Millions of voters have already cast their votes for the 2020 presidential election. Since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many citizens have opted out of in-person voting and have chosen to mail in their ballots instead.
However, this year, voting by mail in Texas is much more complicated than many other states. With strict limitations that are set in place, some voters are frustrated and overwhelmed with even the idea of trying to mail in a ballot.
To request a ballot, voters must be at least 65 years of age, must be sick or disabled, confined in jail or be out of the country on election day, according to Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs’ website.
In this difficult time, voters should have the right to request the option to mail in a ballot. Especially when we are in the middle of a global pandemic and many people do not want to vote in person.
Many other states are trying make voting as simple and straightforward as possible by allowing voters to have access to “online voter registration, automatic voter registration and allowing voters to register as late as Election Day” while the deadline in Texas was Oct. 5, according to The Texas Tribune.
These numerous hurdles have made it very difficult and confusing to vote by mail, and many voters are turning to their second option: voting in person.
After three weeks of opening polling locations across Texas, “9.7 million Texans have cast ballots, crushing previous early voting totals in the state and setting Texas on a course for record turnout in this Tuesday’s general election,” according to The Texas Tribune.
Voting in person is extremely effortless. My voting experience was very quick and easy. The wait time was ten minutes and overall it took twenty minutes to vote.
Many volunteers supporting either party stood a certain distance outside of the voting center and provided cheat sheets of the current candidates so that voters could look over it while waiting in line.
Social distancing markers were placed outside to guarantee that people waiting in line were at least 6 feet apart and a mandatory mask policy ensured all voters were wearing a mask. Hand sanitizing stations were placed at the entrances and the exits to allow voters to use after casting in their ballot.
Voting in person is not always the ideal situation, especially when we are trying to stay away from groups of people. However, these polling locations have many policies and health protocols that they must follow to make sure people are safe while casting their vote.
Voting gives each individual a voice to decide which candidate will be in office for the next four years. As United States citizens, we have the right to exercise our Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and we should take advantage of it.
Go online to find the local voting centers in your area and make sure you go out and vote.