Editorial: In the face of the coronavirus, we encourage you to vote on Tuesday

Voting -- like most parts of our lives these days -- will be markedly different on Tuesday.

A pandemic will have that effect.

As residents of Murray and Whitfield counties head to the polls for the general primary and presidential preference primary, they will encounter plenty of safeguards to help stem the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Poll workers will be wearing masks, and election officials suggest you wear one as well to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Those voting and waiting in line to vote will be asked to maintain proper social distance of 6 feet. Hand sanitizer will be available. And equipment -- from machines to tables to voter cards to door knobs and other high-touch items -- will be sanitized often.

A number of you have already voted, taking advantage of shorter lines during advance voting or no lines by voting by absentee ballot. For those who are voting Tuesday, we ask that you observe social distance and follow the recommendations of local, state and national healthcare officials.

We would hate for fear of the coronavirus to keep anyone from voting.

The events of recent days have demonstrated the importance of voting. People across the country are making their voices heard by protesting in the streets, speaking to their neighbors about societal issues and using social media as a megaphone for change.

A key to change is having the right people in office. Tuesday will be another step in the process.

We encourage all of those who are registered and able to cast their ballot. There are local, state and national races on the ballot.

All will impact your life.

In Whitfield County, for example, voters selecting a Republican ballot will choose a chairman of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners and another Whitfield County Board of Commissioners member. All voters will decide whether to support a proposed four-year, $66 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

The State House of Representatives District 11 seat and State Senate District 54 seat will effectively be decided as well. The crowded race for the U.S. House of Representatives District 14 post will become clearer, too.

It seemed like this general primary and presidential preference primary would never get here. Originally scheduled for March, state officials bumped it to May then again to Tuesday due to COVID-19.

Polling hours Tuesday are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Voters must bring a photo ID.

Please, get out and vote!

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