By Lauren Pongan, National Director, Diverse Elders Coalition.
In the United States, we’re used to thinking about elections as a cathartic day when we take action and contribute to the democratic process. Historically, every 4 years, the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) in November has been a day for the American people to define our political direction for the next few years. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many aspects of our daily lives, and the political process is no exception. In addition to the obvious shifts towards online and digital campaigning, the process of voting has changed too. In many ways, it has become election season rather than election day, with early voting now offered in 43 states and the District of Columbia(1).
According to the Associated Press, as of October 25, 58.6 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election. The expansion of vote-by-mail and/or early voting to 43 states makes participating in the electoral process during the pandemic safer and more secure. For older adults, who have consistently had high voter turnout in presidential elections, these adaptations are essential for maintaining their access to the electoral process.
In the 2018 general election, 64% of citizens age 65+ cast their ballots(2). Let’s keep it up in the 2020 elections! Vote now! Our friends at AARP have made it easy to understand election protocols in your state, with a state by state guide to the general election. Make sure you have a plan to vote, and vote safely, on or before November 3rd.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.