Your Vote ’13
On the job? You can still vote

By Keith Goble, state legislative director

Being far from home on Election Day is not a good reason to give up your vote. You can still vote and help set the course on issues of relevance. This year, most issues on the ballot have local significance.

All states allow advance voting. It’s an ideal setup for over-the-road drivers. Some states allow mail-in ballots, commonly referred to as absentee ballots. Other states allow voting in person at locations leading up to Election Day. This is known as early voting. Elsewhere, some states conduct elections by mail. Your local elections office or secretary of state’s office should have details.

For information on getting an absentee ballot or to find out if your state offers early voting, contact your local elections office or secretary of state's office. See the state-by-state contact info here.

Absentee voting
Most states offer “no excuse” absentee voting. Other states allow permanent no excuse absentee voting or voters can cast absentee ballots only under a limited set of circumstances.

Absentee ballots – or even permanent absentee ballots – can be requested by contacting a county clerk, county auditor, county registrar or supervisor of elections, or the board of elections – depending on the state. Phone numbers for those offices should be in the government pages of your local telephone book.

Early voting
Some type of early voting is offered in more than 30 states. It allows voters to simply decide to vote early.

No-excuse early voting differs from absentee voting. Voters may visit an election official’s office – or in some states other satellite voting locations – and cast ballots in person.

The time periods for early voting vary from state to state. The average starting time for early voting in affected states is 22 days before Election Day.

Mail voting
Oregon and Washington are the only states to run their elections entirely by mail. A ballot is sent to every registered voter prior to Election Day. In addition, more than a dozen states allow certain elections to be held by mail. LL