Early voting outside the US?

Is early voting popular outside the US? I voted today in NC and I had no line. Voting here started Oct. 18th. We have a lot of places to vote in our county and some people have waited an hour or more.

Absentee ballots have been available in Germany forever. I haven’t set a foot in a polling station for decades. You can also show up at your town hall, fill out the absentee ballot paperwork and cast your vote in one brush. That’s essentially the same as early voting.

There used to be a requirement to actually give a reason for casting an absentee ballot (physical impairment, illness, actually being absent on election day), but they’ve done away with that.

The US has had absentee ballots forever too.

But early voting here means you go to a place and vote in person. Most of the time you go to a different place than your normal voting location.

Early votes are possible in Australia, but the rules say they’re limited to certain circumstances like illness and travel. Whether or not that’s enforced I don’t know.

I think last time we had about 40% of people vote early and Obama got a big chunk of his votes in the group. We might hit 50% this year.

The rules aren’t enforced strictly. I frequently vote early, especially if I’m going to be busy on the Saturday polling day. I’ve never been asked why I’m voting early.

I also voted early, last weekend’s ACT elections . The bloke asks me “You can’t vote on Saturday?” I was about to elaborate, but he cuts me off in a these-aren’t-the-droids-you-are-looking-for tone: “You can’t vote Saturday”

Electronic voting too, a first for me.

We have had advanced polls as long as I can remember in Canada. Originally, they were “branded” for people who were going to be away on election day, and there might be one or maybe two polls per riding (Canadian for district), so you had to really make an effort to get to them. In the past few elections, they have been “rebranded” as a convenient way to vote (presumably to increase participation), and there are many more of them per riding. ISTM there are almost as many advanced poll locations as there are during the general election.

I always submit an early (postal) vote. My husband is disabled and can’t get into most of the local polling stations, so he has to do a postal vote. I’m almost always working on voting day (Saturday in Oz), so it’s easier for me to pre-poll vote at well.

Whenever I’ve voted at Canadian advance polls, there’s been maybe one other person there.

Some people like the election day ceremony of standing in line with everyone else at your local school or similar. I prefer to go by the library a week early and not have to stand in line.

Just to provide an extreme counterpoint, Israel has no early voting. None. And essentially no absentee voting either – this is restricted to soldiers (who may vote, in person, on election day, at polling stations set up on military bases); seamen of the “merchant marine” (I think it’s restricted to ZIM ships) – who vote, again in person, on their ship if they are away from home port on the day of the election; and prisoners – who vote (in person, on election day, you get the idea…) inside the prison.

So, the main point is – voting occurs :
**- in person only

  • on election day only
  • at a physical polling station (makeshift as it may sometimes be)
  • and only for select classes of citizens, i.e., those who legitimately may be unable to vote at their assigned polling station (which is near their registered residence)**

If anyone is interested in more excruciating details… All of these away-from-home votes require ID (all regular votes do as well, but National ID is mandatory, relatively easy to obtain, and free); these votes are places in double envelopes, the outer envelope with the voters’ identification. After the polls are closed, each double envelope is compared to the voter’s “regular” polling station and if they voted in person at their “home” poll the double envelope is discarded unopened. Double envelopes deemed legitimate (owner did not vote elsewhere) are opened, the inner (standard, unidentified) voting envelopes put all together, and then opened and counted - so that the anonymity of the vote is maintained. All of this happens up to 3 days after election day, so official results are available only about a week later, although the “Soldiers’ Vote” (as it is colloquially called, since they are the extreme majority of these votes) rarely changes the final results significantly (they have been known to cause a swing of one Member of Knesset up/down between a pair of parties, on a few occasions.)

You forgot to add, though, that election day in Israel is a national holiday. Most people have the day off, so the lines at the polls are usually very reasonable.

True, I tend to forget that this is not the case, e.g., in the US

Also, of course, my summary from above should have started “So, the main point is – "absentee" voting occurs :…”

Are holidays mandatory for employers in Israel? (The US doesn’t really have national holidays. It just has federal holidays for federal employees, and state holidays for state employees, and (in most places) whatever holidays your employer chooses to give you for private employees.)

Several parts to the answer:

  1. In general, yes; some retailers that are open on public holidays pay double time and more (and may be skating at the edge of the law – or beyond – nonetheless); all offices (non-public-facing places of work) that are not operated on a 24/7 shift basis are closed on public holidays.
  2. On top of this, specifically in case of the Election Day (above and beyond it being a Public Holiday,) an employer must allow all employees, even emergency personnel at hospitals, e.g., “sufficient time” to reach their assigned polling station within working hours (although the polls close at 22:00, also by law.) This may amount to making sure a doctor whose residence is at one end of the country will not be on duty at his hospital which is at the other end, on this day. Employers have to plan for this.
  3. Additionally, on Election Day, showing ID which proves you are assigned to vote in a certain place entitles you to free use of public transportation in getting to that place, and a return ticket to your point of origin.

In Canada in federal elections, there’s the regular poll on election day and several advance polls a week or two before the election day. If you can’t make it to either the regular or the advance poll, you can also vote by special ballot, provided you return it to the electoral office by the time polls close on election day.

See: Voting in a Federal Election – Elections Canada

One thing that I’ve never seen mentioned by US posters and the posts from Israel reminded me: do US voters get time off work to vote?

Here in Canada, federal law provides that employers must give their employees at least 3 consecutive hours off to vote on election day. Is there no equivalent law in the US?

I was about to post this same thing. I voted in the ACT election several weeks ago. In fact I don’t think I’ve actually voted on polling day for years. I’ve only been asked once what my reasons for wanting to vote early were (“out of town” was a good enough answer) and it’s not like they can check.

I received my absentee ballot in mid-September.

Never heard of people in the US getting time off work to vote. Some employers may do that.

However in many states polls are open from around 6 AM to 7:30 PM so you can vote before or after work.