Early voting is the process by which electors can vote on a single or series of days prior to an election. Early voting can take place remotely, such as by mail, or in person, usually in designated early voting polling stations. The availability and time periods for early voting vary based on jurisdiction and type of election. The goal of early voting is usually to increase participation and relieve congestion of polling stations on the election day. An advance poll is held in some elections to allow participation by voters who may not be able to vote on the set election day(s). This may include people who will be out of the polling area during the election period, poll workers, campaign workers, people with medical procedures scheduled for that time, adherents to religious commitments, among others. As unconditional (no excuse) early voting legally has gained ground during recent years, voices have been raised against it as seriously damaging to the democratic process.