At the Obama rally we attended on Wednesday, we heard one message repeatedly from volunteers by the line to get in and from the volunteer organizer who was the first speaker: Vote early.
I don’t know how the laws work in the rest of the states, but in Indiana we can go to any of several locations in our county and cast an early ballot. This isn’t the same as voting absentee: the ballots are collected, sorted by precinct, and counted later along with all the rest cast on Nov. 4.
Encouraging people to vote early ensures that those supporters’ votes are cast regardless of what happens on Election Day. You don’t have to worry about a long line, or the precinct running out of ballots, or having to work, or finding childcare, or being sick, or forgetting to take your ID with you, or it being too wet/cold/snowy outside. You can go vote any day that you have a few free minutes; and if you do forget your ID, or some other mix-up occurs, you can try again the next day.
I love the idea. I may do it, although I get a huge shot of satisfaction from actually entering a voting booth on Election Day and marking the boxes on my (paper!) ballot. But I’m frankly nervous about our local government’s ability to safely store the early ballots and then reliably produce them when the time comes. I’ll probably go to the County Clerk’s office and ask some questions about procedures, and then decide.
If you live somewhere that allows early voting, why not go ahead and vote today? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done your civic duty and helped forge the future of our country. Then, when Nov. 4 rolls around, if you just can’t bear to stay away from the polls, you can give rides to elderly friends or others who need some assistance.