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You are watching: How many states have early voting in 2016

The administers the biennial Election administration and Voting survey (EAVS) to collection state-by-state data ~ above the administration of commonwealth elections. In June of 2017, the released the many recent survey with data native the 2016 election.

This survey consists of the most an extensive data about trends in election management in the united States and provides these numbers at the national, state, and also local level. This quick is part of a series of “deep dives” right into the EAVS data the will administer an detailed look at a range of issues related come administering elections and also use data come help far better understand these issues.

Early, Absentee, and Mail Voting


The percentage of voter who actors their ballots top top a voting machine at a polling place on election Day has decreased steadily over the past decade, if the number of states offering beforehand voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and also vote through mail has increased.

The total number of voters that voted early, absentee or by mail more than doubled from 24.9 million in 2004 come 57.2 million in 2016, representing boost from one in 5 of every ballots actors to two in 5 of every ballots cast.

The number of U.S. Citizens poll early an ext than doubled from practically 10.2 million beforehand ballots actors in 2004 to 24.1 million early ballots actors in 2016.

In 2016, 16 states showed a merged percentage of greater than 50 percent that votes cast early, through mail, or via absentee voting.

Early, Absentee, and Mail Voting

Voting in the Unites claims in the 21st century has undergone some far-ranging changes since the Norman Rockwell image of the voter in the polling booth. One of the most far-ranging changes is the trend of more and much more people receiving and casting ballots before Election Day.

audioeditorfree.comh state has its own laws and regulations governing when, where, and how voters can actors ballots. Every states allow for some form of absentee vote by mail, yet this process is administered in different ways by the states, including:

Excuse compelled absentee voting: A voter must carry out a factor why they room casting an absentee ballot and cannot appear to vote on election Day.

No-excuse compelled absentee voting: A voter walk not need to provide a reason why lock are casting an absentee ballot and also cannot show up to poll on choice Day.

Permanent absentee voting: A voter can sign up once to obtain an absentee ballot and also will receive absentee ballots in all future elections.

Vote by mail: all registered voters in the jurisdiction are mailed a ballot.

Additionally, specific states enable for early voting, which permits qualified voters to cast a ballot in human being at designated locations and also during certain times before Election Day. In the Election administration and Voting survey (EAVS), at an early stage voting data has both early votes cast on poll machines and also absentee ballots the are cast at one in person location prior to Election Day. 

More world Voting Early, using Mail and Absentee Ballots

Percent poll Absentee, through Mail, or Early, 2004-16
                      Chart Caption: Data has all 50 states, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and also the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mail Ballots were no tracked in the EAVS until 2008.



There has been a steady boost in the number and percentage of voter voting early in both presidential and off year federal election years due to the fact that 2004, when the EAVS was an initial administered the percent voting early on more than doubled from 2004-2016, increasing from 8.4 percent come 17.2 percent, with practically 10.2 million at an early stage ballots cast in 2004 and 24.1 million beforehand ballots actors in 2016. The variety of absentee ballots actors by absentee voters nearly doubled, indigenous 14.7 million in 2004 to 24.8 million in 2016. Mail voting was tracked beginning in 2008, and the number confirmed a steady rise through 2016, an ext than tripling native 2.4 million in 2008 come 8.2 million in 2016. The total number of voters that voted by one of these 3 methods an ext than double from 24.9 million in 2004 to 57.2 million in 2016, or native one in five of all ballots cast to 2 in five of all ballots cast.

States with an ext Than 50% that Ballots cast Via Early, Mail, and Absentee Voting, 2016StateTotal VotesEarly, Mail, Absentee TotalsEarly, Mail, Absentee Percents
New Mexico804,073541,73067.4%
North Carolina4,690,1953,055,96065.2%













Trends in the States

In 2016, 16 states showed a combined percentage of higher than 50 percent the votes cast early, through mail, or via absentee voting.

Colorado, Oregon and also Washington have actually the highest possible rates due to the fact that audioeditorfree.comh is a letter voting state and almost all of their votes to be mail ballots. Six additional says reported over 50 percent of your votes as absentee ballots: Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Montana, and also Utah. Seven states reported having actually over 50 percent of their votes cast early: Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, new Mexico, phibìc Carolina, Tennessee, and also Texas.


Early, absentee and mail poll has had a selection of effects on the election process, including ramifications for voter accessibility. The 2016 inspection of the performance of American elections (SPAE) found that “33 percent of voter 70 years and older voted absentee, compared to 20 percent of voters in their thirties” and also that “30 percent of voters v a handicap that preserved the voter ‘from participating completely in work, school, housework, or various other activities’ voted absentee, compared to 22 percent of voters without a disability.”1 Similarly, a report ~ above the joining of individuals with disabilities discovered that: “Individuals with disabilities also report voting by mail in ~ much greater rates than do individuals not reporting a disability. This is especially true for civilization with disabilities that constrain them acquiring out the the house – world with self-care and independent living difficulties.”4

Another trend to watch is the means voters return ballots they receive in the mail. In the states where election officials letter ballots to every registered voters, current data reflects the bulk of those voters perform not return your ballots in the mail. They one of two people drop them turn off at designated locations or at drop boxes.

Amber McReynolds, director of elections for the City and County the Denver, has said: “Essentially, it’s ballot delivery. And also I an extremely specifically to speak that. I don’t call it ‘vote by mail.’ and the main reason why is that many voters actually return your ballot in person, as opposed to using the article Office to mail it back.”3 In she county in 2016 for example, 80 percent that those who cast a letter ballot to reduce those ballots off fairly than offered the mail.4

Denver is no alone. The 2016 SPAE asked mail voters exactly how they returned their ballots. In Colorado, 73 percent the those surveyed said they to reduce them turn off in person, 59 percent reported they did therefore in Oregon, and also 65 percent in Washington.5

Looking Ahead

EAVS data show that the percent of voter who cast their ballots ~ above a voting device at a polling location on choice Day has decreased steadily end the past decade, if the variety of states offering early on voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and vote by mail has increased. As more states consider alternatives such together vote by mail, the EAVS will catch if and also how this tendency continues.


1 “2016 inspection of the power of American Elections, last Report,” Charles Stewart III, The Massachusetts institute of Technology, p. 13.

2 “Defining the obstacles to politics Participation for individuals with Disabilities,” Thad E. Hall and R. Michael Alvarez, might 14, 2012, p. 4.

3 Amber McReynolds, manager of elections because that the City and also County that Denver, “View it From a different Angle,” U.S. Election help Commission election Data Summit, Aug. 12, 2015, /videos/view-it-from-a-different-angle-amber-mcreynolds-director-of-elections-denver-co/.

4 “2016 general Election Review,” Denver vote Division, Office the the Clerk and also Recorder, https://www.

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5 “2016 survey of the performance of American Elections, final Report,” appendix 4.