By the time U.S. citizens turn 18, they’re most often busy with life, whether it’s because of work, college, family, or all of the above. This can cause an issue for some, as they tend to miss elections due to a variety of other obligations.
Thirty-nine out of 50 states now offer early voting, allowing residents to work around their busy schedules, and two are slated to change coming 2022. Of those 39 states, Oregon allows early and absentee voting for its residents.
Personally, around November my schedule starts to get very busy with final projects for classes, holiday work schedule at Starbucks and trying to organize time for friends and family. Many students around campus experience the same time crunch around November, which is usually a big election month. This results in little time to think about elections, let alone actively participate in them.
However, early voting allows citizens to turn in their ballot up to 45 days before the election, the average amount usually being 19. Though you have to turn in ballots early, it allows voters to work around their busy holiday schedules and experience the election all the same. This leniency allows plenty of time for voters to do research and send in their ballots or attend a public voting poll.
There have been some issues surrounding early voting, including a ballot poll in New York City asking voters to show identification, even though in New York voters don’t need an ID to vote at in-person polls. This calls another problem into perspective: Allowing citizens to cast their votes without proper identification on hand.
Without identification, there doesn’t seem like there’s a way to guarantee that the person is who they say they are. Though name and address are required for voting, it seems like a small way to prevent voter fraud. Only a third of the states don’t require identification at in person polls, including Oregon.
As voting has primarily changed to become electronic over the past year or so, there have also been issues with the tablets used for voting that have sprung up.
Many machines and scanners have gotten jammed, at least two voters were told they had voted early when they claimed they had yet to vote, and some places reported problems connecting electronic devices to secure internet servers according to an article on Newsday titled “Some Election Day problems related to early voting system.” Though these are all electronic problems, they should be noted and fixed for the next upcoming elections, especially if the polls are saying citizens have voted when they haven’t.
Make sure to register to vote for the next presidential election in 2020 if you’re 18, and consider voting early as an option if you’re often busy during the holiday season.