Early Voting: A Jumpstart on Your Civic Duty


Audrey Lezcano

As we enter crunch time to the election, the best way to ensure your voice is heard…is to vote early!

Audrey Lezcano, Staff Writer

The moment we have been waiting for is finally here: early voting in Florida has begun! Early voting encompasses heading to the physical polls when available, sending your mail-in ballot through the post office or placing it in a drop off location from Oct.19 and through Nov. 1, prior to election day. Being able to vote early allows voters to avoid the long lines, stress of the Coronavirus and fear of missing work that comes with voting on election day. So, why wait for your voice to be heard when it is safer and easier to vote early?

Waiting to vote on election day can be stressful and chaotic. This stress begins with the agonizingly long wait in the line; most people that vote on election day have to wait in these lines for hours. Although voters may still have to wait in a line to provide proper identification, this line will most likely be much shorter than the ones on election day. Longer lines means more people and for this particular election, that is incredibly dangerous. This election year is one for the history books as it is taking place the same year as the global COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this, voting early is especially important this year.

While the crowding in polling sites is normally a hassle, this year it is a safety issue. Even though some preventative precautions may be in place, these risks will be greatly increased on election day. Following proper Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and social distancing guidelines on election day will be very difficult due to the overbearing amount of people that will be at polling sites and the controversies of certain guidelines and their effectiveness now at play. Some may not wear a mask or proper face coverings at these polling sites. For the safety of individuals and the community, it is much better if people vote early rather than all at once. Voting early is clearly the safer, more responsible choice.

“I think voting by mail is a great opportunity to review the ballot before the polls and avoids the stress of long lines on Election Day! As a new voter, I loved having the extra time to go over the ballot and research any candidates and proposed amendments I had not heard of. A lot more than the president is on that ballot,” senior Mccall Horton said.

As if the long lines that lack a great deal of safety measures were not bad enough, people who work will have an even more difficult time voting on Nov. 3. Since Election Day is not a national holiday, many are not given time off to go and cast their ballot. Keeping in mind that many wait in line for hours on end, those who must vote after they get home from work will find voting especially challenging since they will have to rush to the polls to try to make it before they close, which in most cases does not work.

Overall, the idea that Election Day is not a national holiday is absurd. The fact that many will have to worry about not being able to vote on election day due to having to work shows that certain groups of people may not be represented as well. As the working class makes up around 47 percent of the U.S. population, having this be an issue for such a large part of the population is an example of the country’s voter suppression. It seems that people who will have to work on election day are better off casting their vote early. This way, they know their vote will be counted and they will be represented.

“Making election day a national holiday works in everyone’s favor. It is perfect because some citizens have to work and maybe they do not have time to go vote on the days of early voting so they miss out, but if we make it a national holiday then everyone will have time to vote,” freshman Arianna Henriquez said.

Unlike getting to go to a convenient polling location right after work or school, on Election Day, each voter is assigned a specific polling location. This can be a great inconvenience for those who are not near this location. During the 2 weeks of early voting, people are not assigned a specific location in which they have to vote, so voters can cast their ballot at the place which is easiest for them. Unlike on election day people are assigned a specific voting site at which they must vote, regardless of the lines already forming or its closeness to their home. So, it seems it is much more convenient to vote early so voting can occur at your disposal.

With the options at hand, we have seen an early form of voting receive a great deal of controversy these past few weeks. Many have argued the safety of mail in voting, although there is no evidence proving its fraudulence. Mail in voting can be done by requesting a ballot online, filling it out and mailing it back. These ballots must be mailed before Oct. 26 because after that, it might not arrive in time. If they are not mailed it in by then, then they will have to be dropped off at their local elections office before 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. This is an efficient and safe way to get in your vote, especially with an ongoing pandemic. Filling out a ballot by mail is simple and an excellent option for voters, if possible voters should use this method of voting because of its safety and accuracy.

The ability to vote is one of our nation’s constitutional rights. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the American people exercise their right to vote. This is what our country and democracy is built upon. Without this, people would be unable to voice their opinion nor elect candidates they deem most aligned with their views. The very ideology when this country was formed was for the power to be held by the people with the government enacted solely by the people. Being able to vote early helps ensure that the American people are heard since it is a viable option for those who can not vote on election day. This election is the most important one of our lifetimes; whether voting early or not, make sure to vote because every single ballot counts.