Your Turn: Vote Early with President Obama

This morning as I was drinking my vat of coffee I received an email from the Obama campaign (actually, I receive the Obama emails to two different addresses, just so I can be sure to never miss one.) Maybe you received the same one? It read:

Alison —

This afternoon, I’m casting my ballot in my hometown of Chicago. I’m told I’ll be the first sitting president to take advantage of early voting. 

And I can’t wait.

I know I can count on your vote. Now, it’s on all of us to make sure our friends and family step up. Reach out to folks you know in important early vote states.

Look, this race is extremely tight. It’s going to come down to which side can more effectively turn out the vote in these final days, and early vote is a huge part of that.

Whether people get out to vote this year, in this election, is even more critical than the last time around.

So this is serious, and I’m going to need your help if we want to win.

Connect with your friends and urge them to vote early:



P.S. — Not on Facebook? Don’t let that stop you from getting the word out. Ask your friends and family to get the information they need at

The first two links take you to a website with a handy button that lets you remind your facebook friends to vote. I highly suggest using those links.

This afternoon, Barack Obama did indeed become the first sitting president to take advantage of early voting in person. He was scheduled to land at O’Hare airport today at 3:40 and then go vote in his home district. Michelle Obama has already voted by absentee ballot. The message behind these actions? You too can cast your vote. Right now.

As we’ve covered in the Voting: an Autostraddle Guide (VAG) series, some states have early voting and some states have no-excuse absentee voting (meaning you don’t need to have a reason, like actually being out of state, to vote absentee.) These two policies can both be used to vote early. For instance, New Jersey doesn’t have early voting, but we do have no-excuse absentee voting. So I went to City Hall, where the elections board for my county lives, to request my absentee ballot. Then I just filled it out standing right there, went upstairs and handed it in. Voilà! I have already voted! Actually, it was really super good that I did that because I was inexplicably listed as inactive voter (!?) and it gave them a chance to fix that right away without the sheer panic that I would have experienced had I waited until election day.
How do you know if you can vote early in your state, you may ask? Well, you can check out VAG or you can check out this handy dandy map I found over on the National Conference of State Legislatures website (which, if you actually go to the website, becomes totally interactive and is wicked awesome.)

We already knew from the last time that the Obama campaign is really hip to the way our generation operates, but I feel like this is the future of voting. Vote at your convenience, get this information online, use apps to remain politically aware… And let’s not forget the time he showed up on Reddit or when the White House did a press release on Twitter. When the President embraces technology and convenience in the face of tradition and voter suppression, perhaps it rings in a new era. Perhaps going forward, we’ll look at Election Day as more of a deadline than an event.

If you’re in one of the states colored in green, blue or yellow above, go ahead and strategize your early voting! And then share it with your friends. Talk to people. Tell them to vote. It doesn’t just stop with your ballot being cast.

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. ALSO, voting early means all of those phone calls and knocks on your door will stop. Those of y’all who live in swing states like my lovely state of Colorado know what I’m talking about.

    And there are more and more voting shenanigans going on these days (again, shoutout to my Coloradans), so early voting means you have more time to take care of any potential voter disenfranchisement your secretary of state or county clerk may be trying to pull. Remember Florida in 2000? Or Ohio in 2004? Early voting will at least give us some more time to resolve those kinds of things before election day.

    • Oh, and also? Maya Angelou emailed me (and probably a lot of you) yesterday, asking me to vote early. You should probably do whatever Dr. Angelou tells you to do.

        • I hope so! Because then you can invite her to the next Colorautostraddlers brunch. (which I swear I’ll go to one of these times.)

  2. If Obama loses the election, you can blame/thank the Right for bamboozling him. How is it ethical that an entire news network questions the President’s citizenship for four years to create doubt in voters while a fringe element of the far right demonizes and degrades him? Most of this is financed by the rich who want to keep their stranglehold on the flow of wealth in our country. Watch the white hands apply the Blackface to our first African-American President at

  3. I live in Massachusetts (a dingy gray state on that map), but I’m voting absentee this year because I’m overseas. I was really nervous that all the mailing required to get my ballot to me and back would cause a million headaches (esp. since this is one of those “put your mail in a bag with the right postage and leave it on the doorstep” places) so when I dropped off my absentee ballot request form, I included a panicked note. A couple of days ago I got an email(!) from an Election Department official (!!) containing my ballot (!!!) and instructions on how to print it, fill it out, scan it back in, and email it to the city (!!!!!toomany). as my mom would say, TECHNOLOGY IS AMAZING.
    The moral of this story is there is no excuse not to vote because it’s so easy and there are so many ways and now you can pretty much do it whenever/from wherever you want.

  4. I have actually never gone in and voted on election day! I have been voting absentee ever since I turned 18. Well, except this year everything’s by mail, so yeah (I live in Washington). I mailed in my ballot earlier this week. Hoping and praying and wishing and dreaming that we pass Referendum 74!

    My dad really pissed me off when our ballots came in the mail, though. He’s really Republican, and he went off about how anyone who voted for Obama was going to be kicked out of the house. It’s a good thing that I never talk politics with him, anyway. I need to get out of here. :/

    • Yeah, I’ve never voted at a polling station either, it’s always been by mail in ballot (absentee or otherwise). I don’t really understand the appeal of having to go a polling station, it’s so much easier to fill it out at home.

    • I’m from Washington too, and I’ve never voted in a polling place, either! Permanent absentee from when I was 18, then it went all mail.

      Now I just need to scan in my ballot (I can do that since I vote overseas)…

  5. Voting early is like finishing you school project a week before its due. It just gives you a chance to sit back and enjoy the election.

  6. I’ve already voted. I had my ballot filled out a couple days after I received it, now if only I could block all those annoying tv ads.

  7. Sent mine in about a week ago; hopefully it’ll get there in time (I don’t entirely trust the mail where I live…).

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