The general election is a month away.

That means it is time for you to step up.

It is time for you to help make this world a better place – by doing your duty. Or, rather, exercising your right.

To vote.

And believe me. It’s important.

I’m not even talking about the presidential election. Everybody knows about that already.

On Nov. 3, you will also be voting for state representatives, state senators and county elected officials. In many of these cases, the races are decided already because Republican candidates are running unopposed. However, there are a few local choices. For instance, in state district 156, Democrat Dale Speelman is running against Republican Brian Seitz. In district 155, Democratic candidate Mike Lind is running against Republican Travis Smith.

Statewide, there are elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general. There’s also a vote for U.S. Representative. (Missouri is not electing a senator this year)

I’ve beat the drum many times about how your local, county and state elections are crucially important to you and your daily lives. They control your schools, they care for (most of) your roads and they determine your property and sales tax rates and how that money is used.

Don’t get me wrong. The presidential election is important, but in today’s media world, it gets an inordinate amount of your attention. Far too much. 

If you haven’t registered to vote, the deadline is Oct. 7. You can go online to the Taney County website taneycounty.org and go to the County Clerk’s department to see where you can go to register. Or you can call the clerk’s office at 417-546-7200. If you live in Stone County, you can find a list of places to register at stonecountyclerk.com/voter-registration, or you can call the clerk’s office at 417-357-6127.

You can vote in person, or you can get a mail-in ballot. You can also vote absentee if you have a reason that you can’t make it to the polls. According to Missouri law, in 2020, you can use an absentee ballot if you are in an at-risk category for contracting or transmitting COVID-19.

What’s important is that you make your vote count.

Of course, that assumes you care who is making decisions for your country, state and county. I’m pretty sure you do. After all, you are reading a newspaper right now, and if you are reading a newspaper right now (thank you for doing that, by the way) then it’s probably because you care about such things.

Don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Just get out and vote.

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