[author: Lauren M. Donoghue]
A number of states, including some key swing states, have opened their voting weeks ahead of election day. Thirty-two states, plus the District of Columbia, offer some sort of early voting. Early voting takes two forms - either allowing voters to request a ballot by mail or in-person early voting, which gives voters an opportunity to visit an election official’s office or other satellite voting locations. Both early voting options allow voters to cast a ballot without having to offer an excuse why the voter is unable to vote in person on election day. The practice was started to increase participation. The map below from the National Conference of State Legislatures details the types of pre-election day voting that are available in each state.