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Vision 2020: Are absentee votes and mail-in votes different?

Election officials say resources are available to help make an informed choice prior to casting a vote in the November general election. (PHOTO: John Wojcik KSL NewsRadio)

What’s the difference between absentee voting and mail voting?

There really isn’t any difference between absentee voting and mail voting. Both refer to the practice of filling out ballots that are sent to voters through the mail and returned either that way or at drop boxes or other designated places to deposit ballots.

The problem is that some states call ballots that people request through the mail “mail ballots.” Others call them absentee ballots. Both versions of ballots are processed and counted the same way. The two terms are used interchangeably with no legal distinction.
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Vision 2020 is a new series from the AP dedicated to answering commonly asked questions from our audience about the 2020 U.S. presidential election. AP’s Advance Voting guide brings you the facts about voting early, by mail or absentee from each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020/