Your Mind About A Mail-In Ballot Vs. In-Person Voting? Here’s What To Do.

What Is A Provisional Ballot, Anyway?

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.