National Vote Early Day

Amanda Shankle-Knowlton Blog Post, News

Imagine waking up on election day with food poisoning, bad hair, and a car that won’t start. Imagine breathing a sigh of relief that you have already voted and don’t need to make time out of your disastrous day to make your voice heard.

I share that sense of relief too – because your voice needs to be heard. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the level of control over your life where you can be reasonably sure nothing is going to stand in your way from voting on election day itself? A neat, manicured life where you always know where your driver’s license or Voter ID is, where you always have another reliable adult around to take care of any sick or uncooperative kids or busted pipes so you can make it to your polling place? Just because your life is chaotic and real doesn’t mean that voting should be hard for you.  

Promoting access to early voting – either by mail with an absentee ballot or by going to a polling place in the days before election Day –  is one way to make voting easier.  

Saturday, October 23 is Vote Early Day. While we in Tulsa don’t have a big election on our mind this year to make us think about voting, many legislators and activists have not taken time off from thinking about voting access since the 2020 Election. There is a lot of legislation out there nationwide that signals to me that we’d better ALL be paying attention, so why not take a bit of time on our new favorite civic holiday to do just that?  

Here are 3 suggestions to celebrate Vote Early Day 2021: 

  1. Set yourself reminders on your calendar of choice one month before every election day in 2022 to see if your precinct has an election and make a plan to vote. While you can’t always schedule your chaos, you can minimize its impact on your ability to vote.
    • Bookmark Oklahoma’s 2022 Election Calendar.  
    • Copy and paste a link to the Oklahoma Voter Portal in each calendar reminder- Note the times and locations of Early Voting and double check your polling place location if you prefer to take your chances and wait until election day (You’re making me incredibly nervous to wait this long, though.  Think of my high blood pressure, please!).  
    • If you have any doubts in your ability to make it to the polls in person, request that an absentee ballot be mailed to you.  Make friends with a notary and get the absentee ballot back to the election board as soon as you can. 
  2. Join the League of Women Voters of Tulsa or in whatever location you call home. We’re working to make voting easier (while keeping it secure, of course).
  3. Ping a couple friends to encourage them to register to vote or make sure their registration is up to date. It’s a civic holiday after all, so don’t let them think you forgot! 

Again, Happy Vote Early Day.  Stay hopeful, stay engaged, stay vigilant.  

Amanda Shankle-Knowlton
Guest Contributor

Grew up in Moore, OK, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Moved to Tulsa in 2002, where I currently live with my husband Rod, teenager Emerson, and two dogs. I work as a Software Quality Engineering Manager and volunteer when I can with All Souls Unitarian Church, Oklahoma YMCA Youth and Government, the League of Women Voters, and the Tulsa Civic Learning Coalition. I enjoy reading, bowling, musicals, and cross-stitch.