I was looking up absentee voting laws in different states after hearing something on the news and saw this: https://ballotpedia.org/Absentee_voting
It divides the US states into three groups based on the circumstances under which one can cast an absentee ballot:
- Excuse required.
- No excuse required.
- All-mail voting.
In a formal context like the law, I don't think "excuse" has much of a negative connotation if any, but most of the time people seem to use it to mean "weak excuse" or "flimsy excuse".
Is there a word with a neutral connotation, similar to "explanation", but with the implication that someone has been granted a privilege or relieved of an obligation?