Take advantage of early voting

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

If you’re a traditionalist, you may wait until May 1 to vote in this year’s local primary election.
There’s something about heading to the polls, perhaps with family or friends, on Election Day to choose candidates. However, you need not wait until Election Day to cast your vote. You can vote early at your convenience.
Early voting begins today and ends Thursday, April 26. Early voting will be held at the Carter County Election Commission Office at 116 Holston Ave.
During the early voting period, voters can cast their ballots from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday.
While there are no national or state races that will be decided in the May 1 primary, the May 1 primary is nonetheless extremely important because it will decide which local candidates will be on the August ballot.
Early voting, or casting a ballot before Election Day, is allowed in some capacity in 37 states as well as Washington, D.C.
Early voting is a convenience for many as Election Day is on Tuesday, a day when most people work, and not everyone can get away long enough to vote. Students might also have their options restricted. And even if voting was on a more convenient day (or we made Election Day a national holiday), there are always going to be circumstances where someone can’t make it to the polls. With that in mind, early voting allows for people to participate in the democratic process when they otherwise might not be able to.
It wasn’t too long ago in our country that women and ethnic minorities were granted the right to vote. So you would think that it would follow that most Americans would take the opportunity to vote. As quick as folks are to rank online about property taxes, trash on our roads, and potholes, you would think residents would take the time to vote for someone who could represent their interests in office. But, often that’s not the case.
There are still too many people who don’t exercise their right to vote.
You can make your vote heard by casting your ballot early. A number of local races are on the primary ballot — Carter County Mayor, County Court Clerk, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, Trustee, Circuit Court Clerk, Road Superintendent, County Commissioner races in all eight districts, and constables in all eight districts.
Voting is not only a right, but it is a privilege. And you can simply go to the Election Commission Office on Holston Avenue with a form of ID in hand and exercise your civic right.
We have the chance to make a real difference by voting. After someone makes it to office, it’s really too late. You are giving that elected official the platform and power to do harm to the best interests of our community.
Every election there is a large percentage of voters who do not vote.
Early voting has started. What are we waiting for?

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