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  1. Opinion

Blood, sweat and tears: Simple steps for voting in the 2020 primary

Stephanie Hayes | This is fine. Everything is fine.

Tuesday is Florida’s primary election. The good news is, there are several convenient ways to make sure your voice is heard. The bad news is... everything else. Here is a suggested procedure for putting democracy in action.

Decide you will vote in-person as usual. There’s something invigorating about walking into a Knights of Columbus on Election Day. You cry a little when the poll worker thanks you. It’s an opportunity to be admired, a reminder that you are an engaged citizen. Plus: everyone loves stickers.

Stop. Recall that we are in the middle of a pandemic and being indoors with others is not a good idea. Imagine your polling place crawling with COVID-19, the way the elevator unleashed torrents of blood into the hallway of the Overlook in The Shining. Are you being dramatic? Maybe.

Ponder early voting as a less-crowded alternative. Then consider that if there was ever a time to avoid voting in person, that time is now. Research mail-in ballots. Learn that one in four Americans used them in the previous presidential election, fraud is rare and there are numerous safeguards in place.

Request a ballot at least 10 days before the election, or pick one up any time. Take time to read up on the candidates and issues and make careful selections. Remember that voting is not just about the flashiest yard signs. It’s about judges and school boards and the very fabric of the towns in which we live.

Satisfied that the future starts with you, get back to doomscrolling your phone for bad news. Catch up on the growing movement against mail-in voting. Learn that the United States Postal Service is in upheaval and the president is opposing an emergency bailout that would help the post office collect ballots.

Wonder if your StitchFix return box ever made it back or if you will be charged. Scold yourself and return to more pressing matters.

Frozen with ennui, do nothing for six days except eat Nutella from the jar.

Check the date. It is past the recommended one-week mark to get the ballot in on time. Wonder if you could make it anyway. Think about how long it has taken you to get a set of hand weights.

Trusting nothing or no one, drive your mail-in ballot to the supervisor of elections office to drop it off in person, negating your initial goal of voting from home. Leave the air heavy with a pregnant pause when the clerk asks if you want a sticker.

On the trip home, remember that you and your friends used to watch a 1996 movie called The Stupids, in which a character played by Tom Arnold believes an evil overlord named “Sender” is plotting to steal everyone’s mail and garbage. This movie contains a song titled I’m My Own Grandpa.

Post an exhausted selfie with the caption, “I voted?”

Do it all over again in November.

Related: Read more columns from Stephanie Hayes

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