This election is shaping up to be a record-breaker in the number of Americans who will be voting by mail.
Millions have made early ballot requests despite concerns some have about mail-in voting — and as President Donald Trump continues to stoke baseless fears about election integrity, though there is no widespread fraud in US elections and voting by mail is very secure.
But what happens after you fill out your ballot and put it back in the mail — or in an official drop-box? According to a CNN review, 45 states and the District of Columbia allow you to track your ballot just like an Amazon package or food delivery.
How ballot tracking works
Each ballot gets a specific number: Most states, with the help of USPS, send ballots envelopes with a unique set of numbers for each individual voter. Those numbers are often known as Intelligent Mail Barcodes, which allow the Postal Service to track the ballot.
You can register to track them: They also enable states and localities to use ballot-tracking websites. The tracking technology isn’t automatic, though — you’ll have to register through your state’s voter website to be able to track your ballot. You’ll also have to enter some basic information into the website, including your name, birthday and zip code.
The tracking sites vary in what they do: Some states show updates for each step of the mail-in voting process, while others simply indicate a ballot has been “sent” or “accepted” by local election officials.
In some cases, this technology can also be used to notify voters when there’s an issue with sending or accepting their ballot, giving you notice to fix it before it’s too late.
The states that have ballot tracking technology
Here’s a list of each state’s deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot, as well as which states offer ballot tracking.
Alabama: October 29
Alaska: October 24
Arizona: October 23
Arkansas: November 2
California: No request needed — all registered voters will be mailed ballots
Colorado: No request needed — all registered voters will be mailed ballots
Connecticut: November 2 No ballot tracking available
Delaware: October 30
District of Columbia: No request needed — ballots are automatically mailed to active voters
Florida: November 3 (Track your ballot here)
Georgia: October 30
Hawaii: No request needed — ballots automatically sent to all voters
Idaho: November 3
Illinois: November 2 No ballot tracking available
Indiana: October 22
Iowa: October 24
Kansas: October 27
Kentucky: October 9
Maine: October 29
Maryland: October 20
Massachusetts: October 28
Michigan: October 30
Minnesota: November 2
Mississippi: October 31
Missouri: October 21 No ballot tracking available
Montana: November 2
Nebraska: October 23
Nevada: No request needed — ballots are automatically sent to active voters
New Hampshire: November 2
New Jersey: No request needed — ballots are automatically mailed to all active voters who register by October 5
New Mexico: October 20
New York: October 27
North Carolina: October 27
North Dakota: November 2
Ohio: October 31
Oklahoma: October 27
Oregon: No request needed — ballots automatically sent to all voters
Pennsylvania: October 27
Rhode Island: October 13
South Carolina: October 30
South Dakota: November 2
Tennessee: October 27
Texas: October 23 No ballot tracking available
Utah: No request needed — ballots automatically sent to all voters
Vermont: No request needed — ballots automatically sent to all voters
Virginia: October 23
Washington: No request needed — ballots automatically sent to all voters
West Virginia: October 28
Wisconsin: October 29
Wyoming: November 2
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