I won’t waste your time telling you all the reasons why this November’s midterm election is so critical (although it really, really is). I’ll just share with you what I believe to be the Top 5 Reasons to Early Vote.
#5: Momentum – Studies have shown that when early voting numbers are high, especially during the first days of early voting, two things happen: 1) all early voting goes up and 2) Election Day and overall voting numbers go up. It’s that human habit of going where the crowd is. Something in our brains tells us whatever it is that’s attracting eyeballs and attention, we need to be a part of. It’s the reason why clubs are purposely slow in letting people in. The longer the line, the more folk want to check out what’s happening in that spot. By driving up those early voting numbers, you are helping to create a momentum that may get folk who are on the fence about voting, to go ahead and fulfill their civic duty.
#4: Signal to Other Cities – The state of Georgia kicked off early voting on Oct. 14. The 100,000-plus folk who turned out during those first few days made national news. In other words, people took notice, and began asking the question: what drove this level of enthusiasm about voting. Soon, other states where early voting started also began reporting insane numbers of people voting. It’s almost as if the early excitement and participation in early voting sends up a Bat Signal across the country, and folk jump in their various Batmobiles and zoom to the polls in superhero fashion, to fight whatever madness is going down in their city via the power of their votes.
#3: Spotlight on the Big Issues – As stated above, when the early voting energy is all the way live, everybody starts asking the question “Why.” What then happens is, not only do the folk who early voted talk about the issue(s) that moved them most, media begins to spotlight that issue(s) even more, which then gets even more people hyped about making sure they vote. So, in a very real sense, when you vote early, you attract more eyes, hearts and minds to the very same issue(s) that lit a fire in you to go vote.
#2: Opportunity to Help Election in Other Ways – When you get your voting out of the way before Election Day, you are then freed up to help the election process in other ways. And that is what several serial early voters do—they find other ways to contribute to the election numbers. There is an extremely high number of poll workers who vote early. Additionally, many early voters end up providing transportation to the polls during early voting and on Election Day. Some talk up voting with everyone they know, making sure their friends and family vote. Still others work the polls in other ways; often as volunteers for a candidate. Early voting means you not only make sure your voice is heard, it allows you to encourage and facilitate many others to add their voting voices, as well.
#1: Avoid the Madness – Early voting, along with being insanely convenient, allows you to avoid long voting lines, that you already know are being made longer by Republican lawmakers who have closed down a gazillion former voting locations in Black and Brown neighborhoods. They bank on people being so frustrated by long lines that they choose not to vote. And then, there are the GOP-funded and bred “poll watchers” whose job it is to harass and intimidate as many people as possible in hopes that they’ll turn around and not vote. There’s also the avoidance of showing up to the polls without all your necessary IDs to vote, and then being out of time to go get it and cast your ballot. Early voting allows you to vote on your terms, and at a place and time most convenient for you.
So, the moral of the story is, “Go early vote!” But if you miss that early voting window (Oct. 24 – Nov. 4), make sure to vote on Election Day (Nov. 8). But for real, EARLY VOTE!