People continue to have questions about early voting options. Here's what I know.
Think of this as insurance. You can request a ballot and then use it or not. If you want to use it, you can mail it back or walk it in to your county board of elections or an early voting site. You can request an absentee (mail-in) ballot up until Tuesday, October 27th. Request forms must be received at the board of elections by 5 pm that day. When you receive your ballot, you can mail it back right away, or you can hold off deciding whether you want to use it Mail-in ballots in my county will be scanned using a dedicated scanner once a week. That machine's tally will be incorporated into the final count on election day. Some ballots may still be trickling in up until November 6th, but must have been postmarked by 5 pm November 3. If you're planning to use a mail-in ballot, the earlier you send it in, the better.
In person early voting
If you're someone with concerns about the mail running smoothly, you may want to take advantage of in-person early voting. In-person early voting begins on October 15 and lasts through October 31. I'm currently planning to use this option. If I get more worried about the Trump virus, however, I'll still be able to vote by mail.
Some people like the ritual of voting on election day, but that seems unnecessarily risky to me. Republicans don't seem to be focused on voting early, which means election day may find polling places full of maskless wonders hell-bent on challenging Democratic voters. I'm steering clear.
My recommendation? Choose an early-voting option and get 'er done.