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Published: October, 2020; Vol 17, Num 6

 

Stay Healthy and Exercise Your Right to Vote

LIUNA General
President
Terry O'Sullivan

We’re only a month away from the 2020 election and it’s time to start thinking about using your right to vote, and doing it safely. Much like the coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of our lives, voting is no different. States across the U.S. are trying to avoid the risk of spreading COVID-19 that comes with bringing large numbers of people together at indoor polling places. Despite these challenges, there are many options to vote safely and many steps you can take to reduce your risk if you do choose to vote in person.

“LIUNA has proudly endorsed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the best choice for blue-collar workers and their families,” says LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stand with LIUNA on the issues that matter to the livelihood of LIUNA members, including infrastructure, prevailing wages, retirement security, healthcare and energy.”

You can visit www.LIUNAvotes2020.org to read more about LIUNA’s endorsement and find out where former Vice President Biden and Senator Harris stand on issues that matter to LIUNA members and their families.

Know the Voting Options Where You Live

Are You Registered to Vote?

If you haven’t registered to vote yet, there’s still time! The Fund recommends that all LIUNA members register to vote, check their registration prior to election day and request a mail-in ballot now if that’s how you plan on voting. You can take all of these steps at LIUNAVotes2020.org.

First, take a few minutes and find out which voting options are available in your state.

Nonpartisan sites like Healthy Voting provide state-by-state information related to mail-in/absentee ballots, early voting and whether all polling places will be open on election day. Many aspects of voting, including when early voting begins and ends and the hours polling places are open, vary from state to state. Having this information will help you choose a secure and safe way to cast your ballot. Here’s what you need to know about each of the ways you may be able to vote in your state, and how to do so safely.

Mail-in Voting/Absentee Ballot

This year, the majority of states have expanded their mail-in voting policies to encourage people to vote by mail and avoid potential lines and crowds at polling places. Bonus: you fill out and drop off your ballot when it’s convenient for your schedule.

  • In most states, you need to request a ballot to vote by mail. In nine states and the District of Columbia, all voters will be mailed a ballot.
  • Some states require voters to provide a reason for voting by mail when requesting a ballot.
  • You’ll need a stamp to mail your ballot. You can order stamps online at www.usps.com to avoid going out.
  • If you go out to buy stamps or return your ballot at a mailbox or drop box, remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after contact with high-touch surfaces, such as the door or handle of a drop box.
  • Know your state’s deadline for having your mail-in ballot postmarked or delivered to a dropoff location.
  • Know your state’s deadline to request a mail-in ballot:

Early Voting

Early voting will still occur in person as it has in previous elections, usually in the week or weeks before election day. While this option doesn’t reduce in-person contact as much as mail-in voting, polling places tend to be much less crowded during early voting than on election day.

  • If you can, use early voting centers during the mid-morning or early afternoon, when they are typically less busy.
  • Wear a mask or other face covering and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others to protect yourself, election workers and other voters.
  • Before and after voting, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Voting in Person on Election Day

If you’re unable to vote by mail or make use of early voting, follow the same tips in the Early Voting section above to limit person-to-person contact with other people when voting. Use a site such as Vote.org to locate your polling place. Some districts are offering curbside voting or drive-through voting to limit the number of people gathering indoors; make use of this option if it’s available where you live.

Making Sure Your Vote Counts

The U.S. Postal Service recommends requesting a ballot as soon as possible, but no later than October 20. To avoid any potential delays, the Fund recommends you take two minutes and request your mail-in ballot today at LIUNAVotes2020.org.

To ensure your ballot is counted, remember to do the following:

  • Sign the declaration on the return envelope
  • Seal the inner and outer envelopes
  • Put a stamp on your ballot envelope
  • Read the ballot closely and follow all instructions

While the way you cast your ballot this year will require some extra thought and planning, the LHSFNA encourages you to exercise your right to vote.

[Nick Fox]