Editorial: Take time to register to vote

So much for drama.

Going into the Democratic National Convention last week and the Republican National Convention this week, the presidential ballot was essentially set: Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris will face President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Nov. 3 General Election.

We've known for months how the Democratic and Republican tickets would look. Now it's official.

We are now 70 days out from Election Day -- that first Tuesday in November -- when we head to the polls to select who will lead our country for the next four years. In Whitfield and Murray counties, voters will also help choose the next U.S. Representative for the 14th Congressional District as Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome faces Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal of Catoosa County on Nov. 3. Incumbent Republican Tom Graves, of Ranger, is not seeking reelection.

If you want to help decide the future of the country, state and area, you must vote. That's why it's important that you first register to vote, if you are eligible.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office (georgia.gov/register-vote), to register to vote you must:

• Be a citizen of the United States.

• Be a legal resident of the county.

• Be at least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote.

• Not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

• Have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge.

After you've made sure you are eligible to vote, you then fill out and submit a voter registration application, check for your precinct card and then vote.

Here are several key dates in the process:

• The deadline to register online to vote is Monday, Oct. 5.

• The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, Oct. 5.

• The deadline to register in-person to vote is Monday, Oct. 5.

• The early voting period runs from Monday, Oct. 12, to Friday, Oct. 30, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

While the high-profile presidential race will dominate the headlines in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3, keep in mind there are plenty of opportunities to vote each year. Voting for a local school board member, a magistrate court judge or a coroner isn't as glamorous as a presidential election, but being a part of the democratic process of voting is an honor we all should participate in.

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