When Early Voting Starts In Each State For The 2018 Midterms Hinges On A Few Factors

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The midterm elections are rapidly approaching and, as a result, early voting is already underway in many parts of the country. When early voting starts in each state varies significantly and depends largely on state and, in some cases, local, laws. If you want to know whether early voting is a possibility in your state, the lists below give you a rundown of early voting options nationwide.

As the National Conference of State Legislatures described, typically, early voting means that a state allows residents to vote in-person for a period of time prior to Election Day. Voters don't need to provide a reason why they are choosing to vote early. Many states, though not all, give voters this no-excuse, in-person early voting option. Other states allow citizens to cast an absentee ballot in-person ahead of the election, but only if they have a valid reason why they can't show up on Election Day (because of the excuse requirement, this option isn't classified as early voting). Finally, some states have no in-person voting options at all prior to Election Day, though voters in all states can still mail in absentee ballots if they meet certain requirements.

Several states already kicked off early voting last month. The list of states with September start dates for in-person, no-excuse early voting is as follows:

  • Minnesota: Sept. 21
  • South Dakota: Sept. 21
  • Vermont: Sept. 21
  • New Jersey: Sept. 22
  • Illinois: Sept. 27
  • North Dakota: Sept. 27
  • Wyoming: Sept. 27

The majority of states have October start dates for in-person, no-excuse early voting. These dates are delineated below:

  • California: Oct. 8
  • Iowa: Oct. 8
  • Maine Oct. 8
  • Montana: Oct. 9
  • Nebraska: Oct. 9
  • Arizona: Oct. 10
  • Indiana: Oct. 10
  • Ohio: Oct. 10
  • Georgia: Oct. 15
  • Kansas: Oct. 17
  • North Carolina: Oct. 17
  • Tennessee: Oct. 17
  • Washington: Oct. 19 — registered voters also receive ballots by mail
  • New Mexico: Oct. 20
  • Nevada: Oct. 20
  • Alaska: Oct. 22
  • Arkansas: Oct. 22
  • Colorado: Oct. 22 — registered voters also receive ballots by mail
  • Idaho: Oct. 22
  • Massachusetts: Oct. 22
  • Texas: Oct. 22
  • Hawaii: Oct. 23
  • Louisiana: Oct. 23
  • Utah: Oct. 23
  • West Virginia: Oct. 24
  • Maryland: Oct. 25
  • Washington, D.C.: Oct. 26 — early voting opens at all locations. It opened at the One Judiciary Square location on Oct. 22
  • Florida: Oct. 27

Only one state, Oklahoma, has a November no-excuse early voting start date — Nov. 1. For those who live in Wisconsin, no-excuse early voting varies widely by municipality, so Wisconsinites should verify early voting information with their local election offices.

Finally, the list below includes all states that do not have a no-excuse, in-person early voting option and notes any caveats related to these states. If you reside in one of these locations and are hoping to vote prior to Election Day, be sure to check with your local election office for further details.

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware — can vote absentee in-person with a valid reason
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi — can vote absentee in-person with a valid reason
  • Missouri — can vote absentee in-person with a valid reason
  • New Hampshire
  • New York — can vote absentee in-person with a valid reason
  • Oregon — not applicable, as the state uses all mail-in ballots (voters can mail/drop off ballots prior to Election Day)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina — can vote absentee in-person with a valid reason
  • Virginia — can vote absentee in-person with a valid reason

Overall, if your state does have a no-excuse early voting option, consider heading to the polls prior to Nov. 6, as early voting allows you to cast your ballot on your own schedule. However, if your state doesn't permit early voting, be sure to set aside some time to go to your polling place on Election Day and make your voice heard.