Five states have now fully adopted all-mail elections: Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii. And according to the EAC’s 2018 data, mail accounted for a majority of votes in four other states, all in the West: Arizona (78 percent), Montana (73 percent), New Mexico (65 percent) and California (60 percent). The next highest state was Florida (32 percent), which relies heavily on both mail and in-person early voting.
But in the 40 other states and the District of Columbia, mail-in ballots accounted for just nine percent of all votes cast in 2018, while 70 percent of the vote was cast on Election Day. And some of the states with the lowest mail-in shares are some of the highest-stakes in the Electoral College: North Carolina (3 percent), Pennsylvania (4 percent), Wisconsin (6 percent), Georgia (6 percent) and Texas (7 percent).
Of the nation’s largest states, Texas has the most stringent absentee laws: it limits mail ballots to those who are either over age 65, plan to be absent from their county on Election Day, are disabled by a “sickness or physical condition,” or are jailed. State District Judge Tim Sulak has issued an injunction adding fear of contracting COVID-19 as a qualifying reason vote by mail, but the state’s GOP attorney general is expected to oppose that in an appeal and all nine of the state’s Supreme Court justices are Republicans.