Here are my top ten reasons you should vote early instead of on election day. In Harris County, you can find hours, locations, and dates for voting between October 20th and the 31st here. Anywhere else in Texas, check your county office, by phone or on the web.
If you need to know who to vote for, I made a handy guide.
10. If you decide to run away and join the circus, or meet some exciting new person who whisks you off to Paris for a month-long vacation, your vote will still get counted if you’ve voted early.
9. You might get quarantined for exposure to some dangerous virus, and then you’d be out of luck unless you had already voted early. A month ago, you would have thought this was as unlikely as possibility as #1, but now, you’re thinking about it.
8. You can vote at any early voting location in your county, not a specific precinct. You think you know where your election day polling location is, but a large percentage of these sites have not yet been confirmed, and they could be changed or consolidated at any time, even the night before the election. Seriously. Two weeks before the election, I know, but seriously. If you look at the list when you click on polling locations list, you’ll see the number of locations marked with an asterisk that means they have not yet been confirmed. Don’t count on Stan Stanart being on top of things. He is strategically inept when it comes to making it easier to vote.
7. You have time to get help if something isn’t right and they try to make you vote a provisional ballot instead of a regular ballot. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE for election assistance. Don’t let someone bully you into voting a provisional ballot. Your vote should be counted.
6. Once you’ve voted, you can help other people vote. Drive people to the polls who would otherwise miss the chance to exercise their constitutional right to vote. In Houston, San Antonio, or Dallas, sign up with Texas Organizing Project. Otherwise, call your county party.
5. You know how you sit around anxiously after the polls close waiting for early voting numbers? Well, even if you don’t, I do. It would be awesome if half of the vote came in early so we didn’t have to stay up so late to know who was ahead by 8 p.m. or so. Well, even if you like to stay up late, I don’t, so help a sister out.
4. What if it rains on election day and all of the intersections flood, or we get a hurricane and you have to evacuate? What if you go away for the Halloween weekend and get trapped in the Chicago airport? It could happen. Stay dry, don’t stress—vote early!
3. Once everyone in your household has voted, the phone calls from candidates stop. Really. Every day, the county updates the records for who has voted, and if you’ve voted, you get off the call list. Stop the insanity! Vote early!
2. Lines long on election day because we are going to have record turnout? You’ve voted already, doesn’t matter. Precinct judges screw up the voting machine installation, so there’s a delay in your precinct opening? You’ve already voted, doesn’t matter. The kids at the elementary school where you vote have all came down with swine flu and your hazmat suit is on loan to a friend in Dallas? Doesn’t matter, you’ve already voted. Seriously, I got swine flu one year when all the kids at the elementary school down the block did, and I don’t even have kids, but I had to go into that school building, and I got it.
1. Smugness. Self-righteousness. Enjoy it. Own it. Revel in it. You’ve already exercised your civic duty. BAM. Print yourself an I Voted sticker and wear it every damn day between now and election day. Early voting means you can do that.