Vote by mail (VBM)

1. Method of voting by which eligible voters are mailed ballots and information packets by the local election jurisdiction. Voters may be able to return their marked ballots by mail, bring them to an election office, or drop them off in secure drop boxes.

Source: Election Terminology Glossary - Draft, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),; Information Technology Terminology, U.S. Election Assistance Commission,

2. This term refers to a voting system where voters may request ballots by mail, with the expectation that these ballots will then be returned by mail. While this model is standard among many states for their absentee voters, increasingly states are opting to provide multiple in-person return options for voters, such as official, secure drop sites and staffed vote centers, making VBM a potential misnomer.

Source: Vote at Home: Policy and Research Guide, National Vote at Home Institute,

3. A remote voting channel whereby voters receive their ballot and associated voting material by mail, mark the ballot independently, and return it to the election administration by mail (some jurisdictions permit the voter or a representative to pick up and/or return the ballot in person; also known as mail ballot voting in British Columbia local government elections.

Source: Independent Panel on Internet Voting, British Columbia,