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GET OUT THE VOTE

Early voting for the US midterms: Where, when, and how

Reuters/Jonathan Drake
Where, and how.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Update: On Jan. 9, 2019, the state of New York passed legislation allowing early voting up to 10 days prior to the election. The chart below has been updated accordingly.

The US midterm elections are weeks away, but voting has already begun in some states. Thirty-seven states, plus the District of Columbia, allow early voting by mail or in-person.

Each state manages its own voting process and voter registration; policies vary greatly between states. While all states allow voting in person and via mail, each method comes with conditions. Some states allow early voting in person, while others require early votes to be sent in by mail. Some states require a justification to cast a ballot by mail (for instance, proof of living outside the state), while others don’t.

What is early voting?

Early voting exists in 37 states and the District of Columbia. It allows people to cast votes on their own schedule, within a certain window. Some early votes can be cast by mail. But in some states, it is also possible to vote early in person at designated locations (government offices, libraries, schools and malls can all be designated voting stations).

The timing of the early voting window varies from state to state, and even between counties within the same state. The earliest a state is allowed to vote is 45 days prior to election day (New Mexico, Wisconsin); the average early voting window opens 19 days before election day.

Absentee voting: How can I vote by mail?

You can apply to be an absentee voter, and receive a ballot by mail. Just fill it out and send it back in by the deadline. In 27 states, you can vote by mail without any justification required. In 20 states, you are required to have a reason for voting by mail (for example, you’re studying outside your state, or are physically unable to go to the polls.)

A few states have a permanent absentee registry for those who wish to always vote via mail. In the three states of Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, you can only vote by mail.

Below is a breakdown of different states’ rules on early voting and absentee voting.  Early voting windows here reflect the most common dates for each state, but they could vary depending on specific county regulations—check your local government website to be sure!

Alabama
📧
Alaska
10/22 to 11/6
💌
Arizona
10/10 to 11/6
💌
💫
Arkansas
10/22 to 11/5
📧
California
10/7 to 11/6
💌
💫
Colorado
10/30 to 11/6
📮
Connecticut
📧
Delaware
📧
D.C.
10/22 to 11/5
💌
💫
Florida
10/27 to 11/3
💌
Georgia
10/15 to 11/2
💌
Hawaii
10/23 to 11/3
💌
💫
Idaho
10/22 to 11/2
💌
Illinois
10/22 to 11/5
💌
Indiana
10/10 to 11/5
📧
Iowa
10/8 to 11/6
💌
Kansas
10/30 to 11/5
💌
Kentucky
📧
Louisiana
10/23 to 10/30
📧
Maine
💌
Maryland
10/25 to 11/1
💌
Massachusetts
10/22 to 11/2
📧
Michigan
📧
Minnesota
9/21 to 11/5
💌
💫
Mississippi
📧
Missouri
📧
Montana
10/9 to 11/6
💌
💫
Nebraska
10/7 to 11/6
💌
Nevada
10/20 to 11/2
💌
💫
New Hampshire
📧
New Jersey
9/22 to 11/5
💌
💫
New Mexico
10/20 to 11/3
💌
New York
📧
North Carolina
10/17 to 11/3
💌
North Dakota
9/27 to 11/5
💌
Ohio
10/10 to 11/4
💌
Oklahoma
11/1 & 11/2 (8 am to 6 pm); 11/3 (9 am to 2 pm).
💌
Oregon
10/17 to 11/6
📮
Pennsylvania
📧
Rhode Island
📧
South Carolina
📧
South Dakota
9/21 to 11/6
💌
Tennessee
10/17 to 11/1
📧
Texas
10/22 to 11/2
📧
Utah
10/23 to 11/2
💌
💫
Vermont
9/22 to 11/6
💌
Virginia
📧
Washington
10/19 to 11/6
📮
West Virginia
10/24 to 11/3
📧
Wisconsin
9/20 to 11/6
💌
Wyoming
9/27 to 11/6
💌

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