EDITORIAL: Consider voting early this year

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Categories: Editorial, Opinion

This might be the day you’ve been waiting for — the chance to vote in person in the 2020 election.

For the first time in the state’s history, New Yorkers won’t have to wait until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to cast their vote for president.

The nine days of early voting that begins today and continues through next Sunday has the combined benefit of making voting more convenient and accessible to more people, while also helping protect covid-fearing voters who might not relish going into an overcrowded polling place on Election Day.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with early voting.

First, it’s taking place in most counties every day through Nov. 1. You don’t have to rush in today or on the weekend days.

Keep in mind the hours of early voting are generally shorter than on Election Day, and they might vary depending on the county and the day of the week.

Even with limited voting hours, you should be able to find a convenient day and time in there somewhere. On Election Day, the polls are open 15 hours – from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. everywhere in the state.

For information about voting — including your registration status, where your polling location is, your congressional and legislative districts, and the hours of operation for early voting and voting on Election Day —visit: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/.

Just plug in your county, first and last name, date of birth and ZIP code, and all that information will pop up for you.

There are some other things you might consider when voting in person.

First, you must be registered as of Oct. 9 or you can’t vote.

Second: Your attire. You’re required to wear a mask. That should go without saying, but some people need reminding.

You’re not allowed to wear clothing or other items that display the name of a candidate or political party within 100 feet of a polling place. But slogans are exempt from that rule. So if you want to wear your MAGA hat or Black Lives Matter shirt, that’s OK.

If you voted by absentee ballot and maybe now don’t trust the process or just want the certainty of voting in person, you can still show up at the polls and vote.

They won’t count your vote twice; they’ll simply discount your absentee ballot and your in-person vote will replace it.

You also can still vote by absentee, although it might be safest to hand-deliver your ballot to the Board of Elections to ensure it gets in on time to count.

Early voting is a great opportunity to vote in person if it’s too inconvenient for you to vote on Election Day, if you want to avoid long lines at the polls, or if you want to reduce your risk of contracting covid.

It starts today. Consider taking advantage of it.

An earlier version of this editorial had the incorrect closing time for voting on Election Day. Polls are open until 9 p.m.

 

One Comment

CRAIG KNICKERBOCKER

Don’t everyone show up at once, or you will be in a long line. With the need for social distancing, we don’t need voting to become a covid spreader.

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