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Your Take: Early Voting

Your Take: Early Voting

Early voting is already underway in many states and polls suggest turnout will be particularly high for a midterm election. As of Oct. 17, nearly 16 million people have already cast their ballots in the general election, 10.5 million of them via the mail, according to the U.S. Election Project.

However, the high ratio of mail-in ballots has caused some individuals to question their validity – despite the precautions taken to ensure ballot integrity.


Regardless of the widespread, yet unfounded concerns about mail-in ballots, they have become a popular mode of voting, especially since the pandemic. The ease and convenience of mail-in ballots may have also contributed to the high voter turnout, a promising sign for democracy.

So we asked for your take on early voting, mail-in ballots, and their effect on election integrity.

  • Will you vote early? Why or why not?
  • What is your opinion on our election integrity? And what informs your opinion?

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

This year, I decided to vote early, because I am volunteering as a precinct election official and will not be able to get away during Election Day to vote at my designated polling place. I decided to volunteer, so I could see the process up close and get a better understanding of how it all works. The knowledge already received through training in the lead-up has been enlightening and empowering. At least in Ohio, there seems to be a lot of procedures and checks and balances in place to help ensure election integrity. As a volunteer, it is a lot of information to learn and process, though, so I think more extensive training for volunteers would be a good idea. I highly recommend folks volunteer to serve at a polling place, so they can see for themselves how our democracy functions on Election Day. -Valerie Minerovic

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We voted early as we will be out of town on Election Day. I do not have confidence that our votes will be counted or counted fairly, as I believe MAGA Republicans across the country have gotten positions where they are the ones counting the votes. I believe our democracy is in major crisis and will remain so, or be lost completely over the next few years. I am deeply saddened by this. -Lesley Heller

1. I've generally voted on Election Day. There's a special feeling about joining one's neighbors in the common task of exercising our voting rights. But as I've gotten older (though I'm only 82) I now usually vote early, to avoid standing in long lines.

2. I think our U.S. election integrity is as well guarded as anywhere on earth, and our last election has been well documented as being reliable. But I am in favor of requiring a legal form of identification in order to vote, as is required in most countries. That will reduce doubt about our election integrity by removing one possible weakness in the system. Since the law requires that only citizens 18 or older can vote, I see no objection to having to show that you are in fact a citizen of ago. (We require ID to buy a bottle of beer.)

As to voting by mail, that clearly introduces a couple of additional weak points. The voter is not seen by election workers, and the authenticating witness signature – where required – may not be verifiable. Mail-in voting also requires more staff work and incurs additional costs. In my view, voting in person should be preferred for greatest security, if only to minimize the points of attack by those who seek to challenge the election's security. It would be good to have a national requirement regarding the number and spacing of polling places, so that everyone will have a voting location nearby. Some (Republican) jurisdictions have reduced the number of polling places unconscionably, causing day-long waits in line to vote. This should be seen as a failure to uphold the voters' rights. -Paul Lillebo

Will I vote early? Yes, absolutely! I have voted in every election for which I was eligible since 1968. Why? I vote in San Mateo County, in Northern California, where all registered voters receive a mail-in ballot. The process is very secure, familiar and transparent. It has built trust over many elections. I also met our county election administrator at a League of Women Voters meeting; he described the full process for election administration and how secure it is. I have also been a poll worker in past elections, so I know the process from the inside. I am very proud to be in a place that takes election integrity so seriously.

I have a very high and favorable opinion about election integrity in our county. In general, I have faith that election officials have done the best they could, considering all the challenges over the years, to ensure that elections are fairly conducted and that the results are accurate. Recently, however, particularly in certain states, I have seen troubling evidence that partisanship has crept into the administration of elections, the counting of ballots and the certifying of the results. I don’t know how widespread it is, and I hope this upcoming election will continue the tradition that fair and impartial election administration is a fundamental (indeed sacred) duty in a democracy. But I am deeply concerned about these issues. -Robert Barrett

It is likely I will vote early as I am an elected official and have been actively involved in candidate forums and state and local politics. Thus I have already made my decisions. Is the process once ballots are received secure? I believe generally so. Note the use of “generally.” Our election has a long history of some level of electoral manipulation. In school during the 1940s and 1950s, we learned of Tammany Hall, Huey Long, and the Daley machine in Chicago. And later, JFK winning with help from the Chicago mob. A study of Teddy Roosevelt and his battles to clean up politics offers an excellent look into our often corrupted systems. The Democrats in an effort to "double down" on anti-Trump efforts by claiming "No fraud" simply added to the distrust within the "basket of deplorables" and I am finding distrust in a widespread "blue" population. -Michael Marthaller

Coal miners, nurses, teachers, people with long commutes, students, the aged, mothers with toddlers, etc etc. Everyone benefits from:

  • Early in-person voting at vote centers.
  • Voting by mail.
  • Same-day registration and voting (permitted in 20 states and D.C.).

What is important is the act of voting. Our vote is our voice. We need to use it without intimidation. What we must not do is allow state legislatures, who have self-serving, political partisan interests, control the processing of elections. If necessary, the Justice Department needs to step in to ensure one person, one vote and every vote counted. Ignorance and partisan politics suppress the vote and make noise, not good public policy. -Alice Smith

I believe in the integrity of our system, not in the politicians who are trying to discredit it. They couldn’t lie, intimidate, threaten or murder their way into office. So that is why the dishonest side is at voting places intimidating poll workers and why felons are being misled into believing they can vote but then arrested. Calling state senators and intimidating them, threatening their families, acting like bullies and mobsters. I will vote in person and not by mail because I will not be intimated while exercising my right to vote. I want to honor the good men and women who have fought for my freedom to vote, to speak my mind and to carry firearms. I wish I werein a position where I could drive people to polls who have no ride there. I wish more people understood that you can not vote for the person you find qualified in primary elections. I don’t want to vote by party. I want to vote for people who represent us, not a Republican/Democrat backed agenda. -Sherri Aument

I'm a Washington resident and so I have my ballot on the desk right next to me. I'll probably vote early just because I'll get bored at some point and do it before Election Day. If not I'll drop it off on Election Day. I don't think early voting should be a thing though. I think we should have one day for voting, a national holiday with remote voting only done in specific circumstances. If you want a reason why just watch the Fetterman/Oz debate in Pennsylvania and recognize that a lot of people have already voted for Fetterman and probably regret it. -Jeff Freeman

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