Are you brimming with dread after last night’s disastrous presidential debate and not sure how to channel that energy into something productive? Here’s a simple task that will take no more than a minute: Look up your early-voting polling place.
Well, first check that you live in one of the 40-or-so states that offers some form of in-person early voting. After you’ve confirmed here that you’re registered to vote — just do it, it only takes a minute — go here to find your early-voting polling location. (Note: This is not necessarily the same as your election-day voting site.) Then, find out when early voting starts in your state. In New York, for example, you can cast your ballot early starting on October 24 through November 1, but early voting is already underway in other states. And people are turning out in droves: So far, more than 1 million people across the country have already cast their vote in the 2020 election.
This year especially, there are a lot of reasons why it’s a good idea to vote early if you can. Given that polling places will be following precautionary social-distancing measures, lines on election day are likely to be even longer than usual — which could be further exacerbated by the critical shortage of poll workers in some parts of the country. (Which, by the way, have you considered signing up to be a poll worker yourself?) The more people who vote before November 3, the smaller the crowds will be, which will make in-person voting even safer for everyone. (If you’re unsure about whether it’s safe to vote in-person during the pandemic, experts say that it presents a similar risk as grocery shopping.)
However, if you don’t feel comfortable or aren’t able to vote in-person this year, make sure you order your absentee ballot here ASAP. Then, promptly send your ballot back to ensure your vote is counted — the sooner, the better.