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How Long Is Early Voting (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 15 Days

Early voting, also known as advance polling or pre-poll voting, is a method of voting in a public election that allows voters to vote before the official election day. Early voting can be operated remotely, such as over the mail, or in person, at authorized early voting polling booths. 

The availability of early voting and the timeframes for doing so varies by jurisdiction and election type. One objective of early voting is generally to promote voter participation, reduce congestion at polling locations on election day. Another is to avoid possible prejudice against persons who have job and travel schedules that prevent them from voting within the hours allotted on election day.

How Long Is Early Voting? 

Election TimeDuration
Without Holiday7-14 Days Before Election
With Holiday15 Days Before Election

Voters who choose to vote early for any election may do so in person at designated points throughout their province from 14 to seven days before the election. Whenever one or more state holidays fall during an early voting period, early voting begins 15 days before the election. Early voting is available for presidential races from 18 to 7 days prior to the election (except Sundays and legal holidays).

When one or more state vacations fall during the early voting period, early voting begins 19 days before the election. When voting early at the Registrar of Voters Office or specified early polling places, a physically impaired voter and the person supporting him or her in voting must move towards the front of the line.

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If a voter is unable to read or vote without help due to a physical impairment, such as being visually impaired, he or she is eligible to aid while voting. Instead of obtaining assistance, a voter can use the audio ballot. If a voter requires support in voting, they must either file a declaration with the registrar in person or by mail or give the registrar or commissioner specific proof. Early voting is one of 2 ways that a Tennessee registered voter can vote ahead of the election day.

By-mail voting is the second option for an eligible voter to vote early. Early voting and voting by email are both designed to make voting easier for voters. The difference between these two voting options is that voting by mail requires a legal justification. Voting during the early voting period, on the other end, maybe done just for the sake of comfort.

Why Is Early Voting That Long? 

During early voting, everyone who is registered to vote can cast a ballot. Early voting is open to anyone who is eligible to vote and has registered to vote. Early voting has always been open to registered voters, but now anyone who is eligible but has not yet registered can register and vote.

To cast votes during early voting, go to an early voting facility in your county and present proof of residency paper. This document could be your MVA-issued driver’s licence, identification card, or modification of address card. Or it could be a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other official document having your name and new address on it. You will be eligible to vote and register to vote.

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Early voting has the same effect as voting on election day. You will sign in to vote and vote your ballot when you arrive at the early voting centre. Guidelines for familiarizing yourself with the ballot will be provided at the early voting centres. You may ask an election judge to describe how to vote, but you must vote by yourself unless you are unable to do so due to a handicap or inability to read or write English.

All voting machines and other election supplies will be stored in the early voting location at the end of each day of early voting. Local election boards must prepare a security plan for each early voting centre, which will detail how the facility’s materials and machinery will be safeguarded.

Conclusion

To vote early, a voter must go to the county election commission headquarters or a satellite voting station that the county election commission has established. Early voting usually starts 20 days before an election and finishes 5 days before the election. 

The Presidential Preference Primary is the only exception, with early voting ending 7 days before the election. While voting is not permitted on holidays, anyone can vote early on any Saturday that falls within this time window. There will be no early voting session in a city election if there is no competition on the ballot. So the whole early voting period would last around 15 days. 

References

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/early-voting-and-turnout/CA26767893568A1B6DB1EA56C49196E2
  2. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/elj.2018.0489
  3. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/elj.2018.0489
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