Bryce Bennett is the executive director of Vote Early Day, a national nonpartisan civic holiday dedicated to empowering Americans to vote early.
It’s Vote Early Day! Today, thousands of nonprofits, businesses, campus groups, election leaders, and other voting enthusiasts are hosting celebrations encouraging Americans to vote early in every corner of the country.
But why vote early?
In the final hours of voting, Americans can face unanticipated barriers that may keep them from casting their ballot. Challenges include long lines, hectic schedules, illness, last-minute childcare or work issues, traffic jams, changing election laws, voter disinformation, and myriad other obstacles. We’ve all encountered these issues and have seen even the best-laid plans fall apart when problems arise.
When you vote early by mail or in person, nothing can stop you from having your say. When people vote ahead of Election Day, they have the convenience of finding a date and time that works for their schedule. The lines may be substantially shorter, so you can get in, get out, and get on with your day. And if you run into an issue like not having the proper ID or showing up to the wrong polling place, you have plenty of time to correct the problem and cast your ballot.
Launched in 2020, Vote Early Day is a nonpartisan holiday dedicated to ensuring all Americans have the tools and information they need to vote early. Built in the same model as other civic holidays like National Voter Registration Day, it culminates in a tentpole moment: a shared day to celebrate our democracy by helping others participate in it.
The success of this holiday is built on the idea that empowering voters is a task no single group can or should do alone. Through a broad, diverse set of partners, Vote Early Day can meet people where they are with the information they need to vote in advance of Election Day. Every business, educator, nonprofit, faith community, student group, media company, athlete, celebrity, and more plays a critical role. Each group has the unique ability to build a celebration that meets the needs of their communities, customers, or constituents.
With politics seen as hostile and toxically partisan by so many people our team encounters, Vote Early Day events mark a fun and joyful opportunity to lower the barrier to entry into our democracy. Through the work of organizations celebrating the holiday, partners not only amplify the benefits of voting early, but also empower people to take advantage of their options to make their voices heard.
With more than half of states seeing changes to their election laws since the 2020 election, Vote Early Day provides an important opportunity to overcome confusion and delays at the polls. By celebrating Vote Early Day, we can share nonpartisan, up-to-date voter information that stops political disinformation in its tracks. When people vote early, they have the time and opportunities to navigate anything that comes their way.
On Vote Early Day 2022, we saw over 3,000,000 votes cast - the highest number of early ballots cast in October, according to the U.S. Elections Project. The total number of Americans voting early in person or by mail grew by 5,766,671 votes in 2022 versus the last midterm election in 2018, marking a 4.6% increase!
While many are already looking forward to the crucial races in the year ahead, national and local partners will not allow a year with hundreds of state elections and thousands of critical local elections to be set aside as an “off year.”
Together, we met the moment and helped millions of Americans gain the knowledge and tools to vote early. Partners built impactful celebrations that pulled voters off the sidelines and made a real difference, but the work is far from over.
In 2023, we must keep up the momentum to ensure that the voices of every American voter are heard. Today, Vote Early Day partners will step up to achieve that goal and empower Americans once again.