October 13, 2020
Which Voting Method Is Right for You?
The state of the economy, health care, and Supreme Court appointments are all weighing heavily on the minds of Americans, according to Pew Research Center.1 It’s more important than ever to make your voice heard this Election Day. ACE Cash Express understands the importance of voting in the upcoming election, and that is why we’ve established our Your Voice, Your Vote initiative. Its purpose is to bring awareness to the importance of voting and to encourage our customers and employees to take action on issues they care about.
Voter registration deadlines and rules that each state has regarding voting methods can be confusing to both new and seasoned voters. While you may be accustomed to waiting in line for hours on Election Day to cast your ballot, this year you may have the option to choose a different voting method that will be better for you. In this blog post, we’ll discuss each voting method, its benefits and drawbacks, and how to best navigate each one.
Remember that every state may not offer these options. To learn more about voting methods available in your state, check out this blog post.
In many states, an absentee ballot may be your best bet to avoid voting in person. An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable or unwilling to attend the official polling station. In many cases, voters who wish to vote by absentee must present an “excuse”, or a reason as to why they can’t vote in person. Because of the coronavirus, many states are allowing people who are at high risk of getting the virus to vote by absentee ballot (even if they would not normally be eligible).
Benefits and Drawbacks of Absentee Voting
Absentee ballots are particularly useful to people who physically cannot vote in person, including those overseas or anyone with an illness, injury, or disability preventing them from getting to their polling place. Those serving in the military can vote by absentee to ensure their vote is counted even if they are away from their home state. Students attending university out-of-state can also benefit from voting via absentee ballot.
There are a few potential drawbacks of voting by absentee ballot. If you live in a state that requires an excuse and your state deems your excuse invalid, you run the risk of being denied. Make sure to check the list of excuses your state will accept before requesting an absentee ballot. You’ll also need to keep track of specific deadlines in your state to receive and return the ballot. You also run the risk of possible mail delays that could impact your vote.
Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas all require a valid excuse in order to vote by absentee. If you live in one of these states and wish to vote absentee, make sure you request your ballot well in advance to ensure you’re accepted in time. Check your state’s website to see the absentee ballot deadlines for your state.
In addition to traditional absentee voting, mail-in voting is available to more Americans than ever before this year due to concerns about the transmission of COVID-19 during in-person voting. However, each state has different rules regarding when you have to register, when the ballot must be received, and whether or not you need a valid excuse to vote by mail.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Voting by Mail
The biggest benefit of voting by mail is that you can do it from home, saving you time and reducing risk of exposure to COVID-19. You can easily forego massive lines and save time by having your ballot delivered straight to your door and mailing it off well before Election Day.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to this voting method. Not every state offers mail-in voting, so it may only be available to some voters. As with absentee ballots, you’ll need to track the schedule for mail-in voting to make sure you receive and return your ballot on time. You also run the risk of mail delays.
The first and most important thing you’ll need to know is whether your state allows mail-in voting. Most states allow anyone to vote by mail; however, as with voting by absentee, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas require you to have a valid excuse in order to qualify.
The second thing you’ll need to determine is the deadline for when your ballot needs to arrive, which is determined by your state. 28 states require mail-in ballots to arrive on or before Election Day, while the other 22 states require them to be postmarked on or before Election Day (even if they arrive later).2
Voting in person is often the most common choice for voters. With this method, you visit your local polling place, wait in line, and vote. This year, polling locations will need to take extra precautions to ensure everyone’s safety when voting in person.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Voting in Person
Voting in person has the benefit of giving people a greater sense of security that their ballot will be counted. If you have made sure you’re registered to vote, all you need to do is go to your polling place on Election Day and cast your ballot.
Voting in person does have potential drawbacks. First, it will likely require a larger time commitment. You may find yourself waiting in line for hours. Additionally, if you have a disability or language barrier, you might find that your polling place lacks adequate accommodations.
If you want to vote in person, be sure to check your polling place before Election Day. Determine whether the location will be able to meet your needs, including accessibility and availability of translators, if needed. You should also make sure to get there early in the day to avoid the crowds. Check your polling place hours to help determine the best time frame for you.
You can also check whether or not your state offers the option to vote early. Some states allow you to vote in person during a specific time period before Election Day. This can be a great way to minimize your time spent waiting in a line.
Whether you choose to vote by mail, absentee ballot, or in person, you must register to vote ahead of time in order to be eligible. Check out our site to learn how to register to vote in your state, as well as your state’s voter registration deadlines. A little preparation ahead of time can help you make your voice heard and effect the change you want to see in our country.