Election Day is right around the corner. While we gear up for November 8 by getting out the vote in our communities nationwide, some lawmakers and corporate lobbyists are working to make it harder for millions of people in the U.S. to vote.
This is no accident – it’s a coordinated attack on our freedom to vote, and it’s something we all need to be aware of. Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant, low-income, young, and new voters are deliberately targeted, as well as folks with disabilities.
With so many coordinated attacks on the right to vote, it is crucial that we take advantage of voting early – a tool we have to make our voices heard. Vote Early Day is a new civic holiday dedicated to helping every voter know how, where, and when they can vote ahead of election day.
Early voting gives folks more flexibility and time to cast their ballot, opening doors for people who would otherwise not be able to take time off from work to vote on election day. This is especially true given the long lines we’ve seen at polling locations and restrictive laws banning people from receiving snacks or water while waiting for hours on end. All of these tactics are used to prevent folks from participating in our constitutionally guaranteed right to cast a ballot and have our say in the direction of our country
Early voting is already taking place in many states including Georgia, which is already on track to hit record turnout for next week’s midterm elections. Georgia voters are turning out at a higher rate than they did for the 2020 presidential election, thanks to the tireless work of ProGeorgia, The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, and dozens of organizations. Right now, 46 states offer early voting for all voters. Only four states — Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, and New Hampshire — do not offer early voting for all voters.
As the CEO of State Voices, I am proud to lead a coalition working nationwide to build people power, starting with voting access. In Wisconsin, our Wisconsin State Table hosted a Souls to the Polls event in Milwaukee to get Wisconsinites registered to vote. Our partners in Tennessee with CivicTN will be hosting an event called Party at the Polls for the final weekend of early voting to reach more voters in the state and share information on voting early. And in Louisiana, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice is providing resources to help Louisianans make a plan to vote early.
Early voting is an important tool to expand access to the ballot box. Giving people more time and flexibility to vote, especially in the wake of more and more voter suppression laws, is essential to building a multiracial democracy. This Vote Early Day, I encourage all of you to let your voices be heard. Voting is a freedom we cannot take for granted. It is a critical way to exercise our power – our futures depend on it.
— Alexis Anderson-Reed (she/her)