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Are absentee votes and mail-in votes different?

Max Pepper/CNN

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

What’s the difference between absentee voting and mail voting? There really isn’t any difference. 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.

President Donald Trump has claimed that absentee balloting is fine, while mail balloting is not. Absentee voting, the president sometimes argues, means someone has to request a ballot as opposed to automatically getting one in the mail, which he calls mail voting.

All states offer voters the chance to cast absentee ballots if they can't make it to the polls on Election Day; some states call this process vote-by-mail. Other states offer universal mail-in voting, which is largely the same thing on a larger scale.

To Vote Absentee…

Voters must request a ballot from the local or state office that administers elections. Some states require a valid excuse for why you cannot vote on Election Day, while others offer "no-excuse" absentee voting.

With Mail-In Voting…

Election administrators send ballots to every registered voter in the jurisdiction before Election Day. Several states do this for all elections, while others have adopted it in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Both Cases…

Voters sign and return their ballots by mail, or to elections offices or designated drop boxes if provided. State deadlines vary for when a ballot must be received to be counted.

Envelopes are opened by elections officials, who verify the voter's signature against one on file. Ballots are separated from envelopes and processed; states have varying timelines for when ballots may be opened and tabulated.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 709455

Reported Deaths: 13234
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion967001722
Lake51824946
Allen39279673
Hamilton34580406
St. Joseph34207541
Elkhart27376432
Vanderburgh22091394
Tippecanoe21886212
Porter17952299
Johnson17556374
Hendricks16837310
Clark12705190
Madison12358337
Vigo12226244
Monroe11484166
LaPorte11175204
Delaware10374184
Howard9677211
Kosciusko9152114
Hancock8000139
Bartholomew7896155
Warrick7698155
Floyd7567176
Wayne6910198
Grant6852171
Boone6562100
Morgan6404138
Dubois6086117
Marshall5792109
Dearborn570776
Cass5689102
Henry5582101
Noble542683
Jackson493970
Shelby479895
Lawrence4347118
Gibson429089
Harrison428970
Clinton420253
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DeKalb412184
Whitley381439
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Miami373265
Knox367089
Steuben366657
Putnam353360
Jasper351346
Wabash347878
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Jefferson313280
White308554
Daviess289699
Wells286681
Decatur279192
Fayette277362
Greene270785
Posey269133
Scott261553
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Clay253545
Randolph235880
Washington231131
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Jennings225147
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Sullivan207942
Starke205452
Owen192656
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Jay186429
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