BET's State-by-State Guide to Early Voting and Voter ID Laws

What you need to know to vote on or before Nov. 4.

Vote Early! - In 2008, African-American voters turned out at the polls in record numbers to support Barack Obama and send him to the White House. Without them, the U.S. would likely not yet have elected its first Black president once, never mind twice. Fast forward to 2014 and Obama has run his last race. So, do you stay home as many voters did in 2012, enabling state legislatures to implement new laws that make it harder for them to vote? Or do voters turn out again in record numbers ? this time for themselves ? to elect officials, from dog catcher to U.S. senator, who share their views and values? Most states allow voters to cast ballots early. Some have strict voter ID laws, while others do not require voters to present identification. Thanks to the National Conference of State Legislatures, here's a guide to how quickly you can make your voice heard and what you need to bring ...

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Vote Early! - In 2008, African-American voters turned out at the polls in record numbers to support Barack Obama and send him to the White House. Without them, the U.S. would likely not yet have elected its first Black president once, never mind twice. Fast forward to 2014 and Obama has run his last race. So, do you stay home as many voters did in 2012, enabling state legislatures to implement new laws that make it harder for them to vote? Or do voters turn out again in record numbers — this time for themselves — to elect officials, from dog catcher to U.S. senator, who share their views and values? Most states allow voters to cast ballots early. Some have strict voter ID laws, while others do not require voters to present identification. Thanks to the National Conference of State Legislatures, here's a guide to how quickly you can make your voice heard and what you need to bring ...

Alabama - Alabama does not allow early voting and an excuse is required for absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.   (Photo: State of Alabama)

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Alabama - Alabama does not allow early voting and an excuse is required for absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Alabama)

Photo By Photo: State of Alabama

Alaska - Early voting and in-person absentee voting begin on Oct. 20 and continues through Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Alaska)

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Alaska - Early voting and in-person absentee voting begin on Oct. 20 and continues through Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Alaska)

Photo By Photo: State of Alaska

Arizona - Early voting begins on Oct. 6 and ends the Friday before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.(Photo: State of Arizona)

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Arizona - Early voting begins on Oct. 6 and ends the Friday before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.(Photo: State of Arizona)

Photo By Photo: State of Arizona

Arkansas - Early voting begins Oct. 20 and ends 5 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. For now, voters are required to present a state or federally issued photo ID. The state Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a lawsuit challenging the law on Oct. 2 that could change things.  (Photo: State of Arkansas)

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Arkansas - Early voting begins Oct. 20 and ends 5 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. For now, voters are required to present a state or federally issued photo ID. The state Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a lawsuit challenging the law on Oct. 2 that could change things. (Photo: State of Arkansas)

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California - Early voting dates vary by county. Excuse required for absentee voting. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. California voters are not required to present identification at their polling place, but it would be wise to bring one if you are a first-time voter.   (Photo: State of California)

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California - Early voting dates vary by county. Excuse required for absentee voting. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. California voters are not required to present identification at their polling place, but it would be wise to bring one if you are a first-time voter. (Photo: State of California)

Colorado - The state doesn't use traditional polling sites. Ballots are automatically mailed to eligible voters. Counties must have voter service and polling centers open for in-person early voting beginning Oct. 20 and through Election Day. Voters are not required to present a photo ID.  (Photo: State of Colorado)

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Colorado - The state doesn't use traditional polling sites. Ballots are automatically mailed to eligible voters. Counties must have voter service and polling centers open for in-person early voting beginning Oct. 20 and through Election Day. Voters are not required to present a photo ID. (Photo: State of Colorado)

Photo By Photo: State of Colorado

Connecticut - No early voting and an excuse is required for absentee voting. Voters are not required to present a photo ID, but some form of ID may be requested, particularly for first-time voters. Click here to learn which forms of ID are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Connecticut)

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Connecticut - No early voting and an excuse is required for absentee voting. Voters are not required to present a photo ID, but some form of ID may be requested, particularly for first-time voters. Click here to learn which forms of ID are acceptable. (Photo: State of Connecticut)

Delaware - An excuse is required for absentee and early voting. To cast an early ballot, the voter must use an absentee ballot. Voters are not required to present a photo ID, but some form of ID may be requested, particularly for first-time voters.    (Photo: State of Delaware)

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Delaware - An excuse is required for absentee and early voting. To cast an early ballot, the voter must use an absentee ballot. Voters are not required to present a photo ID, but some form of ID may be requested, particularly for first-time voters. (Photo: State of Delaware)

District of Columbia - Early voting at One Judiciary Square begins on Oct. 20 and ends on Nov. 1; early vote begins on Oct. 25 at eight other voting centers and ends on Nov. 1. In-person absentee voting begins 15 days before Election Day and ends on Nov. 3. Permanent absentee status is available. Voters are not required to present a photo ID.  (Photo: District of Columbia)

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District of Columbia - Early voting at One Judiciary Square begins on Oct. 20 and ends on Nov. 1; early vote begins on Oct. 25 at eight other voting centers and ends on Nov. 1. In-person absentee voting begins 15 days before Election Day and ends on Nov. 3. Permanent absentee status is available. Voters are not required to present a photo ID. (Photo: District of Columbia)

Photo By Photo: District of Columbia

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Florida - Early voting begins on Oct. 25 and ends on Nov. 1. For elections that include state and federal races, election supervisors may choose to offer early voting 15 days before an election. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. A photo ID will be requested. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Florida)

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Florida - Early voting begins on Oct. 25 and ends on Nov. 1. For elections that include state and federal races, election supervisors may choose to offer early voting 15 days before an election. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. A photo ID will be requested. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Florida)

Georgia - Early voting will be available Oct. 13–30. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.   (Photo: State of Georgia)

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Georgia - Early voting will be available Oct. 13–30. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Georgia)

Photo By Photo: State of Georgia

Hawaii - The early and absentee voting period is Oct. 21 to Nov. 1. A photo ID may be requested but is not required.   (Photo: State of Hawaii)

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Hawaii - The early and absentee voting period is Oct. 21 to Nov. 1. A photo ID may be requested but is not required. (Photo: State of Hawaii)

Photo By Photo: State of Hawaii

Idaho - In-person absentee voting begins on the third Monday before the election and ends 5 p.m. the Friday before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID or sign a personal identification affidavit. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Idaho)

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Idaho - In-person absentee voting begins on the third Monday before the election and ends 5 p.m. the Friday before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID or sign a personal identification affidavit. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Idaho)

Photo By Photo: State of Idaho

Illinois - Early Election begins on Oct. 20 (the third Monday before the election) and ends Nov. 2. In-person absentee voting is also available. Photo identification is not required to vote but it is recommended that first-time voters be prepared to submit ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.   (Photo: State of Illinois)

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Illinois - Early Election begins on Oct. 20 (the third Monday before the election) and ends Nov. 2. In-person absentee voting is also available. Photo identification is not required to vote but it is recommended that first-time voters be prepared to submit ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Illinois)

Photo By Photo: State of Illinois

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Indiana - In-person absentee voting begins Oct. 7 and ends noon the day before Election Day. An excuse is required for mail-in absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Indiana)

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Indiana - In-person absentee voting begins Oct. 7 and ends noon the day before Election Day. An excuse is required for mail-in absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Indiana)

Photo By Photo: State of Indiana

Iowa - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready, generally 40 days before a primary or general election. Voters are not required to present photo ID.   (Photo: State of Iowa)

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Iowa - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready, generally 40 days before a primary or general election. Voters are not required to present photo ID. (Photo: State of Iowa)

Kansas - Early voting must begin by the Tuesday before the election, and end on noon the day before Election Day. Counties may begin early voting as early as 20 days before an election. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.   (Photo: State of Kansas)

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Kansas - Early voting must begin by the Tuesday before the election, and end on noon the day before Election Day. Counties may begin early voting as early as 20 days before an election. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Kansas)

Kentucky - No early voting; an excuse is required for mail-in absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Kentucky)

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Kentucky - No early voting; an excuse is required for mail-in absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Kentucky)

Photo By Photo: State of Kentucky

Louisiana - Early voting will take place Oct. 21?28. Voters may be asked to present photo ID. If ID is not presented, they may have to sign a personal identification affidavit.   (Photo: State of Louisiana) 

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Louisiana - Early voting will take place Oct. 21–28. Voters may be asked to present photo ID. If ID is not presented, they may have to sign a personal identification affidavit. (Photo: State of Louisiana) 

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Maine - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready (30-45 days before an election) and ends three business days before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification. (Photo: State of Maine)

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Maine - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready (30-45 days before an election) and ends three business days before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification. (Photo: State of Maine)

Photo By Photo: State of Maine

Maryland - Early voting begins on Oct. 23 and ends on Oct. 30. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Maryland voters are not required to present photo ID to cast ballots.  (Photo: State of Maryland)

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Maryland - Early voting begins on Oct. 23 and ends on Oct. 30. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Maryland voters are not required to present photo ID to cast ballots. (Photo: State of Maryland)

Photo By Photo: State of Maryland

Massachusetts - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Maryland voters are not required to present photo IDs to cast ballots.  (Photo: Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

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Massachusetts - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Maryland voters are not required to present photo IDs to cast ballots. (Photo: Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

Photo By Photo: Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Michigan - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters must present a photo ID or sign a personal identification affidavit. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.(Photo: State of Michigan)

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Michigan - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters must present a photo ID or sign a personal identification affidavit. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.(Photo: State of Michigan)

Photo By Photo: State of Michigan

Minnesota - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready (46 days before an election) until 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters are not required to present a photo ID.(Photo: State of Minnestoa)

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Minnesota - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready (46 days before an election) until 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters are not required to present a photo ID.(Photo: State of Minnestoa)

Photo By Photo: State of Minnestoa

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Mississippi - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable.   (Photo: State of Mississippi)

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Mississippi - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters must present photo ID. Click here to learn which forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of Mississippi)

Photo By Photo: State of Mississippi

Missouri - No early voting; excuse required to cast absentee ballot. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters may be asked to present photo ID. If ID is not presented, they may have to sign a personal identification affidavit.(Photo: State of Missouri)

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Missouri - No early voting; excuse required to cast absentee ballot. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters may be asked to present photo ID. If ID is not presented, they may have to sign a personal identification affidavit.(Photo: State of Missouri)

Montana - In-person absentee voting begins 30 days before an election and ends the day before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present identification, which includes utility bills, bank statements and paycheck stubs. Click here to find out what to do if you don't have any of the acceptable forms of ID.(Photo: State of Montana)

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Montana - In-person absentee voting begins 30 days before an election and ends the day before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present identification, which includes utility bills, bank statements and paycheck stubs. Click here to find out what to do if you don't have any of the acceptable forms of ID.(Photo: State of Montana)

Nebraska - Early voting begins 30 days before each statewide primary and general election, and 15 days before all other elections and ends the day before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification.(Photo: State of Nebraska)

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Nebraska - Early voting begins 30 days before each statewide primary and general election, and 15 days before all other elections and ends the day before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification.(Photo: State of Nebraska)

Nevada - Early voting begins on Oct. 18 and ends on Oct. 31. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters are not required to present ID, but first-time voters may be asked for identification. Click here to learn more. (Photo: State of Nevada)

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Nevada - Early voting begins on Oct. 18 and ends on Oct. 31. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters are not required to present ID, but first-time voters may be asked for identification. Click here to learn more. (Photo: State of Nevada)

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New Hampshire - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Photo ID is not required but may be requested. Click here to find out what forms of identification are acceptable.     (Photo: State of New Hampshire)

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New Hampshire - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Photo ID is not required but may be requested. Click here to find out what forms of identification are acceptable. (Photo: State of New Hampshire)

Photo By Photo: State of New Hampshire

New Jersey - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready (45 days before an election) until 3 p.m. the day before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voter ID is not required but first-time voters may be asked for ID. Click here to find out what forms of identification are acceptable.     (Photo: State of New Jersey)

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New Jersey - In-person absentee voting is available as soon as ballots are ready (45 days before an election) until 3 p.m. the day before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available and certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voter ID is not required but first-time voters may be asked for ID. Click here to find out what forms of identification are acceptable.  (Photo: State of New Jersey)

Photo By Photo: State of New Jersey

New Mexico - Early voting begins on Oct. 18 and ends the Saturday before Election Day. In-person absentee voting begins 28 days before an election and ends the Saturday before Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters are not required to present ID.(Photo: State of New Mexico)

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New Mexico - Early voting begins on Oct. 18 and ends the Saturday before Election Day. In-person absentee voting begins 28 days before an election and ends the Saturday before Election Day. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters are not required to present ID.(Photo: State of New Mexico)

Photo By Photo: State of New Mexico

New York - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters are not required to present ID.(Photo: State of New York)

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New York - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters are not required to present ID.(Photo: State of New York)

Photo By Photo: State of New York

North Carollina - Early voting begins on Oct. 23 and ends 1 p.m. on the Saturday before Election Day. Voters are currently not required to present an ID but that may change in 2016.    (Photo: State of North Carolina)

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North Carollina - Early voting begins on Oct. 23 and ends 1 p.m. on the Saturday before Election Day. Voters are currently not required to present an ID but that may change in 2016. (Photo: State of North Carolina)

Photo By Photo: State of North Carolina

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North Dakota - Early voting begins on Oct. 20 and ends the day before Election Day, at the discretion of the local official. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present some form of identification or will not be allowed to cast a ballot. Click here to learn what forms of ID are acceptable.   (Photo: State of North Dakota)

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North Dakota - Early voting begins on Oct. 20 and ends the day before Election Day, at the discretion of the local official. Certain elections can be held entirely by mail. Voters must present some form of identification or will not be allowed to cast a ballot. Click here to learn what forms of ID are acceptable. (Photo: State of North Dakota)

Ohio - In-person absentee voting starts on Oct. 7 and ends at 2 p.m. the Monday before Election Day. Voters must present an ID. If they do not have one, they can cast a provisional ballot but must return within 10 days with proof of identification. Click here to learn what forms of ID are acceptable.  (Photo: State of Ohio)

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Ohio - In-person absentee voting starts on Oct. 7 and ends at 2 p.m. the Monday before Election Day. Voters must present an ID. If they do not have one, they can cast a provisional ballot but must return within 10 days with proof of identification. Click here to learn what forms of ID are acceptable. (Photo: State of Ohio)

Oklahoma - In-person absentee voting begins on the Thursday before an election and ends at 2 p.m. on Saturday before Election Day. Voters may be asked to present an ID it is not required. Click here to learn what forms of ID are acceptable.    (Photo: State of Oklahoma)

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Oklahoma - In-person absentee voting begins on the Thursday before an election and ends at 2 p.m. on Saturday before Election Day. Voters may be asked to present an ID it is not required. Click here to learn what forms of ID are acceptable. (Photo: State of Oklahoma)

Photo By Photo: State of Oklahoma

Oregon - The state doesn't use traditional polling sites. Ballots are automatically mailed to eligible voters. Counties must have at least two drop sites (libraries, city halls, etc. or outdoor mailboxes) beginning the Friday before an election. Counties may provide drop sites as soon as ballots become available (18 days before election).     (Photo: State of Oregon)

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Oregon - The state doesn't use traditional polling sites. Ballots are automatically mailed to eligible voters. Counties must have at least two drop sites (libraries, city halls, etc. or outdoor mailboxes) beginning the Friday before an election. Counties may provide drop sites as soon as ballots become available (18 days before election). (Photo: State of Oregon)

Pennsylvania - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters are currently not required to present identification.(Photo: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)

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Pennsylvania - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters are currently not required to present identification.(Photo: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)

Photo By Photo: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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Rhode Island - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters are not required to present identification.(Photo: State of Rhode Island)

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Rhode Island - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters are not required to present identification.(Photo: State of Rhode Island)

Photo By Photo: State of Rhode Island

South Carolina - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters will be asked to present an ID to cast a ballot but if they are unable to do so, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot and return within a few days of the election with an acceptable form of identification.(Photo: State of South Carolina)

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South Carolina - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Voters will be asked to present an ID to cast a ballot but if they are unable to do so, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot and return within a few days of the election with an acceptable form of identification.(Photo: State of South Carolina)

South Dakota  - In-person absentee voting begins 45 days before an election and ends at 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID or sign a personal identification affidavit.     (Photo: State of South Dakota)

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South Dakota - In-person absentee voting begins 45 days before an election and ends at 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID or sign a personal identification affidavit. (Photo: State of South Dakota)

Photo By Photo: State of South Dakota

Tennessee - Early voting begins Oct. 15 and ends on Oct. 30. Voters must present a photo ID. Click here to learn what forms of identification are acceptable.(Photo: State of Tennessee)

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Tennessee - Early voting begins Oct. 15 and ends on Oct. 30. Voters must present a photo ID. Click here to learn what forms of identification are acceptable.(Photo: State of Tennessee)

Photo By Photo: State of Tennessee

Texas - Early voting begins 17 days before an election and ends four days before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID. If they cannot do so, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot but must return within six days with an acceptable form of identification.(Photo: State of Texas)

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Texas - Early voting begins 17 days before an election and ends four days before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID. If they cannot do so, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot but must return within six days with an acceptable form of identification.(Photo: State of Texas)

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Utah - Early voting begins 14 days before an election and ends the Friday before Election Day. In-person absentee voting begins 29 days before an election and ends the Friday before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available. Photo ID may be requested but is not required to cast a ballot.(Photo: State of Utah)

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Utah - Early voting begins 14 days before an election and ends the Friday before Election Day. In-person absentee voting begins 29 days before an election and ends the Friday before Election Day. Permanent absentee status is available. Photo ID may be requested but is not required to cast a ballot.(Photo: State of Utah)

Photo By Photo: State of Utah

Vermont - In-person absentee voting begins 45 days before an election and ends 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification.   (Photo: State of Vermont)

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Vermont - In-person absentee voting begins 45 days before an election and ends 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification. (Photo: State of Vermont)

Photo By Photo: State of Vermont

Virginia - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Identification is not required to vote.(Photo: Commonwealth of Virginia)

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Virginia - No early voting; excuse required for absentee voting. Identification is not required to vote.(Photo: Commonwealth of Virginia)

Photo By Photo: Commonwealth of Virginia

Washington - The state doesn't use traditional polling sites. Ballots are automatically mailed to eligible voters. Counties must have at least one voting center open for in-person early voting beginning 18 days before an election through 8 p.m. on Election Day. Photo ID may be requested but is not required.   (Photo: State of Washington)

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Washington - The state doesn't use traditional polling sites. Ballots are automatically mailed to eligible voters. Counties must have at least one voting center open for in-person early voting beginning 18 days before an election through 8 p.m. on Election Day. Photo ID may be requested but is not required. (Photo: State of Washington)

Photo By Photo: State of Washington

West Virginia - Early voting will take place from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3. Voters are not required to present identification.   (Photo: State of West Virginia)

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West Virginia - Early voting will take place from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3. Voters are not required to present identification. (Photo: State of West Virginia)

Photo By Photo: State of West Virginia

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Wisconsin - In-person absentee voting begins on the third Monday before the election and ends at 7 p.m. the Friday before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID. If they are unable to do, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot but must return by Friday with an acceptable form of identification.  (Photo: State of Wisconsin)

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Wisconsin - In-person absentee voting begins on the third Monday before the election and ends at 7 p.m. the Friday before Election Day. Voters must present a photo ID. If they are unable to do, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot but must return by Friday with an acceptable form of identification. (Photo: State of Wisconsin)

Wyoming - In-person absentee voting begins 40 days before the election and ends the day before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification.  (Photo: State of Wyoming)

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Wyoming - In-person absentee voting begins 40 days before the election and ends the day before Election Day. Voters are not required to present identification. (Photo: State of Wyoming)

Photo By Photo: State of Wyoming