The Submerged Constitutional Right to an Absentee Ballot

In an attempt to accommodate the growing number of people who cannot be present at the polls on election day, many states and the federal government have enacted statutes that allow voters to cast their ballots in advance of the election either by mail or in person. Eligibility for these absentee ballots is, however, restricted to those voters who fall within the classifications set up by the statute, and occasionally the option is open only to those who wish to vote in general elections. The few court decisions that have reviewed state absentee-ballot legislation, or the lack of such legislation, have not shed much light on the constitutional validity of present eligibility schemes.