ABSENTEE BALLOT. State law permits voters to cast ballots by mail when they are physically unable to go to the polls. Usually age, illness, or absence from the county on election day is sufficient to qualify for an absentee ballot. In most states self-declaration is all that is required. Years ago, the absentee ballot request had to be notarized and written medical justification was required. Laws have become more liberal in recent years. For example, in the state of Washington the elderly and the disabled are placed on a permanent absentee voter list and are sent ballots in the mail without having to make a formal request. The absentee voter needs to meet state registration requirements. The number of absentee ballots cast in elections has been increasing.
Absentee votes can determine the outcome of an election. Political parties spend time and money cultivating absentee voters by sending previous absentee voters applications for future elections along with a party slate card. Recently, the state of Oregon initiated vote-by-mail elections. See:REGISTRATION, VOTER; VOTE-BY-MAIL.
Reference: Richard Smolka and Ronald Michaelson, "Election Legislation", in The Book of the States, Vol. 30 ( Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 1994).
ADAMS, JOHN ( 1735-1826) was born in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 30, 1735, graduated from Harvard in 1755, and "read" the law, subsequently taking up its practice in 1758. Early on adopting the patriot cause, he was elected in 1774 to the first continental congress, where two years later he was assigned to the committee given responsibility for drafting the Declaration of Independence. At the further assignment of the continental congress Adams was to devote more than a decade ( 1777-1788) to various European