Tanzina Vega: We're just a week away from Election Day, and so far, approximately 60 million Americans have already cast their vote for president. That's more than the total number of early votes that were cast in 2016, overall.
Caller 1: I think it's amazing. I'm saying to myself that I never thought that I would be somebody to show up and stand in line to vote, but it's just how important it is.
Caller 2: It makes me proud to know that we're all united. It doesn't matter the color of your skin or your persuasion. At the end of the day, one man, one vote.
Tanzina: Some Americans have cast their absentee ballots by mail but others waited on long lines for hours, and that was the case for nearly 100,000 New Yorkers this weekend as early voting began in the state, the first time ever that early voting was allowed in New York in a presidential election. We've been checking in with you about your voting experience and plans. If you voted already, what was it like? Did anything stand in your way, or do you have a plan to vote on Election Day? We want to hear it all. So far, some of you have reported an easy absentee voting process.
Barbara: My voting experience was very simple. I received the ballot in the mail and delivered it directly to the ballot box at the library, along with several other eager voters. We were all rushing to the box like kids rushing in line to see Santa Claus. I'm Barbara in San Jose, California.
Brianna: My name is Brianna. I'm calling from Bemidji, Minnesota. I voted by mail, and I've been voting by mail since I was 18. Voting by mail really gives me the chance to seriously consider all of the candidates. When you're in a smaller town, some of those small candidates really make a difference. City council, election boards, all of that really makes a difference, and I liked that I have the time to really Google and make sure I know what I'm voting for and who I'm voting for.
Suzanne: This is Suzanne from Raleigh, North Carolina. I voted about two weeks ago. I did absentee voting by mail, and I did that because I'm in a high-risk category for respiratory infections and I did not want to catch COVID. It was a very painless, enjoyable process.
Tanzina: For others, the pandemic has made voting much more challenging than before.
Maddie: Hi, I'm Maddie from Brooklyn. I'm 70 and diabetic, and I'm quite concerned. I sent an absentee ballot, the tracking shows since October 6th, it's still been out for delivery. It looks like it's lost. I very much don't want to go to my polling place. I don't know what to do. I feel I'm disenfranchised.
Tanzina: Others said they've gone to great lengths to turn in their ballots this year.
Caller 7: I applied for absentee voting in Dallas County. I'm out of state at the moment and only received another application for an absentee ballot, so I'll be flying back to vote on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how long the lines are. Good luck, everyone.
Tanzina: For some, voting has been an inspiring experience.
Jeff: This is Jeff, Kingston, New York. Saturday the 24th was the first day of early voting in my state, and I waited on line in Kingston for two hours, an amazing turnout. I've never seen anything like it, and I've been voting since 1965.
Mike: Hi, this is Mike from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I did vote early, turnout was high, but the process was run very efficiently. Everybody was socially-distanced and wearing masks in the line. Maybe the most encouraging thing was that there were supporters of the candidates of both major parties in line speaking to each other as neighbors, as friends, the discussion was civil, and a lot of laughter, as a matter of fact. Mostly, people were congratulating each other on the fact that everybody made the effort to come out and vote regardless of who they supported.
Elise: Elise from New York City, East Village. I just finished early voting, took me two days. I tried yesterday. It was a two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half-hour wait. Today, it was a two-hour wait, a lot of poll workers, a lot of really helpful people, and truthfully, it was one of the most rewarding, heartwarming, poignant moments that I can remember in my 67-plus years. I am so grateful.
Tanzina: Keep your voting stories or concerns coming. We're at 877-869-8253, that's 1-877-8-MY-TAKE, and leave a message for us there. Stick with us. We'll have more on The Takeaway, coming up.
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