Early voting 2016: Where voting has already begun

Story highlights

  • Most states offer voters a way to vote ahead of Election Day
  • See if you live in one and what you would need to do

(CNN)Most eyes are on Election Day, but voting gets underway well before that. In fact, Iowa voters are allowed to begin casting early voting ballots Thursday.

If you want to vote and get it out of the way on your own schedule, you might be able to.
    Here are the states that allow early voting and absentee voting without an excuse, and what you need to do if you want to go that route.

    Alabama

    There is no early voting and absentee voting requires an excuse.

    Alaska

    You can vote early beginning on October 24. Locations are due to be posted here.

    Arizona

    You can vote early starting October 12. To join the "permanent early voting list" send in your form, and election officials will send you a ballot to mail in before the election.

    Arkansas

    You can vote early starting on October 24 at your county clerk's office on Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The early voting period ends at 5:00 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day. For more information, see here.

    California

    Ballots for mail-in voting get sent out starting October 10, and county offices allow in-person services that amount to early voting by mail on the same day. Some counties open multiple election service centers ahead of Election Day. For more information, see here.

    Colorado

    Colorado holds elections by mail, but also facilitates in-person voting. The window begins ahead of October 24. See here for your county.

    Connecticut

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Delaware

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    District of Columbia

    The D.C. Board of Elections said it has expanded its early voting window, which now runs from October 22 to November 4. The early voting center in Judiciary Square will be the first to open, with others due to open the following week. For more information, see here.

    Florida

    You can vote early from October 29 to November 5.

    Georgia

    Advance voting takes place from October 17 to November 4.

    Hawaii

    You can early vote from October 25 to November 5. For more information, see here.

    Idaho

    Counties must send out requested absentee ballots by September 23. You can early vote in-person until November 4, although opening dates and polling centers vary by county.

    Illinois

    You can early vote from September 29 until November 7. To find your location, see here.

    Indiana

    You can vote absentee-in-person beginning October 12. For more information, see here.

    Iowa

    You can vote absentee in person "no earlier than 40 days" before the election, which this year would come on September 29. For more information, see here.

    Kansas

    You can begin advance voting on October 19. Advance voting ends at noon on November 7. For more information, see here.

    Kentucky

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Louisiana

    You can early vote from October 25 to November 1. For more information, see here.

    Maine

    You can vote in-person absentee as soon as ballots are available "at least 30 days before the election" at your municipal clerk's office, according to the Maine secretary of state's website. This year the window will begin on September 24.

    Maryland

    You can early vote from October 27 to November 3 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, including weekends. The Maryland State Board of Elections says ballots for absentee voting will begin going out in late September. For more information, see here.

    Massachusetts

    You can early vote from October 24 until November 4. For more information, see the Massachusetts secretary of state's website. According to the Boston Globe, this is the first time Massachusetts has had early voting.

    Michigan

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Minnesota

    You can early vote between September 23 and November 7. For more information, see here.

    Mississippi

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Missouri

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Montana

    You can vote in-person absentee as soon as ballots are available, from October 11 to November 7. For more information, see here.

    Nebraska

    You can early vote by mail by contacting your county clerk or election commissioner from October 10 to November 7. It must arrive by closing time at the polls on Election Day. For more information, see here.

    Nevada

    You can early vote from October 22 to November 4. For more information, see here.

    New Hampshire

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    New Jersey

    You can vote by mail, which the state considers a form of early voting. New Jersey begins sending ballots out on September 24 and the county clerk must receive them before Election Day. To apply for a mail-in ballot, go here.

    New Mexico

    You can vote absentee in person from October 11 until November 5 at 5:00 p.m. For more information, see here.

    New York

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    North Carolina

    You can participate in North Carolina's "One-stop voting" period from October 20 to November 5. The state's board of elections said absentee ballots began to go out September 9. For more information, see here.

    North Dakota

    You can vote absentee and mail from September 29 to November 7. For more information, see here.

    Ohio

    You can early vote on weekdays from October 12 to October 28 and any day from October 29 through November 7. For more information, see here.

    Oklahoma

    You can early vote from November 3 to 5. For more information, see here.

    Oregon

    This state conducts its elections by mail. Send your ballot in from October 19 through Election Day. Request a ballot here.

    Pennsylvania

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Rhode Island

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    South Carolina

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    South Dakota

    You can vote absentee from September 23 to November 7. For more information, see here.

    Tennessee

    The early voting window is Oct 19- Nov 3, but the hours will vary by county, the Secretary of State's office said. For your county election commission's contact information, click here.

    Texas

    You can early vote from October 24 to November 4. For more information, see here.

    Utah

    You can early vote from October 25 to November 4, and the Utah lieutenant governor's office said by-mail ballots will go out starting October 18. To find your polling place, see here.

    Vermont

    You can vote early from September 23 to November 7. For more information, see here.

    Virginia

    There is no early voting and absentee requires an excuse.

    Washington

    This state conducts its elections by mail. The 18-day voting period goes from October 21 through Election Day. For more information, see here.

    West Virginia

    You can early vote from October 26 to November 5 during regular business hours and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00pm. For more information, see here.

    Wisconsin

    You can early vote during weekdays from October 24 to November 4 and hours vary by municipality. For more information, see here.

    Wyoming

    You can vote absentee in person or by mail starting 40 days ahead of the election, which this year means September 29. For more information, see here.