Years ago, my mother would proclaim that in Chelsea, her home town, they would declare: “Vote early, and vote often!”

This year, on October 26th, I voted early. Massachusetts’ foray into early voting stems from a 2014 law, which stipulated that all municipalities must have at least one voting location open during business hours ahead of a general election.

However, this was not my first experience voting prior to Election Day. Decades ago, when I was in law School in Washington D.C., I exercised my constitutional right to vote, as stated in the US Constitution Amendment XV, which was ratified by the states in 1870: “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” via an absentee ballot. It was, at that time, very exciting knowing that I could be away from my home and still exercise my rights, and have my vote counted on Election Day.

Today, the process was very similar to my absentee ballot in that I filled out my ballot, put it into an envelope, sealed it, and then signed the envelope; of course, instead of mailing, it was placed into a secure bag at City Hall to be counted on Election Day. As always, after voting I got a sticker, which I proudly wore. However, I must admit, that on election night I always go home, and watch the results on television…..now I must wait!

Having the option to vote early made the process easier, which can help increase voter turnout and encourage all to exercise their constitutional right just as I did last night.

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