United States Election Assistance Comittee

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Know the difference between Absentee and Early Voting

from: Jessica Myers on Oct 04, 2012

What is the difference between Absentee and Early Voting?

As we approach Election Day, we thought it would be good to review absentee voting and early voting. We often receive questions about what makes these two methods of voting different.  The short answer is: each state’s requirements.

Each state has its own laws and regulations governing the election administration process. Some states allow for absentee voting- generally by mail- if a voter provides an excuse as to why they cannot vote on Election Day. Other states provide what is known as “No Excuse” absentee voting, which allows voters, based on each state’s requirements, to request an absentee ballot without stating a reason why they are unable to vote in person at a polling place on Election Day.

In some cases, instead of receiving a ballot by mail for absentee voting, voters can request an absentee ballot in person and vote it in person or mail it back to their local election office.

Certain states allow for early voting which allows qualified voters to cast a ballot in person. Early Voting set up differs from state to state (in those that allow it), but provides designated location(s) and specific times for voters to cast ballots prior to Election Day.

Frequently, the timeframe allotted for absentee voting and early voting overlap, which is part of what makes understanding the difference between the two a bit more difficult.

Also, keep in mind that Absentee Ballot Request Deadlines are swiftly approaching. Contact your state or county for information about deadlines.

If you have additional information or questions, please contact Jessica Myers at jmyers@eac.gov or via Twitter (@EACgov).


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10/4/2012 1:38:00 PM
Know the difference between Absentee and Early Voting

As Election Day approaches, we thought it would be good to review the difference between absentee voting and early voting