Early voting starts Saturday

­­To all those who plan on participating in early voting, remember that it starts on Saturday, March 5.

Early voting has major benefits, ranging from an extended period of voting to ease of voting location.

By taking part in early voting and casting ballots earlier, voters can be assured that, no matter what happens on election day (March 15), their voice will be counted.

Beginning on Saturday, March 5 and ending on Saturday, March 12, early voting can be done at any of the four sites within Madison County.

On election day, voters will be required to vote only at their precinct’s designated polling place  (if you are uncertain of what your precinct’s voting location is, visit votemadison.com and use the website’s form to find the address of your precinct’s polling place).  During early voting, however, voters will be allowed to vote at any of the four locations in Madison – Madison County School Board Room Annex in Madison, Lee City Hall in Lee, the Senior Citizens Building in Greenville and Pinetta Volunteer Fire Department in Pinetta – no matter where your precinct is.

But why should citizens vote early?

Life today is busy and full of movement and action; taking time out of your schedule to head to your precinct’s polling place and stand in line before even placing your poll can take a chunk of time out of anyone’s schedule.  Early voting ensures that not only is every vote counted but also that voting is able to remain a feeling of privilege, rather than becoming a chore.

If you have a full day’s worth of activity on election day, plan on being out of town or if you become sick on election day, getting to your precinct’s polling location may simply be out of the question.  Early voting makes it easier on yourself and those around you by ensuring that, no matter what happens on Tuesday, March 15, your voice will still be heard.

Your vote will not be calculated until the conclusion of election day, no matter how early you vote; by law, all votes must be tallied at the end of the day on March 15, no matter if they came in through absentee ballots, early voting or traditional polling places.

The only drawback to the flexibility and convenience of early voting is, historically, towards the end of campaign season there is always a rush of information and news coverage of the national level candidates. Sometimes the new information could be crucial to decision making in the final hours before election day.   However, if you already know who has won your support and don’t plan on changing that vote, then early voting is a good option for you.

Whether you take part in early voting on March 5-12 or wait until March 15 to vote in your precinct’s polling place, if you are a resident within the city limits of Madison or the city limits of Greenville, you will have a candidate for the local city elections on your poll ballot.

For the City of Madison, only District 2 and 3 will be voting for local officials as long as the voter’s party has a candidate running.  In Greenville, as long as you are living within city limits and your party has an affiliated candidate running, you may vote for a local official.

This year there are 40 different ballot types depending on voter’s party affiliation, precincts and districts.

Please notice however, that in this presidential election, some candidates listed on the ballots have suspended their campaign.  Voting for them will be an empty vote, as the candidates have decided to hold off running during this particular election.

There are 13 names on the Republican ballot, however (as of press time) there are only five still in the running for the Presidential Nominee: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.  It is speculated, however, that others may drop out before we go to vote on March 5 or March 15. Do your research before you vote to be certain that the candidate you plan on backing with your vote is still running in the presidential race.

In the Democratic race, there are three names on the Democratic ballot. However, only two are still in the running for election: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

The March 15 Presidential Primaries can only be voted on by Democrats and Republicans. If someone is NPA or Minor Party affiliation, they will not have a ballot during this voting period. Between early voting, absentee ballots and traditional polling on election day, there are a number of voting options so that no one should be prevented from casting their vote. Do your part and vote.  Every vote counts.

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