What's The Deal With Early Voting?

The end of the road for the 2016 election is November 8, but for many of us, voting has already been going on for some time.

If you live in California, you can vote up to 30 days before Election Day. Floridians can start voting 10 days before the election, but early voting stops three days prior to November 8. In Iowa, you can vote as soon as ballots are available -- they've been at it for a while.

In total, 34 states, including the District of Columbia, offer no-excuse early voting with various guidelines. A few other states allow you to vote early if you can offer an appropriate reason THAT you won’t be able to vote on November 8. A couple more allow you to vote early by mail.

A majority of the electorate can vote early, which both boosts turnout, and allows for a more diverse electorate. The counter argument is that early voters may be misinformed and may miss out on the full arguments from either candidate.



New emails could come to light that might sway voters against Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump may say or do something prior to Election Day that would finally disqualify him for certain voters — those few still on the fence.

Regardless, many Americans will vote early in this election. According to Pew, as of October 21, over 4 million people have cast early ballots. In 2012, 46 million voters, about 36% of the electorate, filled out their ballots in some way other than at a polling station on Election Day.

Mitch Stewart, founding partner of 270 Strategies and a former Obama state director in 2007-'08, told the ‘Keepin’ It 1600’ podcast yesterday the Clinton campaign is behind where Obama was in early voting in the swing states of Ohio and Iowa.

Conversely, in the states where Clinton looks to be over-performing Obama, notably North Carolina and Florida, “the votes are encouraging,” Stewart told former Obama head speechwriter Jon Favreau, co-host of ‘Keepin’ It 1600.’

The problem with measuring early voting is that you can only tell which party the early voters are registered with, not which candidate they voted for. Some states won’t release any data at all. Numbers will keep coming in, but they will be up to interpretation.

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