As of September of this year, there are just under 40 states across America that allow voters to cast their votes early. I recently moved from Virginia, a state without early voting, to North Carolina, a state with early voting.
One of those reasons I decided to vote early was because of convenience. I was able to avoid long lines on election day and vote in a reasonable amount of time. Instead of waking up early the morning of election day and strategizing a way to balance going to vote and work, I was able to go on a day when I both was off of work and felt up to going out to the polling place to vote.
I also felt like it was my duty to go and vote early considering the fact that I recognize voting as a privilege. To have privilege is to have a special right that others do not have and being able to vote is a privilege as is being able to vote early. As I referenced to before, only 37 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting as of this year.
In addition, across the country, many critics (including elected officials) have tried to end or limit early voting in an attempt to influence the election and combat supposed voter fraud. One such law here in North Carolina was recently overturned due to it having "discriminatory intent" as it targeted poor and minority potential voters by requiring a form of ID in order to cast a vote.
I see these attempts to place limitations and restrictions on who gets to vote upsetting especially when they are done under the guise of preventing something as rare as voter fraud.
These attempts also stress the importance of elections on not just the national level but the state and local as well. The state and local elections are just as significant as the presidential election, if not more when we consider that we are directly and immediately affected by the policies put in place by our state and local officials.
For example, North Carolina has lost roughly 700 million dollars, countless jobs, and business interest due to its discriminatory, anti-transgender House Bill 2, more commonly known as HB2. Despite the harm, criticism, and shame HB2 has brought North Carolina, Governor McCrory has continued to support it and has no plans to repeal it. However, his opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, promises to both repeal HB2 and catch up on the ground lost by Governor McCrory.
The convenience of early voting, the privilege I associate with voting and by extension early voting, and the importance of this election on all levels of government are what motivated me to vote early this past Thursday and will continue to motivate me to vote in the future.