Former President Barack Obama delivered an important speech during the virtual Democratic National Convention. His message was a scathing criticism of the current head of state and underscored the urgency of voting in the upcoming election.

During his speech, Obama slammed the current administration and pointed out the very serious threat to democracy it represents.  He explained that the current president has shown "no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves [...] Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe."

Obama vehemently urged Americans to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who are actually qualified to run a country and pointed out how important it is to exercise your voting right, now more than ever.

"In a democracy, the right to vote is sacred, and we should be making it easier for people to cast their ballot, not harder," he hammered down. "None of this should be controversial. These shouldn’t be Republican principles or Democratic principles. They’re American principles. But at this moment, this president and those who enable him, have shown they don’t believe in these things."

On November 3, Americans have the opportunity to vote Trump out of office and he's urging them to exercise that right. Watch part of his speech below.

But while Obama is urging people to vote, Trump is making it harder than ever by intentionally sabotaging mail-in voting. He has issued an order to remove postal sorting machines and is opposing sorely needed funding. That funding is needed in order to meet deadlines for delivering voting ballots, particularly given the excess demand for the service in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The president believes that mail-in voting is a threat to democracy and will benefit the Democrats. He says it “will lead to the most corrupt election in our nation’s history" and, despite a lack of evidence, claims that mail-in voting is rife with fraud. He told the Fox News Network "they want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically."

However, despite Trump's seemingly strategic undermining of the USPS and its capacity to deliver votes quickly and safely this election, there are still ways you can vote by mail. But by acting early and staying informed about the rules in your state you can avoid delays.

Below we've included some helpful links to make sure your vote gets counted correctly.

State Specific Options

Each state has different rules, so it's best to visit your respective election office website for state-wide voting guidance. Alternatively, you can locate your state via the election office database, here. 

A new guide from @NBCNews also helps you understand the deadlines to vote and eligibility to vote by mail based on the rules of your state. Check out their infographic below.

Vote Early

Some states are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. This early voting chart lists time frames for states that offer early voting.

Local Drop Off Points

In some states, you may cast an absentee ballot in person before Election Day. To do this, you must request an absentee ballot from your state. Your state may require you to submit a valid excuse too.

If you're concerned that the USPS won't be able to deliver a "mail-in" because of the current postal crisis, there is an alternative. Instead of mailing your absentee vote, google your local supervisor of elections to find out where you can drop it off locally. This way, you don't have to rely on the USPS or wait in long lines on election day and increase your risk of infection.

Importantly, make sure you if you do send it via mail, you track it like a regular package.

Make an Informed Decision

If you do vote, make sure you're voting based on accurate information. The upcoming election is between Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, candidates with drastically different views of the world and vastly different approaches to tackling some of the biggest issues facing the country. Find out how they compare on key issues like the environment, policing, healthcare, and the economy in this Pew report.

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