COVID-19 had a major impact on how some states administered the 2020 election and little effect on others. Using a new dataset, we identify the options states introduced to make voting safer, the measures they took to encourage voters to use these options, and the options’ effects on voter turnout. We show that most states introduced few, if any, significant changes in voting policies. We identify relationships between the states’ responses and preexisting election policies, party control of government, and other state characteristics. We also demonstrate the introduction of safe voting options had an effect on aggregate voter turnout. The results give insights into factors that influence election policymaking and the prospects for future election reforms.