PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Around election time in Maricopa County, you'll frequently hear the following terms thrown around: early, absentee or mail-in voting.
It sounds confusing and complicated. But it's actually quite simple for Maricopa County voters. All ballots that are cast before election day are early ballots. To get an early ballot, you must first register to vote. Then be sure to request a mail-in ballot by the deadline. You can do that by registering for either a one-time mail-in ballot or to be put on the permanent early voting list (PEVL).
Once you've requested a mail-in ballot, you've got several options
- Complete your ballot at home and then follow one of these steps:
- Mail it: Postmarks don't count so your ballot must make it to election officials by 7 p.m. on November 3. If it doesn't, then your vote will not count.
- Drop it off at an early voting center or drop box before or on election day.
- Vote in person
- Go to an early voting center and vote in person. Your mail-in ballot would then be voided.
- Vote in person at a voting center on election day. Your mail-in ballot would then be voided.
When do early ballots get counted?
In Maricopa County, the recorder's office starts counting early ballots on October 20, 2020.
- In-person early voting begins, ballots mailed: Oct. 7
- Deadline to register to vote: 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15
- Last day to request early (mail-in) ballot: Oct. 23 at 5 p.m.
- USPS Recommendation: Request your mail-in ballot at least 15 days before election day. The USPS stresses the earlier the better.
- Last day to mail back your ballot: Oct. 27
- It's important to know that this is a recommendation.
- In Arizona, postmarks do NOT count. The ballot must be received by the County Elections Officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day, whether it is mailed back or dropped off at a voting location or drop box.
- Maricopa County Voter Dashboard
- Check your voter registration status
- Check your early voter registration status (mail-in ballots)
- Search for voting centers and drop box locations
- Maricopa County: Track your ballot
- All Other Voters: Check to see if your vote was counted
Editor's Notes: The deadline to register to vote has been changed twice since the original article was published. The first change on Oct. 10 reflected a court's decision extending the voter registration deadline to Oct. 23. The change on Oct. 14 reflected a different court's decision to move the deadline to Thursday, Oct 15.