This is the first presidential election year that New York State has had extensive in-person early voting. Because B, T, and I were planning to be out of the country on election day, we decided we would avail ourselves of that opportunity rather than voting absentee by mail, an option that was expanded this year to include fear of illness to protect people from exposure to coronavirus.
Across the country, there were long lines for early voting but no one knew how New York voters would respond. There was also no historic basis from which to plan. The first day of early voting was Saturday, October 24. We reasoned rightly the first weekend would be busy, so we planned to vote on Monday afternoon.
It was still very busy. It took us two and a half hours to vote, most of which was spent standing in a social distanced and masked outdoor line. Just as we were near the door into the library polling place, the line stalled. It turned out that one of the two ballot printing machines had stopped working, so the final check-in took longer, but all the election workers, volunteers, and people in line were very patient and respectful.
Because the lines were long, the county board of elections added more early voting hours so that wait times would be shorter.
I was glad to see so many here and across the country making themselves heard through their votes. The US has historically had low voter turnout and I’m hoping that the energy around voting this year will mark a new era of greater civic participation.
Our votes and voices are important. We all need to vote and make sure that our votes are counted. We also need to be patient while the counts are completed and certified.
It’s been a looooooong election season but it’s almost over. Stay strong, everyone!