Early voting turnout tops record highs

The+Women%27s+March+is+one+of+many+organizations+that+have+encouraged+people+to+vote+in+the+upcoming+2020+presidential+election.+

Women's March Oct 2020 / Flickr / Mobilus In Mobili / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Women’s March is one of many organizations that have encouraged people to vote in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

In the United States, around 84 million people have already voted, as the election just rounds the corner on November 3. So far, over 54 million mail-in ballots have been received, and over 30 million in-person votes have been counted, according to the U.S. Elections Project, with only four days left before the election.

The numbers surprised many, as nationally, voters have already cast 59.7% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election. Texas is currently leading the early vote count, where over 9 million people have voted so far. According to the New York Times, more ballots have already been cast than were cast for President Donald Trump four years ago in Texas. 

“I believe that we are seeing something that will only happen once in our lifetimes. The voting results truly show what the American people want and how desperate they are for change,” said Sophie Durrans, a sophomore at Carlmont. 

Despite the ongoing public health crisis, voters have found different ways to cast their ballots. Many have voted by mail or waited in long lines to ensure their vote is counted.

Early Voting in 2020 by Erwan Pal

According to Policy Brookings, many states have moved to vote-by-mail in recent years to make it more convenient for those that want to vote and can’t make it to the polls in-person.

Over the past few months, many states have adopted the idea of mail-in voting due to COVID-19 and provided the option to ensure that people can stay safe, though people can still choose to expose themselves to the health risks associated with large crowds at polling places.

Yet, the question of how reliable mail-in voting still stands. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, there is no evidence that mail balloting increases electoral fraud. Several anti-fraud protections are built into the process to make it more challenging to impersonate voters or steal ballots. 

“I believe that mail voting is the proper way to vote this upcoming election as it allows all citizens to make sure they are safe from the possibility of contracting COVID-19,” said Megan Hughes, a junior at Carlmont. 

When asked about the possibility of electoral fraud due to mail ballots, she said, “I don’t believe that mail-in ballots will cause electoral fraud as there are many steps taken to guarantee a proper vote.”

Some suggest tracking their mail-in ballots to ensure they are counted; the ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and received by the local county elections office no later than 17 days after election day. Further, the ballot must be postmarked by November 3. and must be received no later than Nov. 20. 

With the complications of voting by mail, many voters across the nation opted to wake up early to stand in line and exercise their right to vote.

In New York, many people waited in long lines, even for hours just to cast their ballots on the second day of early voting for the upcoming 2020 election, according to NBC New York

“For me, voting by mail is the best way to stay safe and make your voice heard. We are still in a global pandemic, so safety should be of the utmost importance when it comes to voting. Standing in line with huge crowds of people is not the best way to make sure you are staying safe, but if that’s what it takes to make your vote count, then do it, but safely,” said Alexandra Poda, a junior at Carlmont.

 In 2016, roughly 43% of eligible voters didn’t vote, for a multitude of reasons, from not liking the candidates to not being able to make it to the voting booth altogether, according to turnout estimates from the U.S. Elections Project

“Those that did not vote in 2016 could have completely changed the outcome of the election. I am also worried that many people this year will not vote. I know that it is tedious to go through the process of voting, but everyone has to. Your vote counts,” Durrans said. 

Many people have been encouraging others to vote, as seen in the 2020 Women’s March in Washington D.C. and across social media like Instagram and Twitter, providing voter registration links. Many celebrities have also taken to social media platforms to advocate that everyone’s vote counts and that people need to get out and vote.

David Dobrik, a popular YouTuber known for his vlogs, posted an Instagram picture of himself surrounded by five white Tesla Model 3s. For a chance to win one of the Teslas, fans had to share his post on their account, tag a friend in a comment section, and register to vote with HeadCount, a non-partisan group devoted to increasing voting rolls. 

In a recent interview with Forbes, Dobrik said, “I wanted to go, like, ‘Hey, guys! I can’t vote. I’d love to, but the best I can do is you guys go vote on my behalf.”

By directing his fans towards registering to vote, nearly 120,000 people had registered, which is the single largest voting drive in the 16-year history of HeadCount.  

Not only has Dobrik encouraged his supporters to vote, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also urged people to vote.

On Oct. 20. she hosted a live stream to encourage young voters to register and get to the polls, streaming with Rep. Ilhan Omar and other gaming celebrities on her Twitch channel. 

According to The Washington Post, Ocasio-Cortez’s “Among Us” stream became the third most-watched stream run by one person on Twitch, with about 444,000 concurrent viewers. 

“We were the highest driver to IWillVote.com ever,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with CNN.  

With the many celebrities and politicians urging everyone to vote, many others have become advocates for going to the polls. 

“It is extremely important to vote. Every vote counts. I urge everyone to fill out the ballot they receive in the mail or to stand in line and vote, following safety precautions. It is crucial that everyone votes this upcoming election,” Hughes said.

Some suggest tracking the mail-in ballots to ensure they will be counted.

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