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.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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