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Editorial – There is no excuse not to vote this year

It’s officially election season.

Being able to cast a ballot for the November election in September seems a bit like Starbucks breaking out the pumpkin spice in August, but that is where we are as a nation and it’s a good thing –  both the early voting and the pumpkin spice.

Unless you are under the age of 18, there is really no excuse to not cast a ballot in the November election. Virginia has made this easy for everyone with a couple new pandemic-friendly options. A system that once made the nation stand in line in all kinds of weather one day a year has expanded the opportunities to cast a ballot to the point where it is now easier and quicker.

Even of you haven’t registered to vote yet, there is still time. The deadline to register to vote for the November election is Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Early in-person voting began Friday, Sept. 18 and goes until Saturday, Oct. 31. The process is just like on Election Day except instead of going to the polling place, the voting booth is at the county registrar’s office. The regular machines are set up and voters can cast a ballot quickly and easily during the regular office hours of the registrar. You must show an ID to be able to vote. A driver’s license, passport or even a utility bill with your name and address on it will work.

The beauty of this option is you can pick your day anytime between now and Halloween. County registrars offices will even be open Saturday, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who may not be able to make it Monday through Friday.

If that isn’t easy enough and you don’t even want to leave your house to cast make your choice for the highest office in the land, then the mail ballot program is for you. All you have to do is request a mail ballot. No reason is needed. Request for mail ballots must be made by 5 p.m. October 23. Mail in ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day Nov. 3 and have to be received by the registrar by noon the third day after the election to be counted. If you lack trust in the reliability of the postal system, mail-in ballots may also be returned directly to the registrar’s office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Having “the most important election of our lifetime” during the pandemic is not optimal. But obstacle of planning around a pandemic has given new tools to speed up the voting process and make voting much less of a headache than getting a flu shot.