If you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, you may be able to vote in person ahead of time.
Although voting early isn’t allowed in every state, most states have a process in place that lets registered voters cast their ballots early at specific locations.
A SIMPLE SUMMARY
Early voting allows you to vote in person at a location in the county you’re registered in, sometimes even a month before Election Day.
You usually don’t need to supply a reason for voting early, but it may be a little more difficult and require more planning than voting on Election Day. We’ve outlined the steps below.
Sorry, but there’s no such thing as late voting.
Ok, So How Do I Vote Early?
Voting early follows many of the same steps you’d take as if you were voting on Election Day, but just a few days early. Here are some of the things you’ll want to be sure to do:
- Register to vote at your current address before the deadline in your state. Note that this will be the address that determines what local candidates and ballot measures will be on your ballot. It also determines where your early voting location will be.
- Find your early voting polling place and check the hours it is open for early voting. Not only may your polling place be different for voting early, the hours the location is open may vary too! Research is key to a smooth voting experience.
- Check the ID requirements for your state and bring those documents with you on the day you vote.
- Take a peek at the sample ballot so you can research what you’ll be voting on when you arrive at the polling place.
early voting faq
Voting at an early voting poll site may be slightly different from the way you would have voted on Election Day, but the process is essentially the same. For example, there may be electronic poll books instead of paper registration books. (These poll books are how polling places determine who is registered to vote.) You will still be expected to sign in, receive a ballot, complete the ballot, and feed the ballot into a scanner for counting. A sample ballot should be posted at your poll site.
Often, your polling place for early voting will be different from your normal polling place. It’s important to check your early voting location ahead of time, but easy to accomplish with charts provided by your state’s website.
In most states you don’t need to pre-register or sign up for an early voting time. Simply show up to your early voting polling place with any required ID during hours specified on your state’s website and request an early voting ballot.
Voting early means actually going to a polling place to cast a ballot. Voting by mail is a system that many states have adopted that allows all registered voters to cast their ballots via mail. In some states, this is the default or most common way of voting. Voting by mail is synonymous with the phrase Absentee Voting.READ MORE ABOUT VOTING BY MAIL