Early Voting Starts Today: Bank Your Vote

And there’s no need to leave the house!

by Kerry Dougherty

This may be my autumn of living dangerously.

Heck, I may roller skate down a flight of stairs. Without a helmet. I may drive on the interstate. Without a seatbelt. Shoot, I may even give gas station sushi a try.

If I don’t make it till Election Day? Who cares?

I’m voting by mail.

My vote will count, whether I’m dead or alive!

Yep, conservatives and libertarians are late to this game, but it’s time we all joined in. Gov. Glenn Youngkin launched SecureYourVoteVirginia.com in July, urging Republicans and Independents to do what Democrats did to great success in the last election:

Bank those votes.

That way, unforeseen emergencies – illness, car problems, hurricanes – can’t disrupt your plan to get to the polls.

Mail-in voting makes a difference. And there are 45 days of it in Virginia this year. Beginning today.

Consider what happened in the whisker-close Kevin Adams vs. Aaron Rouse special election in January to fill the state senate seat Jen Kiggans vacated when she was elected to Congress.

Rouse, a Democrat, won. With about a 1% margin or just 696 votes.

Yet Adams took the in-person vote on Election Day and even the early, in-person voters.

Adams was slaughtered, however, in the mail-in vote.

In an excellent analysis headlined “Does Voting By Mail Real Help Candidates Win?”  The Washington Monthly answered with a resounding YES and used the Adams/Rouse race to illustrate:

At the polls that day, some 3,000 more voters had shown up for Adams than for Rouse. The Republican also led among “early in-person voters”—those who had cast ballots at polling stations in the weeks before Election Day.

But when a third category, mail-in voters, was counted, Adams’s lead vanished. Only 1,601 of his supporters had applied for and returned a mail-in ballot, while 4,283 had done the same for Rouse, giving the Democrat a close but comfortable 696-vote win.

That victory had major consequences in Virginia: It bolstered Democrats’ slim majority in the state senate.

That slim majority blocked every major initiative of the Youngkin administration. They tried to stop the Youngkin tax breaks, but finally caved.

An Adams/Rouse rematch is coming on Election Day and Kevin Adams, a retired Naval officer, is urging his supporters to mail in their ballots and help the GOP flip the Senate.

“Our campaign is laser-focused on getting Republicans to secure their vote by making full use of absentee voting,” Adams told The Washington Monthly. “I know firsthand from the January special election that we cannot go into election day down thousands of votes, and we are prosecuting an aggressive absentee turnout program.

The GOP has been slow to adapt to mail-in ballots and The Washington Post reports that 75% of Virginians who were signed up for permanent mail-in ballots were Democrats.

That gives the left a built-in advantage. They can win elections before the polls open on Election Day.

Youngkin aims to change that by trying to convince Republicans to shake off the romantic notion of heading to the polls on November 7th to cast ballots with all of their neighbors.

Too many variables means that the best-intentioned voters never make it to the polls.

I’ve always liked walking to my polling place on Election Day. I liked shaking hands with the candidates, running the gauntlet of campaign workers on my way in the church and chatting with my neighbors as we got our “I Voted!” stickers.

Not this year. Perhaps never again.

I went to SecureYourVoteVirginia.com two months ago, quickly received a confirmation from the Virginia Beach registrar that my request to be placed on the permanent absentee list had been received and yesterday I got a letter from the registrar that my ballot was coming.

I’m going to fill it out the minute that ballot lands in my mailbox and return it immediately. I should get a confirmation from the registrar that my ballot made its way to the Municipal Center and my vote had been counted. (That’s the “secure” part.)

When I called the Beach registrar’s office yesterday, I confirmed that ballots are being mailed out today and the office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 to 5 for in-person early voting. There are several satellite locations as well. Check the registrar’s website for details.

At the Beach, the registrar will also be open on two Saturdays: Oct. 8 and Nov. 4 from 9 to 5.

But why roll off the couch and waste the gas? Mail your ballot. Bank that vote.

Next, go skydiving. Or bull riding. Or sample some of that tasty gas station sushi, comforted by  the knowledge that if you vote in September, you’ve banked your vote.

Nothing can stop you.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.