By now, early voting for the 2020 presidential election is under way all over the country. Perhaps you’ve seen some news coverage about large voter turnout and long lines of voters snaking around corners, with people waiting hours to exercise what is supposedly the most fundamental, sacred right in a democracy.

Perhaps you’ve heard of what’s going on in Texas, where a panel of judges just upheld an order by that state’s governor to limit the number of ballot drop boxes to one per county – whether that county has 20,000 people or 2 million or spans thousands of square miles.

It’s almost as if folks in charge of places like Texas are afraid of people being able to easily cast their votes.

Luckily, here in Cook County, Illinois – where heaven knows there are plenty of problems to be solved – that is not the case, so take advantage.

Voter turnout for this election, from all evidence so far around the nation, is going to be very high. So, if you haven’t already requested a mail-in ballot or if you have any concerns about mailing one in – be sure to schedule a time to vote early.

In suburban Cook County, early voting locations are open seven days a week beginning Oct. 19 through Nov. 2. That includes locations in Maywood, Oak Paek, Brookfield, Lyons, Hodgkins and Cicero, along with dozens of others.

The county has extended the hours for early voting to limit lines and wait times and provide for more physical distancing during these pandemic times.

For those of you who have requested mail ballots, you can cut out the middle man and place your mail ballot in a secure drop box that will be located at each early voting location – no hour-long drive for Cook County voters.

You say you’re not registered to vote? Well, that’s no problem either. You can register to vote at any early voting location (you’ll need a couple of IDs to do so, so check the county clerk’s website before you go) and, once registered, you can vote right away.

By voting early you can avoid any Election Day crush or unexpected weather-related cataclysm that might dissuade you from venturing out (it will be November, after all). Quite frankly, at least in suburban Cook County, there’s no reason not to cast a ballot, because it’s that easy to do.

It ought to be that easy everywhere in the nation. It’s not, and that itself is un-American.