Absentee voting or absentee ballot refers to the method by which a qualified voter who is temporarily absent from his/her place of domicile will be permitted to cast his/her vote in the general elections. It is privilege granted to voters. However, it is not an absolute right of the voter. Absentee voting helps to prevent fraud in elections. It also preserves ballot secrecy.
There are many state specific requirements to qualify for absentee voting. For example, in Arkansas to be qualified to vote an absentee ballot, one of the following criteria must be met :
- the person will be unavoidably absent from polling site on election day, or
- the person will be unable to attend the polling site on election day due to illness or physical disability, or
- the person is a member of the U.S. armed forces, merchant marines or the spouse or a dependant family member, or
- the person is a U.S. citizen domiciled in Arkansas but temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States.