Contact: Rachel Barnhart: National Media Strategist / (413) 333-5656


  • South Carolina dropped off the list today by expanding absentee ballot access.
  • Six states are not acting to keep voters safe in the pandemic and beyond.
  • RepresentUs is waging a bipartisan national campaign to make Vote by Mail options available in all 50 states.
  • Our interactive tool provides the latest updates on which states offer Vote by Mail options and connects voters to an absentee ballot.

FLORENCE, MASS. (May 14, 2020): After the South Carolina state legislature passed a law signed by Governor Henry McMaster, we are down to the “Slacking Six” states that have so far refused to expand vote by mail options in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. South Carolina, which requires an excuse to vote by mail, will allow all registered voters to use the ongoing coronavirus crisis as a reason to request an absentee ballot for its June 9 primary.

While some states are quickly expanding secure vote-by-mail options, the “Slacking Six” states have yet to take action, forcing voters to choose between their health and exercising the fundamental right to vote.

Here are the “Slacking Six:”







“We applaud South Carolina for allowing all voters to seek absentee ballots for its primary. Other states should take steps to protect voters. This is not a partisan issue,” said Josh Silver, Co-Founder and Director of RepresentUs.

We recognize all states may need more funding to expand Vote by Mail. Congress has so far allocated $400 million to expand vote by mail options and early voting, and improve safety measures, but should add more funding to protect civic participation in the midst of a crisis.

“States are running out of time to expand absentee ballot access. It’s imperative for states to get to work to keep voters safe,” said Silver.

Since RepresentUs first called out states lagging on expanding Vote by Mail, four states — New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, and Kentucky — have joined Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, and West Virginia in making temporary exceptions to increase vote-by-mail options due to COVID. 

Two other states had already broadened absentee voting for some elections below the statewide level: Arkansas and Massachusetts. Virginia made their temporary reforms permanent by enacting legislation that will allow any registered voter to request an absentee ballot.

Vote by Mail is the default in five states: Colorado, Washington, Utah, Hawaii, and Oregon. In the others, most voters have to request an absentee ballot. And in 16 states, voters must provide an excuse to get an absentee ballot. Check out our frequently updated interactive map and tool that connects voters to an absentee ballot in their state.

RepresentUs volunteers have made more than 7,500 calls to state and federal officials to ask for safe vote-by-mail options. They also texted more than 49,000 voters. The RepresentUs petition calling for Vote by Mail has more than 27,000 signatures nationwide.

Silver is available for phone or video interviews about RepresentUs’ campaign to expand Vote by Mail.


RepresentUs is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states to stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.