7 For Seven: 7 ways to vote in the 2020 general election

A state-by-state guide

Brady Gerber’s “7 For Seven”: Seven links on writing and creativity in your inbox by 7 AM EST every Wednesday, as well as Headphone Nation and ARTS & FARTS music reviews. 1st Friday: a new short story. 2nd and 4th Fridays: interviews with writers. Read on your browser.

voting early is sexy

It’s Wednesday morning. Oof.

And this week I wanted to switch things up. A few days ago, I came across the FiveThirtyEight’s guide to voting in the 2020 election and found it really helpful, especially among all the confusion about whether or not certain methods of voting will be available due to COVID-19. (I get that FiveThirtyEight, similar to the NYT, is not everyone’s cup of tea; also like the NYT, in terms of citing sources and data, this info is pretty dang solid.)

For this week, since I’m from Indiana but now live in New York, I wanted to compare and contrast both states, to show how different voting can be depending on where you live.

Here are seven ways to vote in the 2020 general election:

1. Registration

First, you gotta register for the dang thing! This is the one consistency in every state.

NY: Register to vote by Oct. 9. (Some people — those who are honorably discharged from the military or become a naturalized citizen after Oct. 9 — can register in person by Oct. 24.) If mailed, your voter registration must be postmarked by Oct. 9 and received by Oct. 14. You can register online here.

IN: Register to vote by Oct. 5. You can register online here.

2. Voting early

It’s possible!

NY: Counties must offer early voting Oct. 24-Nov. 1. Check with local election officials for locations and the exact schedule in your area.

IN: Counties must offer early voting Oct. 6-9, Oct. 13-16, Oct. 19-24, Oct. 26-31 and Nov. 2. Counties may also offer it Oct. 10-12, Oct. 17-18, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1; check with local election officials for locations and the exact schedule in your area.

3. In-person voting

If you’re able to and still feel safe/comfortable voting in-person, this is probably still the best way to vote at this moment.

NY: So far, no plans to close polling places have been announced.

IN: So far, no plans to close polling places have been announced.

4. Requesting an absentee ballot

This is where I start to see more differences between states; some are more open to COVID-related absentees, but it’s not a given in every state.

NY: Because of the pandemic, any voter can request an absentee ballot if they are afraid of contracting COVID-19. You can download an absentee-ballot application here. The deadline to apply by mail is Oct. 27; the deadline to apply in person is Nov. 2.

IN: In order to vote absentee, you must have an excuse, such as being age 65 or older, sick or out of town on Election Day. You can apply for an absentee ballot online here. Election officials must receive your application by Oct. 22. (NOTE: Indiana waived the need for an excuse to vote absentee in its June primary, but it may not do so in the general election. A pair of lawsuits are still pending that would allow anyone to vote absentee and extend the deadline by which ballots must be received.)

5. Submitting an absentee ballot

Same as above, each state has its own process and shouldn’t be assumed.

NY: Absentee ballots must be postmarked (or dropped off in person) by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 10. Ballots that arrive by Nov. 4 will also be counted even if they lack a postmark.

IN: Absentee ballots must be received by noon on Nov. 3.

6. And guess what? There are probably more ways to vote, depending on your state! For the full list of states, check out the guide.

7. Where else can you look? Well, the best way is probably directly through the state websites and direct info instead of a website even like FiveThirtyEight. Though FiveThirtyEight does cite its sources, I also am a big fan of Ballotpedia. Their info is not as tl;dr, yet I think they do a better job of getting into the specifics of how elections are run state-by-state. The links to each state information is a great next step if you want to not only look at your state’s voting procedures, but also the specifics on everyone who will be on your ballot box this year, both local and national.

So let’s … just do that?

In alphabetical order, or you can just look by your address:

  1. Alabama

  2. Alaska

  3. Arizona

  4. Arkansas

  5. California

  6. Colorado

  7. Connecticut

  8. Delaware

  9. Florida

  10. Georgia

  11. Hawaii

  12. Idaho

  13. Illinois

  14. Indiana

  15. Iowa

  16. Kansas

  17. Kentucky

  18. Louisiana

  19. Maine

  20. Maryland

  21. Massachusetts

  22. Michigan

  23. Minnesota

  24. Mississippi

  25. Missouri

  26. Montana

  27. Nebraska

  28. Nevada

  29. New Hampshire

  30. New Jersey

  31. New Mexico

  32. New York

  33. North Carolina

  34. North Dakota

  35. Ohio

  36. Oklahoma

  37. Oregon

  38. Pennsylvania

  39. Rhode Island

  40. South Carolina

  41. South Dakota

  42. Tennessee

  43. Texas

  44. Utah

  45. Vermont

  46. Virginia

  47. Washington

  48. West Virginia

  49. Wisconsin

  50. Wyoming

And so …


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“GIVE A LITTLE, GET A LOT”

Honestly, voting.

GIVE: A few minutes to register to vote, and then your time to actually vote in the way that makes the most sense for you.

GET: The ability to vote, which is nice.


HEADPHONE NATION

(think global)

Solenoid Records (Berlin, Germany) Cool label that recently put out we.amps' groovy new EP. A mindful and spacious dance floor.

Digital Indigenous (Mzuzu, Malawi) check out this upbeat new 1000HZ Records series, with this first release focusing on Imba Africa a la Andy One.

S.O.S. (Hamburg, Germany) It's the weekend and I'm mad and get in the pit ... core.

Guerrilla Records (Jakarta, Indonesia) More indie emo from Jakarta.

Hybris (Sweden) cool new-to-me label that last year released this pretty Joel Rampage release. As someone who's getting more into the 'OK Computer' b-sides, I was really drawn to these songs.

… we carry on …


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ARTS & FARTS

Song “reviews”

TV Girl - “Lovers Rock” (2014)

If I had heard this song when it first came out, my life now might be very different. I might have more vibes.

The War on Drugs - “Best Night” (2011)

I love The War on Drugs, but even I am sick of how much they’ve turned into a punch line. This week, I listened to Slave Ambient for the first time in years - perhaps since I was in college. It holds up well. It feels less self-conscious about being a “big” record and is just … big. It’s the sound of a very ambitious musician who knows that he’s about to be famous, but isn’t quite there. It came out during the first month of my freshman year of college, and I’ll always associate this album with my first years in Bloomington. Lost in the Dream then came out towards the end of my time in college; “In Reverse” was the last song I played as I drove out of Bloomington for the final time as a student. Sometimes life is annoyingly happenstance.

The Grateful Dead - “Brown-Eyed Woman (Live)” (1972)

Sometimes I think The Grateful Dead are insufferable and have released too many bad songs (they have, like, a lot of bad music) to justify its handful of pretty good songs. Sometimes I think listening to the Grateful Dead is like listening to God telling me that in the end, I’ll be OK. The only consistency for me is that I like the Europe ‘72 version of “Brown-Eyed Women,” the first song I would play to someone who’s never heard the Dead live. Recommending Europe ‘72 as a good first Dead album is a boring answer, and I’m a boring Dead fan.

Bully - “Add It On” (2020)

Bully is one of those bands that writes one type of song - and when you’re in the mood for that song, it’s great. The new album is consistent and fun, and exactly what you want from a Bully record.

Pierre Schaeffer - “Cinq Etudes De Bruits” (1948)

You know the feeling that some composers would probably be insufferable to talk to in person, yet you’re thankful for their strangeness? The fact that this came out in ‘48 does make this pretty special. Also, it’s Pierre freakin’ Schaeffer.

Onward!

-Brady


Brady writes about music (and other things) and draws cartoons. You can find him in New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Interview Magazine, McSweeney’s, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, and more. Check out his website, where you’ll find his reading list this year, his latest features, and more ways to connect. Brady is a freelancer for hire who can do interviews, reporting, criticism, and playlists - get in touch if you need a writer.

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All cartoons by Brady Gerber. Headphone Nation logo by Sophie Wiener. 7 for Seven was made possible with the help of Simon Morrow, who also designed the “Give A Little, Get A Lot” and ARTS & FARTS logos. Thank you, Simon!