Keith Taylor mug

I voted and the May primary is Tuesday. That just sounds odd, but it’s true.

If this year hasn’t been strange enough because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, going to the polls will be much different this year. Only three precincts will be open in Madison County for the 2020 version of the primary, but an added option this year was absentee voting provided for those who requested a ballot online.

Traditionally, absentee ballots were for voters who were not available to cast a vote during the May primary or November election. That tradition went out the door on New Year’s Day.

Some may consider absentee voting is a little riskier when ballots are mailed to your residence and votes are cast — as was mine — from the comfort of my own couch, but at

least to me, the process made it

difficult to turn in a fraudulent ballot, which had to be requested online.

The instructions were simple and required two signatures by the voter. For those who needed assistance during the absentee process, proof via signature of the assisting party was required on the ballot. For me, reading the instructions for a second and third time proved to be very helpful just to make sure the ballot wouldn’t be tossed when it arrived at the Madison County Courthouse.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot was Monday and precinct voting remains an option for those wishing to cast their vote the traditional way on Tuesday. Thanks to technology, gathering results in the past few years has been relatively easy, but it will require more patience this time around, because it will take time for workers in the Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger’s office to tally the votes, especially the absentee ballots.

I still prefer going to the polls to cast my vote and taking part in the annual Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast on Election Day, but given the current circumstances because of the coronavirus, providing an alternative for the voters is the right thing to do until the virus subdues and a vaccine is discovered to keep all of us safe and secure.

Whether you cast an absentee ballot or will be doing it in person on Tuesday, it’s still important to vote and let your voice be known. It’s part of the democratic process and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted no matter the circumstances.

Your vote counts now more than ever, especially during a pandemic.

Keith Taylor is publisher of the Berea Citizen.

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