Breaking News: Voting in 2020 Is as Important for Your Future as a Prenup

Sep 29, 2020 | Prenuptial Agreements

In the midst of National Voter Registration Day, we wanted to take a minute to cover the ins and outs of voting in this year’s election. While it’s no doubt that the 2020 election cycle has unusually high stakes, the ongoing global pandemic is adding another layer of intricacies into the burgeoning catastrophe of a year that is 2020. In an effort to salvage our democracy, it’s become evident that members of the left, right, and just about everywhere in-between need to come together to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket, frankly whether they like it or not.

Why is it essential to cast your ballot this year? Well, the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the blatant dismissal of climate change issues, among a long list of many others, have proven President Trump to be an unfit leader for the United States.

Perhaps most glaringly, he is trying to overturn the checks and balances of our system of democracy as we have known it. From obscene executive orders to skewing public discourse with lies and blatant slander, it’s no wonder that the United States has downgraded in its “political freedoms” ranking from a 94 to a 86, based on the 100-scale used by Freedom House.

Now that we’re down to only being weeks away from the looming election, it’s essential to address any clouds of uncertainty you may have hovering over how you’re going to vote this year. Perhaps more so than in any other election in the history of the United States, we can assume that early in-person voting and mail-in voting are going to play significant roles in this year’s election process. Thanks to the aforementioned pandemic (are you familiar with it?),  voters will be making an effort to avoid crowds and public spaces. While the electoral system is still in the process of smoothing out many of the details regarding how citizens will vote this year, cases of voter suppression and concerns regarding fraud are prevalent and don’t make this process any easier.

A quick aside on voter suppression – this is not a new practice in the United States, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Regarding this tactic, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) states, “Suppression efforts range from the seemingly unobstructive, like voter ID laws and cuts to early voting, to mass purges of voter rolls and systemic disenfranchisement. And long before election cycles even begin, legislators can redraw district lines that determine the weight of your vote. Certain communities are particularly susceptible to suppression and in some cases, outright targeted — people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities.”

The good news is that is it very easy to vote, it simply requires a bit of planning. Even better news? It’s still not too late to plan! This article will guide you through the steps you should take and the deadlines you need to adhere to in order to participate in the 2020 election. Since HelloPrenup currently serves residents in the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, those are the four states whose policies we will be covering in-depth. Ready? Alright, let’s get you prepped to vote!

Check Your Registration Status

No matter your location, first thing’s first – even if you’re positive that you’re registered already, take a moment to check your voter registration status. Checking your status is as simple as heading to the National Association of Secretaries of State’s (NASS) “Can I Vote” webpage (here), and selecting the “Voter Registration Status” icon. This easy-to-use tool works for every state, so there are no excuses not to check your status.

If it turns out that you’re not registered, or if you’re registered to the wrong address/county/state – good news! You can register to vote with your current address right from that same NASS page we initially sent you to – here it is again.The site will outline the registration procedures as they vary from state-to-state, but registering to vote online is probably the simplest method, and is available in 40 states, as well as the District of Columbia. It’s essential to keep in mind that registering in the correct address is especially prudent this year, as so many traditional polling places (often including schools and senior living facilities) have been upended by the pandemic. Ensuring that you are registered to the right location helps to ensure that your vote will be counted, and that your local election officials get you up-to-date information in time for early voting.

Registration deadlines for the states HelloPrenup covers are covering are as follows:

New York: Register online, in-person, or have the mail-in registration postmarked by October 9th.

New Jersey: Register online, in-person, or have the mail-in registration postmarked by October 13th.

Massachusetts: Register online, in-person, or have the mail-in registration postmarked by October 24th.

Pennsylvania: Register online, in-person, or have the mail-in registration postmarked by October 19th.

Absentee Voting

If you’re immunocompromised, cautious of public places, or just want to avoid long lines, placing an absentee vote, or voting by mail is the route to take. In fact, this year it is estimated that 50% of the votes cast this election cycle will be via mail-in ballot. Though President Trump has attempted to fear-monger the public by arguing that mail-in ballots will be prone to voter fraud, a more legitimate concern is that many voters may not send them in time or correctly. Read on to learn about the deadlines to meet in your state, and be sure to follow all of the directions strictly once you receive your ballot.

Much like the registration deadlines, mail-in ballot policies also vary between states. Luckily, there are only six states (none of which are one of the four we are focusing on) that are not allowing voters to use “fear of the coronavirus” as a legitimate excuse for an absentee ballot. On the flip side, New Jersey (along with eight other states and D.C.) is being proactive enough to send every registered voter in the state an absentee ballot, though voters still have the option to go in-person if they choose to do so. You can view state-by-state absentee ballot regulations, and easily request your absentee ballots here. In all of the states we are focusing in on, coronavirus is an acceptable reason to request an absentee ballot. However, in New York voters must indicate their reasoning for requesting an absentee ballot from a list of options (and may select “public health emergency”). Additionally, those applying for an absentee ballot in Pennsylvania must provide their Pennsylvania driver’s license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number, or a copy of their photo ID on their absentee ballot form.

Absentee ballot request and return deadlines are as follows:

New York

Request: Oct. 27

Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3

Return in person: Nov. 3 by 9:00 p.m.

New Jersey

Request: Oct. 23

Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3

Return in person: Nov. 3 by close of polls

Massachusetts

Request: Oct. 28 by 5:00 p.m.

Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3

Return in person: Nov. 3 by close of polls

Pennsylvania

Request: Oct. 27

Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3

Return in person: Nov. 3 by 8:00 p.m.

Finally, let’s move on to early voting. Early voting times also vary across states, but overall, the practice is a great way to narrow down crowds on voting day. These early voting opportunities will not typically take place at polling sites like they would on election, but would instead occur at city halls, county clerk offices, boards of election, or town clerk offices. However, each state has their own regulations with offering additional early voting places as well. For example, locations in New York state are determined as “At least one early voting location for every full increment of 50,000 registered voters in each county, but not more than seven are required. Counties with fewer than 50,000 registered voters shall have at least one early voting location.”

Early voting windows for the states we are focused on are as follows:

New York

Oct. 24 – Nov. 1, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live

New Jersey

Sep. 19 – Nov. 2, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live

Massachusetts

Oct. 17 – Oct. 30, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live

Pennsylvania

Sep. 14 – Oct. 27, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live

A friendly reminder that voting is not only a privilege, but our civic duty, and one of our only chances to alter the oppressive systems that continue to act unjustly towards people of color, women, low-income families – the list goes on. If you weren’t already motivated to head to the polls, let the recent indictment of only one of the three officers who murdered Breonna Taylor serve as your motivator for systemic change. America never necessarily was “great” for a lot of people. Instead of focusing on restoring the nation, let’s dedicate energy towards building the kind of country that we want our children to live in.

HelloPrenup is the first online service that makes obtaining a prenuptial agreement simple, affordable and efficient. Explore our “About Us” page to learn more. Explore HelloPrenup’s “FAQ”“About Us”, and “How It Works” pages to gain a better understanding of how prenups work, what they can and cannot include, HelloPrenup’s creation process, and why we are the clear choice when it comes to drafting your prenup efficiently, at a fair price, and in way that will empower your relationship.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. HelloPrenup, LLC (“HelloPrenup”) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site. HelloPrenup will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice. HelloPrenup provides a platform for contract related self-help. The information provided by HelloPrenup along with the content on our website related to legal matters (“Information”) is provided for your private use and does not constitute legal advice. We do not review any information you provide us for legal accuracy or sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide opinions about your selection of forms, or apply the law to the facts of your situation. If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Neither HelloPrenup nor any information provided by Hello Prenup is a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed to practice in an appropriate jurisdiction. 

 

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