Virginia voters are turning out like never before on the first day of in-person voting.
via DCist / Twitter

The 2020 general election will be unlike any in U.S. history due to a large number of people voting before election day, November 3.

The COVID-19 pandemic has many voting early, either in-person or by mail, so they can avoid large crowds of people. While others are mailing in their ballots early due to concerns over President Trump's attempts to stifle voter turnout by disrupting the United States Postal Service.

Four states officially started early in-person voting on Friday and if the number of people who've already cast a ballot in Virginia is any indication of a nationwide trend, voter turnout is going to be massive this year.


Early voting by mail has already started in Idaho, West Virginia, New York, and Vermont. In-person voting is now possible in Virginia, Minnesota, Wyoming, and South Dakota,

According to a report from CNN, lines at the Fairfax Country registrar's office in Virginia are as long as "two football fields" and people are waiting as long as three hours to cast their votes.

CNN reporter Kristen Holmes says a large number of people say they are voting early, in-person because they don't trust the post office.

"I don't trust the mail right now, that's why," Jim O'Conner told CNN. "If I gotta stay here all day, I'm gonna vote today."

"We have heard that over and over again," CNN reporter Kristen Holmes said. "People want to see their ballot being cast, they don't believe the mail system is working right now."

"Several people already waiting more than two hours to cast their ballot, and it is so important to keep in mind that this is a rolling process," Holmes said. "They do not have to cast their ballot today. They are choosing to do so. They want to get out there. They want to have their say, and a lot of them want to actually see their ballot being cast."

Twitter users have been posting videos of impressive lines.





Currently, Joe Biden has a solid lead in nationwide polls. The latest polling from The Five Thirty Eight has Biden with a comfortable lead (50.2%) in the national averages over Trump (43.5%).

According to The Five Thirty-Eight, if the election were held today, Biden would have an electoral college victory of 331 to 207 votes.

Given the fact that President Trump is fighting an uphill battle, the more votes cast early, the smaller his chance of winning.

"A ballot in is a ballot in, and no late-campaign message or event takes it out of the count," Chris Wilson, a GOP pollster who specializes in data and analytics, told Politico.

"Bottom line is that means that Biden is banking a lead in the mail and more of the risk of something going wrong late is born by Republicans because our voters haven't voted yet, Wilson adds.

Regardless of what it means for election results, it's beautiful to see that Americans are excited to participate in democracy and are willing to do whatever they can to make sure their voice is heard.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

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The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.