ELECTION 2014: Will you be stuck in the truck on Election Day? You can still vote

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/29/2014

Being far from home on Election Day is not a good reason to give up your vote. You can still make your voice heard at home and help set the course on national, state and local issues.

All states allow advance voting. It’s an ideal setup for over-the-road professionals. 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.

Absentee voting
Most states offer “no excuse” absentee voting – meaning you do not have to give a reason why you want to cast an absentee ballot. Other states either allow permanent no excuse absentee voting or allow voters to 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 can be found online or in the government pages of your local telephone book.

Early voting
Some type of early voting is offered in two-thirds of the 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
Colorado, Oregon and Washington run their elections entirely by mail. The process is used to send a ballot to every registered voter prior to Election Day. In addition, nearly 20 states allow certain elections to be held by mail.

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. You can also visit them on the Internet. See the state-by-state contact info.

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