The 2020 U.S. election saw a record turnout, saw a huge increase in absentee voting, and brought unified national Democratic control — yet these facts alone do not imply that vote-by-mail increased turnout or benefited Democrats. Using new microdata on millions of individual voters and aggregated turnout data across all 50 states, this paper offers a causal analysis of the impact of absentee vote-by-mail during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic. Focusing on natural experiments in Texas and Indiana, we find that 65-year-olds voted at nearly the same rate as 64-year-olds, despite the fact that only 65-year-olds could vote absentee without an excuse. Being just old enough to vote no-excuse absentee did not substantially increase Democratic turnout relative to Republican turnout. Voter interest appeared to be more important in driving turnout across vote modes, neutralizing the electoral impact of Democrats voting by mail at higher rates during the historic pandemic.