In many states, the 2014 elections have already begun through early and absentee voting. Many states are now collecting ballots through the mail, and some, like Georgia, have already begun to accept in-person ballots. In states with close races for Senate seats or highly contested ballot measures, early voting allows for a glimpse of what may be in November.
Colorado, which has always seen higher early voter turnout due in part to the state’s availability of early voting, began mailing early voting ballots to all registered voters today. Voters can fill them out and the mail them back by Election Day, or drop them off in person starting on October 20. Colorado is one of three states that will be voting on whether to adopt an anti-abortion and birth control state constitutional amendment. This will be the third time that Colorado voters will be asked to adopt a personhood amendment, which gives full rights to fertilized eggs.
North Dakota begins early voting on October 27, and has a state constitutional amendment ballot measure that creates an “inalienable right to life” starting “at any stage of development” – including the moment of fertilization and conception.
Tennessee will also be voting, beginning on the October 16, on a state constitutional amendment that makes its right to privacy clause no longer apply to abortion or birth control. Rather, it gives the state legislators the right to restrict access to abortion and birth control.
Early voting in Lousiana will begin on October 21, and may help determine the race between Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and challenger Bill Cassidy (R). In North Carolina, voters will have a chance to begin the tight race between Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and challenger Thom Tillis (R) on October 23.
Early voting is traditionally viewed as providing greater opportunities to vote. The ability to vote early is incredibly important for wage earners, low-income workers, shift workers, or students who may not be able to take time off from work or school to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4. You can find more information about voting in your state here.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 10/6/14; FeministCampus Blog 10/6/14; Ms. Magazine Fall 2014; FeministCampus.org