Absentee/mail-in voting witness requirements in the 2020 general election

Heading into the Nov. 3 general election, six states are expected to require absentee/mail-in voters to obtain the signature of a witness or notary in order to have their ballots counted. They are:

  • Alabama: Two witnesses or one notary
  • Alaska: One witness
  • Mississippi: Notary or other officer authorized to administer oaths
  • Missouri: Notary or other officer authorized to administer oaths
  • North Carolina: One witness
  • Wisconsin: One witness

Six states have suspended, reduced, or otherwise modified statutory or regulatory witness/notary requirements, as election officials prepare for an anticipated record-high number of absentee/mail-in ballots. They are:

  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina (reduced from two witnesses to one)
  • Oklahoma (voters can submit copies of their identification in lieu of having their ballots notarized)
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

Witness/notary requirements have been subject to litigation throughout 2020. Further changes to these procedures are possible as the general election approaches.

Additional reading
Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to COVID-19
Changes to absentee/mail-in voting procedures in response to COVID-19