The general election is on Nov. 3, but voting has begun in many states.
The popularity of early voting has grown, and now 39 states plus the District of Columbia offer voters the option of casting ballots in advance of the general election.
While voting is early, ballots are cast at a traditional polling place, or by using a paper ballot that is submitted to a person’s city or country election office.
According to a recent survey, more than half of those polled say they intend to vote early this year. While 33% said they will be voting by mail, 19% said they plan to vote early in person. Thirty-three percent say they will vote in person on Election Day, and the rest say they might not vote at all.
Early voting has been on the increase during the past few election cycles. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are making the choice not to stand in lines, sometimes for hours, next to a group of other people waiting to vote.
In the 2016 general election, the number of people who voted early was double the number of those who voted early in 2004 — 24.1 million to 10.2 million, respectively.
During the 2016 election, the combined average of voters in 16 states who voted other than at polling places accounted for more than 50% of the votes cast in those states.
In seven of those states — Arizona, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon and Texas — 60% of the votes cast in the 2016 election were cast through in-person early voting.
Below are dates and information on which states allow early voting:
Does your state allow early voting? Here are the states that do and the states that do not.
No early voting: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania
Here is a breakdown of early voting by date:
Early voting may vary by county, so check your state or county’s website.
When early voting starts
Sept. 24 - Illinois
Oct. 4 - Maine
Oct. 7 - Arizona
Oct. 12 - Georgia
Oct. 13 - Texas
Oct. 15 - North Carolina
Oct. 16 - Washington
Oct. 21 - West Virginia
Oct. 26 - Maryland
Oct. 27 - District of Columbia
Oct. 29 - Oklahoma
When early voting ends
Oct. 27 - Louisiana
Nov. 3 - Washington
Below are the dates for early voting by state.
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