How long does early voting last in each state?
With fears over covid-19, accusations of voter fraud and a high-stakes Presidential Election on the horizon record numbers are utilising early voting.
The circumstances of the 2020 Presidential Election are unlike no other in American history and with less than three weeks to go until 3 November, a record-breaking number have already made their voices heard. As of 14 October, 14 million Americans had cast their votes thanks to a huge upsurge in the number utilising early voting options.
Over 80 million Americans will be able to use mail-in ballots in this election but with the President repeatedly claiming that postal voting can lead to fraud, millions are choosing to exercise their democratic right in person. With long queues expected on Election Day many have decided to get in early and cast their votes now.
“The numbers are pretty staggering for us and the return rates and the polling look good,” Democratic operative Steve Schale told Politico. “But there’s just a lot we don’t know.”
Each state, and in some cases each county, is able to decide their own early voting regulations with some offering more flexibility than others. Here’s our breakdown of the early voting deadlines in some key states.
When does early voting begin?
The first states to allow early voting were Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming who all opened their polling station doors on 18 September. Wyoming’s is technically an in-person absentee voting, designed for people who are not able to attend on Election Day.
As of 16 October, voters in New Jersey and Virginia (19 September); Illinois (24 September); Maine (4 October); California, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska (5 October); Indiana and Ohio (6 October); Arizona (7 October); Georgia (12 October); Texas (13 October); Kansas and Tennessee (14 October); North Carolina (15 October); and Washington (16 October) will be able to cast their votes in person.
When does early voting close?
The vast majority of states draw a distinction between early voting and votes cast on Election Day, meaning that polling stations close ahead of 3 November. The closing dates vary between states but voters in Louisiana should be particularly wary as their state has the earliest: ending on 27 October, a week before the election.
The next earliest are Maryland, Maine and Tennessee whose early voting facilities will be closed from 29 October, while in-person absentee voting in Alabama also ends that day.
The only state not to close for a period after early voting is Washington, who continue straight through to Election Day. Voters in Washington will be able to cast their vote in any official vote centre from 16 October all the way until 8pm on 3 November.
For further details on the early voting rules in your state, the National Conference of State Legislators provides a full list.