Vote Early Day is not just a fun holiday -- it turns out casting your ballot early has more benefits than we all thought.
What is Vote Early Day?
Every October since 2020, Cleveland VOTES celebrates Vote Early Day (VED). VED is a nonpartisan movement of media companies, businesses, nonprofits, election administrators, and creatives working to ensure all Americans have the tools to vote early. Vote Early Day was founded by MTV as a new civic holiday focused on helping every voter know how, where, and when they can vote early. Launched in the midst of a global pandemic, VED became a critical resource to ensure no voter had to choose between their health and casting their ballot. Over 3,000,000 voters have cast their ballots on Vote Early Day alone since its founding.
What are the benefits of early voting?
The Brennan Center for Justice aptly explains that “as Americans’ lives become more complex, confining voting to a single 8– or 12-hour period is simply not reflective of how most voters live. Expanding early voting programs is a crucial way to modernize the system.” As we become more aware of every person’s unique voting needs and habits, many states have added extra days for early voting to their election calendars (including Ohio). Despite early voting now being a widespread practice throughout the country, though, many Americans still don’t even know that it’s an option, or they know about it but don’t see how it’s different from voting on election day.
According to recent research done by Brennan Center, there are five primary benefits of casting your vote before election day:
1. Reduced stress on the voting system on Election Day. Our voting technology and systems are quite safe and trustworthy (despite some of our political leaders claiming they aren’t). That said, when there is a lot of activity happening on the same day--like election day--it does put extra pressure on our systems and could potentially cause issues like slower processing times. It’s better to be safe than sorry and try to spread voting out over multiple days so our systems can run optimally.
2. Shorter lines on Election Day. It’s such a great feeling when you can just pop in and out of your polling place within 5-15 minutes. The more people who vote early, the shorter the wait time will be when you go to vote.
3. Improved poll worker performance. Having polls open for only a day can lead to numerous problems, including long lines. Poll workers — who only work in their position once or twice a year — sometimes struggle to cope with all of the voter traffic. Imagine you were hired at a restaurant and on your very first day the restaurant was filled with customers with a line going out the door. That’s the reality for many poll workers, but fortunately it can be partially resolved if a lot of us vote early.
4. Early identification and correction of registration errors and voting system glitches. Early voting days can act as “experimental sessions” for voting staff to make sure that all systems are working properly.
5. Greater access to voting and increased voter satisfaction. Not everyone has the same daily schedule. By having more voting dates available, more folks will be able to pick a day that works best for them, leading to more voter engagement overall. And people feel better about voting–and put more trust in the system–when they get to control the time, day, and method that they vote.
You can read more about the benefits of voting early in this report.
How can I vote early in Cuyahoga County?
If you want to vote early for the fall election, it’s a good time to get a plan in place. Unfortunately, there have been efforts to curb early voting in Ohio this past year (such as through OH HB458), so it’s important to pay attention to key dates and deadlines. Here is this year's voting schedule:
Oct. 10 -- Registration Deadline
Oct. 11 -- Opening of Early In-Person and Vote-by-Mail (Absentee) Voting
Oct. 31 -- Deadline for Vote-by-Mail / Absentee Applications
Nov. 5 -- Early In-Person Voting Ends
Nov. 6 -- Vote-by-Mail / Absentee Ballots Postmark Deadline
Nov. 7 -- Election Day
Next, you’ll need to decide if you want to vote early by mail or in person. The steps for each option are below.
If you choose to vote early in person, we hope you will consider joining us for our annual early voting event, Pull Up to the Polls, on October 28. It will be held outside the Board of Elections in Midtown at 900 E. 30th St. from 12-4pm. Come cast your ballot early, and then join us outside for music, food + family-friendly fun. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Vote Early Day and Pull Up to the Polls.