Early poll is precisely what that sounds prefer - it's where human being are enabled to vote prior to the scheduled election day.

This have the right to be one of two people in-person at early on voting stations, or absentee - the is, through post. In-person at an early stage voting is usual in Finland and Canada, while Switzerland, Germany and the UK accept postal votes.

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In the US, this way people room able to actors their ballots before 3 November - one of two people by article or in-person.

Early voting has actually steadily enhanced with each election year. The variety of people that voted early in the 2016 presidential choice was more than 5 times the number that voted early on 24 year earlier, in 1992.

And v the Covid-19 pandemic affecting every little thing this year, and also some type of at an early stage voting under method in every 50 states, we're already seeing record numbers of people casting their ballots ahead of time.

So who is vote early, and also why? and also what carry out some human being have against it? Here's what you need to know.

According to the us Elections Project, together of 2 November more than 99 million Americans had voted beforehand - one of two people by article or in person. This is already much more than the total variety of early votes actors in the 2016 election.

This website is operation by Michael McDonald, a professor in ~ the university of Florida that specialises in early voting, and also tracks the number of votes actors by state and overall.

Image source, EPA

By his count, the state v the highest variety of early voters so far is California, where an ext than 12 million civilization have currently voted.

The number of people who've voted at an early stage so much is also currently 72% the the total variety of people who voted in the election in 2016.

As well as learning where this year's at an early stage voters live, we are also now gaining a sense of that these voter are.

According come the Tufts University center for Information and Research on civic Learning and Engagement (Circle), much more than five million young human being - classified as those aged in between 18 and also 29 - had cast early votes through 26 October.

Polls have also shown the young voters could turn out in higher numbers this year than in the critical election.

In 2016, turnout was just over 46% among 18 to 29-year-olds - when 71% of human being older than 65 voted. This year, a Harvard Youth Poll suggests that as countless as 63% of civilization the same period will vote.

More african Americans are voting beforehand this year, too. Follow to evaluation from data firm TargetSmart, an ext than 6 times as many black voter had cast early votes through 18 October this year, contrasted to the same allude in 2016.

The traditional method of vote - thousands of civilization going come a single polling station on one specific day, queuing with other people for hours, and standing in polling booths that are in proximity to each various other - is not conducive to social distancing measures, specifically when not all states have actually mandated face coverings indoors.

So because that this election, at least 30 states have actually made adjustments to do it much easier and an ext accessible for human being to cast absentee votes.

This includes, for example, removed strict needs for people to have an excuse to have a postal vote, or allowing people to point out their concerns about Covid-19 as their excuse.



Some claims have likewise implemented ballot drop boxes, so human being don't need to go come a crowded polling station, or have available to prepay postage on election ballots the are sent in by post.

Others, such together California and Colorado, have actually proactively sent all eligible voters mail-in ballots - a practice known as universal mail-in voting.

In phibìc Carolina, the state's plank of elections prolonged the deadline because that postal ballots, speak that any ballots got up until 12 November would be count - as long as they to be postmarked ~ above or before 3 November.

Some says have also brought the start date for early on in-person voting forward from critical year - for example, Texas moved its start date forward by 6 days, native 19 to 13 October.

Minnesota and South Dakota were the earliest claims to start early voting, through in-person voting beginning 46 days before the election.

And while not all states have actually in-person early on voting, those that don't space accepting beforehand mail-in ballots.

In Georgia, for example, thousands of civilization waited for hours to poll at in-person polling stations.

Media caption, earlier this month, the audioeditorfree.com spoke to world waiting in lengthy queues to actors their votes
And in Pennsylvania, the state supreme court ruled that ballots needed to it is in mailed in through a secrecy envelope hiding the identity of the voter. However, because this decision to be announced for this reason soon prior to voting opened, the caused worry that significant numbers the so-called "naked ballots" would be declared invalid.

There are likewise currently an ext than 300 lawsuits in 44 states concerning how absentee votes are counted, that is enabled to vote early, and also how mail-in ballots room collected. Republican-run claims say constraints are crucial to protect against voter fraud, however Democrats speak these space attempts at voter suppression.

Perhaps the most obvious means an increase in early voting will influence the election is by steering up in its entirety turnout.

Prof McDonald, that runs the united state Elections Project, called Reuters news company that that predicts that a document 150 million civilization could poll in this election - which would be around 65% the eligible voter in the country, and the highest turnout by percentage due to the fact that 1908.

And follow to Prof McDonald's data for this reason far, the mail-in ballots are already leaning in the direction of a Democrat majority.

President Trump introduced a campaign against postal voting previously this year, saying that broadened mail-in vote would lead to the "most corrupt election" in US background and promoting cases that civilization would be able to vote more than once in the absentee ballot system. His dislike the postal vote may influence some that his pendant to wait until election day to actors their vote in person.

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To clarification - there is no proof of widespread fraud in the absentee vote system. In fact, the rate of voting fraud overall in the us is in between 0.00004% and also 0.0009%, according to a 2017 study by the Brennan facility for Justice.