No, most people cannot vote online in U.S. federal elections

Some states have online voting portals for overseas citizens and/or people with disabilities. Online voting is not an option for anyone else.
Credit: AP
Members of the Orthodox Jewish community wait in line for their ballot papers at a polling center on, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Election Day is underway for the 2022 midterm elections, in which every member of the House of Representatives, 35 Senators and countless state officials are on the ballot across the country.

Many people are heading to their polling place, or have already voted through mail-in or absentee ballots. But many others went to Google to ask whether they can vote online, and whether there are options for the general population to cast an online vote.  


Can most people vote online in U.S. federal elections?



This is false.

Most people cannot vote online in U.S. federal elections. There are only exceptions for overseas voters and voters with disabilities in some states.


For the vast majority of the U.S. population, there is no way to vote online in U.S. federal elections. Voters must vote in person at a polling place, by mail or at a ballot drop-off site, per their state’s election rules.

“No, in federal elections in the U.S. you cannot vote online,” says, the U.S. government’s official guide to government information and services. “In most U.S. elections, you either need to vote in-person at an official polling place or by casting an absentee ballot.”

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This answer applies to most voters across the United States. But there is a very small pool of voters who do have an option to vote online.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) says voters protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, often called UOCAVA voters, are allowed to return their ballots electronically in 31 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In most of these states, that means UOCAVA voters can return their ballot by fax or email. But in seven of these states, UOCAVA voters can submit their vote through an online portal.

The states that allow UOCAVA voters to submit their vote through an online portal are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Four of those states — Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina and West Virginia — allow certain voters with disabilities to vote online. Additionally, Utah County, Utah, is piloting the use of a smartphone app for some voters with disabilities.

But this group of voters allowed to vote online is an incredibly small part of the population. For example, out of 802,726 ballots cast in West Virginia during the 2020 election, 1,562 of them were cast electronically and the state did not break down which of those votes were by email, fax or the online portal. That’s 0.2% of the total vote.  

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