The vote

In just a few days we may have an election that sees one of the highest turnout rates ever — and this is during a pandemic.

Many voting models suggest that as many as 150 million people will cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election. That’s about 65 percent of eligible voters nationwide.

In New Hampshire turnout is expected to be at an even higher rate, likely over 70 percent of eligible voters.

According to the New York Times on Oct. 26, about 61.3 million votes nationwide have already been cast in the 2020 election — a record number.

In a map on the Times website, they demonstrated how that number represents 44 percent of the total vote in 2016. In New Hampshire, 181,577 votes have been cast so far, according to WMUR’s politics newsletter on Oct. 27.

As with many states, New Hampshire made it easier for voters to vote by absentee ballot in this time of the coronavirus. This election, with our ability to request a ballot and return it to the town clerk — even all within the same day, if you wanted — we got a taste of something very close to the early voting that other states offer.

But this easy absentee voting isn’t something we’ll likely see for the next election. Here voting generally means going in person to polling places that are generally open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for one day. But planning when in your day to vote isn’t always easy. It can be hard to break away from work or to go in the early morning or the evening when it means there might be a line and you’re crunched for time. Many school districts make Election Day a holiday, which means you have to figure out what to do with the kids when you make your voting plans. What if there’s a wait? What if they get fidgety?

Forget gaming out what party benefits from what kind of voting; there’s something to be said for just getting more voters involved, and not just during the presidential election years but for other elections as well.

What would offering people more options for when they vote — by mail or in person before Election Day — look like in New Hampshire? What would it mean to have more Granite Staters exercising their right to have a say? In the aftermath of this election, it’s worth taking a closer look at making voting easier for everybody, not just those who have some flexibility in their Tuesdays.

Author: Jody Reese

Jody Reese is the publisher of The Hippo Press.

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