If you're unfortunate enough to also remember how everything ultimately shook down for the United States back in 2016, then you need no reminder of what's at stake as Americans once again take a dive into the somehow-still-treacherous waters of voting. Though you can order an unholy amount of overly customized Taco Bell straight to your apartment in a matter of minutes without so much as leaving your bed, the seemingly simple act of voting—through no fault of the general public—still largely requires the deployment of laughably antiquated actions.
For now, the focus is on upcoming 2020 presidential primary elections scheduled in multiple states, many of which had to hit those elections with a delay and/or open up absentee voting thanks to COVID-19 containment concerns. Of course, in an ideal democracy, everyone in the U.S. would simply be able to—at the very least—vote early via the ballot by mail option that's already become the standard in a handful of states. Alas, we do not exist during a time of ideal democracy.
The process, which is already underway, shifts into overdrive starting June 23 with primaries in Kentucky, New York, and elsewhere. Below, we've put together a guide on how to navigate the height of a primary season that's sadly going to include a lot of mentions of the names Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The former, preposterously, will most assuredly be named the GOP nominee. And despite another presidential campaign that saw widespread support among young voters and progressives of all ages, Democrats did not unite behind Bernie Sanders and have instead been angling for Biden.
Who's voting and when?
Ahead of the general election on Nov. 3, voters are asked to choose their preferred pick for their respective party's candidates. Below, peep an NCSL-sourced rundown of dates, including state primaries and state runoffs. Several of these dates, as touched on above, mark reschedulings spurred by the virus:
- June 23 - Kentucky (State Primary and Presidential Primary)
- June 23 - Mississippi (State Runoff)
- June 23 - New York (State Primary and Presidential Primary)
- June 23 - North Carolina (State Runoff)
- June 23 - South Carolina (State Runoff)
- June 23 - Virginia (State Primary)
- June 30 - Colorado (State Primary)
- June 30 - Oklahoma (State Primary)
- June 30 - Utah (State Primary)
- July 7 - Delaware (Presidential Primary)
- July 7 - New Jersey (State Primary and Presidential Primary)
- July 11 - Louisiana (Presidential Primary)
- July 14 - Alabama (State Runoff)
- July 14 - Maine (State Primary)
- July 14 - Texas (State Runoff)
- Aug. 4 - Arizona (State Primary)
- Aug. 4 - Kansas (State Primary)
- Aug. 4 - Michigan (State Primary)
- Aug. 4 - Missouri (State Primary)
- Aug. 4 - Washington (State Primary)
- Aug. 6 - Tennessee (State Primary)
- Aug. 8 - Hawaii (State Primary)
- Aug. 11 - Connecticut (State Primary and Presidential Primary)
- Aug. 11 - Georgia (State Runoff)
- Aug. 11 - Minnesota (State Primary)
- Aug. 11 - South Dakota (State Runoff)
- Aug. 11 - Vermont (State Primary)
- Aug. 11 - Wisconsin (State Primary)
- Aug. 18 - Alaska (State Primary)
- Aug. 18 - Florida (State Primary)
- Aug. 18 - Wyoming (State Primary)
- Aug. 25 - Oklahoma (State Runoff)
- Sept. 1 - Massachusetts (State Primary)
- Sept. 8 - New Hampshire (State Primary)
- Sept. 8 - Rhode Island (State Primary)
- Sept. 15 - Delaware (State Primary)
- Nov. 3 - Louisiana (State Primary)
- Dec. 4 - Louisiana (State Runoff)
Where can I vote?
Thanks to wholly valid social distancing concerns, the task of voting in person can be a bit daunting. But the easiest way to determine where you're supposed to vote, should you be one of millions who will still be forced to vote the old school way despite the year being 2020, is to hit up Vote.org's helpful guide on polling place locations. To determine your region-specific site, just plug in your county, last name, and date of birth. The site's team has also put together a worth-sharing guide on how to keep virus matters on the brain when voting. Grab that here.
Why does voting in a primary even matter?
Again, this helps your voice be heard with regards to your party's choice for a nominee. And in a broader sense, participating in as many elections as possible—whether local, more generally regional, or national—puts numbers on the boards and shows the respective Powers That Be in your city, county, and state that young voters are paying attention.
But isn’t voter suppression still a thing?
1,000 percent yes, tragically. But part of the inherent design of voter suppression tactics are that merely hearing about voter suppression might inspire several would-be voters to throw in the towel out of hopelessness. Ignore that feeling. While 2020 has already seen some troubling displays of voting fuckery in traditionally red states like Georgia, giving up is exactly what suppression architects are relying on for victory in their favor. Don't give them that. Make sure you're registered and ready for any/all elections in your state now.