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We’ve heard just about every excuse imaginable for not voting:

• I’m too busy.

• The day/time isn’t convenient.

• The early voting times are during my workday.

• I don’t know where to vote.

• I forgot.

• I don’t know enough about the candidates/issues.

• My vote doesn’t count.

If you’re 18 or older and meet the qualifications to cast a ballot, you have no excuse not to participate in our democracy.

Early voting for the May 24 Georgia general primary and nonpartisan election continues Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Whitfield County elections office in the courthouse. Early voting ends Friday, May 20.

For those who do not have transportation to their polling place, Whitfield County transit is offering free rides to the courthouse and back home for residents of any part of the county today. Voters were asked call at least 24 hours in advance to make sure they could be worked into the bus schedule.

Hats off to county officials for providing this valuable service. We hope voters lacking transportation take advantage of this generous offer.

If you’re busy on May 24, take time next week to cast your vote. On Monday through Thursday, voting is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Friday, early voting ends at 7 p.m.

In Murray County, early voting for the May 24 election is at the recreation department at 651 Hyden Tyler Road in Chatsworth. The hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those are also the hours on Saturday.

There are plenty of local, state and national races on the ballot. Since many of these races don’t have a Democratic challenger, the Republican will in essence decided the winner.

If you are unfamiliar with the candidates, we are here to help. We are publishing candidate profiles on many of the Whitfield County races, including the board of commissioners and the board of education (which is in today’s paper). On top of our candidate profiles, many candidates have websites or social media pages you can visit to conduct research.

In addition to the races, voters will decide whether to continue the Education Special Local Purpose Option Sales Tax for Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools. The maximum collection for what ESPLOST VI would be is $140 million, split based on enrollment between the two school systems. Dalton Public Schools would receive a maximum of nearly $52 million, or 37%, with the rest for Whitfield County Schools.

A SPLOST is a 1% sales tax on most goods sold in a county. School systems use their version for capital improvements — like renovating current schools and building new ones — buses, safety and security improvements, and technology, but not operating expenses.

Think about how much money you spend in Whitfield County each year, then take out 1%. That’s how much would go to the ESPLOST each year. Don’t you want to decide where your money goes?

So stop making excuses. Get out and vote!

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