by, Sophia Sakellariou, Senior Writer
One week, seven days, and less than 168 hours left until Election Day. Here’s what you should know before the big day.
If you intend to cast your ballot in person it is important to have a game plan. Find the nearest polling place in the district in which you are registered by inputting your information into the polling place locator at vote.org. Budget a good amount of time in your day in case you have work or school since long lines can make the process a bit time consuming.
Make sure you bring the necessary materials to be able to cast your ballot. Two-thirds of states require voters to present identification at the polls. Check your state’s laws in regards to whether you need identification and if so, what qualifies before heading to your polling place.
If you’ve voted in New York before, you don’t need to provide ID to vote. If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn’t provide a copy of your ID with your registration, you may need to show ID to vote. Acceptable forms include: a current and valid photo ID such as a driver’s license; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.
You can call your polling place on Election Day to see what they require to make sure you have everything you need. If you are unable to provide ID or forget it, you will be able to vote with an affidavit ballot as a New York voter.
Most importantly, don’t forget a mask and to stand six feet apart from others in line.
Results: What We Know So Far
Many states have begun early voting. Early voting in New York will be available until Sunday, Nov. 1, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. According to the U.S. Elections Project website, run by Michael McDonald, an expert on early voting, around 30 percent of the total number of votes cast in the 2016 election have already been cast 13 days before Election Day.
Texas is currently leading the early vote count with more votes already cast than Donald Trump won there in 2016. These numbers show that the 2020 election is shaping up to be a record-breaking turnout, an incredible feat considering the circumstances of a life-threatening pandemic, economic struggles and a President who has continually tried to undercut the legitimacy of the American electoral system.
Democrats currently hold an advantage, but that doesn’t mean they’ll maintain it. So far, pollsters only see the data of registered early voters and not every registered Democrat is guaranteed to vote for Biden or vice versa. The results likely will not come until late on Election Day or days after, but this impressive turnout marks a beacon of hope for democracy in these challenging times.
States to Watch
On Election Day, the states to closely monitor will be the battleground states the candidates need to win in order to secure a clear path to victory with 270 electoral votes. Trump will need to win some of the states that polls show are currently leaning toward Biden in order to reach that number. For an overview of the electoral college and how it works, a previous edition of Manhattan Caucus, Understanding the Electoral College, can be found at mcquad.org.
According to an interactive article on the battleground states in The New York Times, there are various potential outcomes of the presidential race. So far, Texas, with 38 electoral votes, is leaning Republican. The states and their electoral votes leaning Democrat are Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), Nebraska’s 2nd District (1), New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (20), Nevada (6), Arizona (11), and Wisconsin (10).
The battleground states that are still a tossup are Florida (29), Iowa (6), Ohio (18), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15) and Maine’s 2nd District. The 2016 margin for all of these states was Republican leaning. Georgia is traditionally Republican-leaning, but it has grown more diverse and politically competitive in recent years with the growth of Atlanta and its suburbs. North Carolina is split between large communities of Black voters, college students and moderate professionals, and large areas that consist of more rural, white conservative voters.
Florida is almost always close in presidential elections as it is diverse, but often conservative-leaning.
A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. As was seen in 2016, the popular vote numbers are not representative of who will win. The results may not be final until days after election.
Remember your vote matters. 2020 has been a tumultuous year with hardship after hardship that aren’t necessarily going away anytime soon. It is hard to have hope in an age where death tolls are rising in a global health crisis, unemployment is increasing and our nation is increasingly polarized as social media platforms serve as a battleground for any and all topics of debate.
But if the high early voting numbers are any indication, all is not lost. There is hope for democracy and the American people to come together to push for change. We, the people of America, are strong and we will recover from this, but you must make your voice heard. Whether through early voting or in-person, you can make a difference and be a part of history.
It has been my pleasure covering American politics with this column for the Jasper community, especially in my final semester as a student and senior writer for The Quadrangle. I hope that my efforts have left you a little more informed on the American political system as well as provided some clarity in a time where the political news cycle is a bit chaotic and overwhelming. I know it is scary, especially when the pandemic means putting your health at risk to fill out a sheet of paper, but it matters. You and your beliefs matter. As the youth of America we have tremendous power in our hands and I hope you use that power to vote next week.
I look forward with both optimism and trepidation to writing the final installment of this column for you when the results are in.