This was always going to be a tough U.S. presidential election. In 2016, Donald Trump spent a lot of time laying the groundwork to call the election illegitimate in the event that he lost. That year, the U.S. counted gerrymandering, Super PAC spending, and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act as hurdles to having a free and fair election. In 2020, the election is exponentially more precarious, and it’s up to everyone to do what they can to participate. NBC News has put together a quick tool to help you navigate our fractured voting system.
This week, public attention is firmly on the U.S. Postal Service as Americans deal with the worst recorded covid-19 outbreak in the world and anticipate the need to avoid in-person voting. The venerable mail delivery service is being dismantled under the Trump administration, and the president admitted on Thursday that he’s withholding funding for the Post Office in order to make it more difficult to have a legitimate vote-by-mail operation in November.
House Democrats are convening this week to vote on legislation to put a halt to the USPS changes. But even if they succeed in those efforts, there’s no telling what other horrors await us between now and November. The one big thing you can do in the meantime is to make sure you’re all set to vote. Oh, you voted in the past? Oh, you registered two years ago? It doesn’t matter! Double-check everything.
U.S. elections are overseen by the states, and they all choose their own procedures. So, go to the tool that NBC News has created and find out what options you have in your state for registering to vote, mailing your ballot, voting in person, and tracking your ballot after the fact.
While countries like India go to extreme lengths to make sure every single voter is counted, the U.S. is more than happy to make the process as difficult as possible at every turn. You can’t change that fact before November, but you can educate yourself on your state’s rules as early as possible. Everyone should vote as early as their state will allow.