Daily Illuminator

September 14, 2020: Reminder For People In The U.S.: VOTE!

Election Day in the United States this year is November 3.

But that doesn't mean you should vote then, unless you really enjoy standing in a mask all day, six feet from everyone else who also waited for that Tuesday to vote in person. There are options and you can save yourself a lot of stress by exploring them . . . if you do it now and you're smart about it.

Being smart starts by researching the other options you have in your area and state. Many states are allowing voting by mail, where you will be sent a ballot that you fill out, sign, and return. Do this as early as possible, because the USPS is in an accelerating death spiral and if you wait to request a mail ballot, you may not receive it in time. Many voter activists advise returning your completed mail ballot to a polling place or the county office, where they will take it directly from you. Do this ahead of Election Day to ensure your vote is counted.

Some states have early voting as well. In Texas, for example, registered voters can go to any polling site in their county during the early polling period (which is October 13 through 30 this year). It doesn't have to be your precinct like it does on Election Day itself. With hundreds of polling places being shuttered this year, this can give a very useful option to people who have the mobility to travel to less congested sites.

If you have some freedom of movement, it can be very helpful to take friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else who might have trouble getting to voting sites to vote, either early or on November 3. Many communities have programs to match up potential voters with people who can make sure they get where they need to go. Of course, this is even more useful if you're the one who needs help to get to the polls!

As of the time of writing this, it looks like this election may make the 2000 mass confusion seem easy and civil. Voting as early as possible and making sure other people get to the polls early if they can is the best way to keep us from waiting until New Year's Eve to find out who actually won this thing.

-- Andrew Hackard

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