Friday, June 2, 2023


How can I vote if I’m RVing?

This isn’t a sponsored political ad. In fact, no specific candidate—local or regional—is endorsed here. Your political party affiliation makes no difference whatsoever. The reason for this article? I just realized today that our RVing plans for October and November will find us camping far from our stix-n-brix location on voting day. That means if we intend to vote in the upcoming election, we’ll need to figure out our game plan. Read on to find out how to vote when RVing.

Too important to miss

November 8th is the day when U.S. citizens speak. We speak through our vote. Voting day has always been a very big deal to me. My parents always voted. It was like a sacred duty—a patriotic obligation, never to be taken lightly or dismissed as optional.

As an educator, I taught my students the importance of voting and frequently participated in Scholastic Book’s “students vote” programs. I proudly wore my “I voted!” sticker provided by our local election board. I encouraged my friends and family members to “get out there and vote” as well. Voting was (and still is) too important to miss!

Voting research and how to vote when RVing

Once I realized that our travels would take us away from our local voting location on November 8, I began researching our voting options. Here’s what I discovered:

Absentee voting or voting by mail

  • Interchangeable terms. Absentee voting is synonymous with voting by mail/drop box. According to the U.S. Government website › absentee-voting, it says, “Absentee voting allows you to vote before Election Day by mail or drop box. Although every state has absentee voting, rules on who can take part vary.” (Hmmm. That’s important to find out!)
  • Valid excuse. Many states require you to present a valid reason for wanting to vote absentee. While the list of reasons varies from state to state, most places will recognize “Being on vacation outside of your county or city of residence on Election Day.” (That perfectly describes our situation.)
  • Important deadline. You’ll want to know and follow your state’s absentee ballot deadline. That way you can be sure to get your ballot dropped off or mailed in time. Pay special attention to whether your ballot must be postmarked or received by the elections office at that date. Note that some states also have ballot drop boxes, should you prefer that option.

Early voting

  • Terminology. Depending on the state, early voting is also known as advanced voting or in-person absentee voting. Forty-six states, as well as several U.S. territories, allow for early in-person voting. This means you go in person to a specified location to cast your early vote. (In our situation, that place is our county courthouse.)
  • Time frame for early voting. Most states do not require an excuse to vote early. Some states require the voter to request an absentee ballot to be able to cast an early vote. The time frame for early voting can be as long as 46 days before the election, or as little as three days prior to Election Day. Check with your local election board to discover the early voting time frame for your state.

It’s important

I’m feeling much better now that I know the voting rules for my state and how I can vote when RVing. We plan to cast our early in-person votes at our county courthouse before our RV trip begins. Absentee voting or early voting might seem a bit confusing. If you need assistance, contact your state or local election office. Folks there will be happy to help!


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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7 months ago

Washington State has had mail-in elections statewide since 2011. Most counties have had vote by mail since 2005. We have a family member overnight our ballots to us if we are out of the area.

RV Staff
7 months ago
Reply to  MrDisaster

Hi, MrDisaster. For those who wonder how Vote By Mail works and are concerned about how secure it is, here’s a link to a pdf Vote-By-Mail Fact Sheet from the state of Washington: It explains just how voting by mail works. And here’s a link to FAQs on voting by mail, which also explains how secure this method is: I’ve been voting by mail in Washington since it began. I’m spoiled and wouldn’t want to do it any other way. Have a good night. (And don’t forget to vote. 😉 ) 😀 –Diane

7 months ago

Personally, and this is just my opinion, there should be voting reform in this country. Because of all the accusations of fraud, drop box stuffing and ballot harvesting in the 2020 election, have one day elections, in person with ID, absolutely no absentee or mail-in voting except for the active military on deployment over-seas. You can’t make it to a polling station on that day, you just don’t vote.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago
Reply to  MattD

I agree, Matt. It should be somewhat hard to vote, meaning you have to get up off the couch and physically show up at your polling place. Show your photo ID and vote.

7 months ago
Reply to  MattD

If I am in the hospital or my mom is in assisted living, or just confined to the house, we no longer have US citizen status? That would also leave out 2.4 million people in assisted living or nursing homes, according to some googled sites. I doubt any Party would want to ignore those potential votes.

7 months ago
Reply to  MattD

I think part of the problem was ballots were sent out to everyone, unsolicited. A mail-in ballot should only be sent to those qualified and registered voters that ask for them.

Claudia Trapp
7 months ago

In order to vote by absentee ballot, you need to be somewhere to receive the mail in ballot. We left on our trip before the ballots were mailed and were moving around so couldn’t have anything sent to us. We need to be sure we get home in time to vote now since it is so important. This article didn’t address these concerns for those who are on an extended trip.

Gary Broughton
7 months ago

We have voted absentee or early for 26 years.

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