An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable or unwilling to attend the official polling station or to which the voter is normally allocated. Numerous methods have been devised to facilitate this. Increasing the ease of access to absentee ballots is seen by many as one way to improve voter turnout, though some countries require that a valid reason, such as infirmity or travel, be given before a voter can participate in an absentee ballot.
Among countries where voters are allocated to one or several specific polling station(s) (such as the polling station closest to the voter’s residential address, or polling stations within a particular district, province or state), some countries provide a mechanism by which voters can nevertheless cast their ballots on election day at a different polling station.
The reasons for allocating voters to specific polling stations are generally logistical. Absentee voting at a different polling station might be catered for by, for example, designating some larger polling stations as available for absentee voting, and equipping such polling stations with the ballot papers (or the means to produce ballot papers) applicable to an absentee voter.