Making sure your vote gets counted

If you're like me, you can't help but notice that by now, you've received six or seven solicitations in the mail, urging you to obtain an "absentee ballot" for use in your local election, even though you'll be in town on Election Day.  Various reasons are given — usually "COVID-19" — but sometimes none at all.  It is plain to see that there are those who wish for a disproportionate number of votes to be "potentially uncounted" on Election Day.  However, this can be very easily avoided in three convenient ways.

First: If you are concerned about standing in a long line on November 3, or you simply don't want to, then you should remember that every state that uses in-person voting also allows you to vote early — up to about two weeks early — while still voting in person.  In this way, you can very likely avoid all human contact, because at the time you happen to show up, you're quite likely to be the only one there.  But there will now be no question whether your vote was cast and counted: you'll personally watch it being placed into that locked ballot box.  Your vote will be accepted and counted identically to all those that are cast on "Election Day."

Check with your county election officials (on their website) to find out when early voting begins and where the polling locations will be located.  The number of polling places used for early voting is much smaller than those that will be used on Election Day, but, where applicable, some of them are always served by public transportation.

Second: If you do choose to obtain an absentee ballot but will be in town, there will also be drop-off locations where you can personally and securely deposit your completed ballot, well before Election Day.  Unlike "early voting," these ballots will be subject to the usual verification steps before being counted, but you will have eliminated any possibility that your ballot did not arrive.

Third: If you really are going to be out of town, apply for your absentee ballot immediately.  Your application must be verified, and this, as well as mailing the authorized ballot to you, takes time.  When you receive it, immediately complete it and mail it back so that it will be received well before Election Day.  (In most states, this continues to be a legal requirement.)  Pay attention to the directions both for requesting and for completing and mailing the ballot; the directions are quite clear, but they must be followed exactly.

All of us should earnestly want the upcoming election to be timely and secure, and to feel safe while participating in it.  We should be entirely confident that our vote was not interfered with.  Fortunately, as I have now described, here are three good ways that all of us can ensure that this is so.

Image: Needpix.

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