We’ve all heard the hyperbolic declarations that this is the most consequential election in modern history. While we do live in the age of clickbait headlines, I’m actually inclined to agree with this particular assertion. There’s a lot at stake here, regardless of your political leanings.
During this pandemic, many people have decided to vote by mail to avoid standing in long lines with strangers, even with hand sanitizer, masks and social distancing. This is perfectly rational and frankly smart. BUT… IT’S TOO LATE NOW. If you haven’t mailed in your ballot already, you should drop it off or vote in person.
Why? Because many states have deadlines for mail-in (aka “absentee”) ballots that may mean your vote will not be counted. And unfortunately, there are many states that are trying very hard to throw out as many ballots as possible right now. Combine that with the fact that the US Postal Service has been hamstrung, and you come to the unfortunate yet undeniable conclusion that any ballot mailed in now stands a good chance of not being counted.
Make a Voting Plan
The election is Tuesday, November 3rd – that’s 6 days away. Here’s your checklist:
- If you haven’t registered, do it right now.
- If you have registered, you need to verify that you’re still registered. People are getting purged from voter rolls without notification.
- If you have a mail-in/absentee ballot in your hand, it’s too late to mail it in if you want to be certain that it will be counted. You should drop it off at an official voting site in person. If necessary, turn this ballot in and vote normally.
- You can download a sample ballot ahead of time and make yourself a crib sheet that you can take with you to the voting booth.
- Vote all the way down the ticket! Sheriffs, judges, commissioners, and state offices are all very important. Don’t know who they are? You can do your homework by finding online, nonpartisan voter guides.
- Find your polling place (regular or early voting, they can be different).
- Make a plan to vote. Like, an actual PLAN. Expect long lines. Bring food. Bring warm clothes, an umbrella, comfy shoes, whatever you need.
- Make sure you know if you need voter ID, and if so, take at least two valid forms of ID with you (in case one is rejected).
- GO VOTE!!!
There are many great websites to help you with all of the above:
- Vote.org – a true one-stop-shop for all things voting. Start here.
- Vote411.org – sample ballots, polling info, non-partisan voter guides
- Common Cause
- When We All Vote
After You Vote: Going Further
There are many things you can do after you vote.
- Encourage others to vote.
- If you’re relatively young and healthy, volunteer to work the polls.
- Help other people get to the polls.
- Bring food (and joy) to people standing in long lines.
- Donate money – to candidates, causes, orgs, etc.
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