It’s impressive just how many early voters have already cast their ballots ahead of the midterm elections. I mean, records have already been broken in several states for this election. But tomorrow, November 8th, is the actual big day…the grand finale…Election Day!
And while the higher-than-usual voter turnout is encouraging evidence of democracy in action, it could mean that folks like me who waited until Election Day to vote could end up having to endure long lines & wait times. So, what happens if your polling place closes & you’re stuck at the back of the line? What should you do?
You stay right where you are. Do not go anywhere except forward as the line moves.
While federal law doesn’t require an employer to give their staff any time off to vote, much less paid time off, state law here in Maryland DOES require paid time of to go vote. Two whole hours, in fact! Maryland is one of 29 states & the District of Columbia that require employers to give their employees time off to vote in general elections. So, if at all possible, vote during the workday. Because, if you don’t end up taking advantage of Maryland’s voting time-off law to cast your ballot during the workday, there’s a good chance you’ll end up stuck in an after-work stampede of other late-going ballot-casters. But even if that happens, don’t fret! As long as you’re in line at the time the polls close, you still have a valid, guaranteed legal right to vote. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In fact, if someone does try to make you to leave, call a voter protection hotline like 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) or contact the Department of Justice at 1-800-253-3931 to file a complaint.
Because THE most important point is this: you need to, and should, VOTE! Vote…don’t not vote…do the exact opposite of not voting. Vote harder than you’ve ever voted before. Vote like your life depends on it. Because, in the grand scheme of things, it actually does. All our lives do. (Yes, it’s that important.)