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Q&A: Can You Change an Early Vote?

by Countable | 5.25.17

Following news that Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte attacked a reporter on the eve of the special election for the vacant House seat he’s pursuing, there was a flurry of Google searches involving the phrase "change early vote."

The majority of searches originated in Montana, where it’s been estimated that roughly two-thirds of the ballots that’ll be cast in the election were already submitted when news of the incident and Gianforte’s citation for misdemeanor assault broke. Unfortunately for the searchers, Montana doesn’t allow early voters to change their vote after submitting their ballot, but because of their queries in the aftermath of the Gianforte melee we wanted to find out just how many states let early or absentee voters change their ballot.


Popularity of "change early vote" searches on a scale of 0-100 via Google Trends

Of the states that offer early or absentee voting, NBC News reported that at least seven allow absentee voters to change their vote — including Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Connecticut: Absentee voters can change their vote in-person on Election Day if the voter submits a request before 10 a.m. the morning of the election.

Michigan: Absentee voters can request a new ballot in-person at the local clerk’s office until 4 p.m. the day before the election, but they can’t override their absentee ballot by voting in person on Election Day.

Minnesota: Voters can request the cancellation of their ballot until the close of business one week before Election Day, and then either ask for a new ballot to mailed, vote in person early or wait until the day of the election.

Mississippi: Absentee voters can override their ballot by voting in person at their polling place on Election Day.

New York: Absentee voters can change their vote by asking for a new absentee ballot in person up until the day before the election, or voting in person on Election Day. New absentee ballots can only be mailed if they’re requested early enough.

Pennsylvania: Voters can void their absentee ballot by voting in person at their polling place on Election Day, and some counties allow absentee voters to request a second ballot within a certain timeframe.

Wisconsin: People voting by mail can request a new ballot from the municipal clerk the week before the election, but absentee voters can’t vote in-person on Election Day.


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— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Ben Schumin / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(107)
  • Sadie
    05/25/2017
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    It's the one big flaw in early voting. I'd rather see voting day be a national holiday so people could vote as a celebration of democracy instead of fitting it into their busy schedules

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  • VSB
    05/25/2017
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    When something like this happens, you should be able to change your vote. According to the Missouian, this was not the first time he lost his temper. It was just worse this time. If endorsed, he will more than likely physically attack a journalist again because talking to press is part of politics. Unlike Trump, I think politicians like this are a threat to the American people!

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  • Martin
    05/25/2017
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    To bad we can't in most states. It might have allowed us to dodge the disaster known as trump!

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  • Sandi
    05/25/2017
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    I think when something happens like this, then yes, you should be able to change your vote. I get the logistics might be tough, but I would be pissed if this happened after I early voted for someone like this.

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  • Frankie
    05/25/2017
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    Yes of course they should. Especially in instances of violence.

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  • Andrea
    05/25/2017
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    That the sherriff who investigated and decided that this incident - which sent the journalist to the hospital - was simply a misdemeanor was also a donor to the maniac who attacked, leads me to question that sheriff's impartiality. I think the state needs to get involved. Trump's violent rhetoric towards those who stand against him and his constant demonizing of our free press is leading us down a road of fascism. I hope that the GOP will wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late.

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  • J
    05/25/2017
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    If you vote for someone you thought you knew and then that person assaults a person or etc. etc. breaks laws... then yes this needs to happen!

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  • Linda
    05/25/2017
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    Too bad he wasn't charged with felony assault you can't hold office. Too bad the authorities didn't think of that. Another millionaire elitist that believes violence is the answer. 45 has others rough people up. This guy should not hold office can not be recalled federal employee. Argh!

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  • Karen
    05/25/2017
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    Being able to change a vote in an incident like this should be allowed and if not then Election Day should be a national holiday where everyone can vote. I also believe that actions such as this should automatically disqualify this man from the election.

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  • James
    05/25/2017
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    Yes, allow changes with absentee votes. With all the benefits and reasons to/for increasing voter turn out (precipitation of the people) it should be understood that additional developments can occurs in elections

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  • Mary
    05/25/2017
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    I also think changing your early vote should be allowed in circumstances such as these!

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  • Nancy kaye
    05/25/2017
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    Actually, no one at Fox News has retracted their statement about this. Please see the Fox News site http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/24/greg-gianforte-fox-news-team-witnesses-gop-house-candidate-body-slam-reporter.html and recheck your fakes news site that claimed it never happened. The guy is a goon and should be charged with felony assault.

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  • Steve
    05/25/2017
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    Maybe if you made election day a holiday or vote by app on your phone or computer and opened the thousands of polling stations the GOP closed to keep the poor from voting or made voting districts along the county lines instead of Jerry meandering to cheat the system you wouldn't need early voting! GOP is a national security threat to America.

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  • Jacob
    05/25/2017
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    Of course! Especially in instances like this. While we're at it, can we make this a possibility for the 2016 presidential election and kick out the belligerent sweet potato? No? Okay...

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  • Kathy
    05/25/2017
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    I think we should be allowed to change our votes if factual information is discovered, that might change the view of the voter.

    Like (7)
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  • Meg
    05/25/2017
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    I think if someone breaks the law, like committing assault ;), then you should be able to change your vote.

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  • Jeanne
    05/25/2017
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    This should be an option á la the other states that allow voters to change their ballots. Maybe the question now for Montana is what can be done should the offender win.

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  • Andrew
    05/25/2017
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    No! Once you have voted you cannot change your vote. Early voting, where it helps with the wait time, is flawed. The only fair way to vote is to vote on the day the constitution has set as the date.

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  • Tricia
    05/25/2017
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    No. the people that voted early made their decision. They need to live with it. If you are able to change an early vote it makes it too easy for voter fraud

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  • Jack
    05/25/2017
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    Hell yes! We need this for this last election

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