I am thankful for early voting. When we lived in Arizona, we could vote by mail and definitely took advantage of that. We could also check that our ballot was received. Voting by mail allowed us flexibility on when and where we could vote. We completed the ballot and then signed on a box across the envelope flap (I think) indicating that we had completed our own ballots.
Now that we live in North Carolina, we can’t exactly vote by mail. We can request an absentee ballot and submit that by mail or in person (and you don’t have to have a reason to vote absentee, like being ill or away from home on election day). We do that, but returning the completed ballot is more complicated. We must have our ballot witnessed by two people or a notary. Officially these witnesses are supposed to watch us complete the ballot (while also maintaining the confidentiality of the voting process), and then they have to sign the back of the mailing envelope (as does the voter herself).
North Carolina has instituted early in-person voting as well. The number of polling places gradually increases as it gets closer to election day. I dropped my ballot off at one of these polling places this afternoon. The line was only a few people long. My husband went “after work” one day and he said the line was at least 30 minutes long. He was able to hand off his completed ballot without waiting, thankfully.
I know this election cycle here in the US has been very dynamic, and will continue to be so until next week (I hope things will settle down after Tuesday). I hope people get out and vote. Make your voice heard!