US Early Voting States
Sometimes circumstances make it difficult for a person to vote on a given day. This results in the person missing the deadline and not being able to vote. To overcome this loophole, many states in the US provide the voter with the option of Early Voting. No excuse is required to vote early. In this option, even though a voter is capable of voting at the polls on Election Day, he or she can still opt for Early Voting. As of February 2016, 34 states in the country and the District of Columbia allowed early voting.
The duration of early voting varies from state to state. It may range from four to 45 days. The average across all the 33 states is 19 days. The date on which early voting begins may be as early as 45 days before the elections or it may be as late as the Friday before the election. Early voting ends just a few days before the Election Day. It ends seven days before the election in two states. It ends on the Thursday before the election in one state and the Friday before in eight states. In Seven states it ends on the Saturday before the Election Day and in 13 states on the Monday before the Election.
Over the years, early voting is becoming popular among Americans. Reports suggest that in 2004, 22% of Americans voted early. However, by 2008 the percentage had risen to more than 30. This system has a lot of benefits. Normally on Election Day people have to wait in long lines and it may take hours for one’s turn to come. Early voting solves the problems of long lines and endless wait. It can also provide relief to poll workers at poling centers teeming with people. The proponents of the early voting system say that this process makes it more convenient for the people to vote. It also helps in increase voter turnout. This system is popular among both the voters as well as the administrators as a way to protect the freedom to vote.