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Voting options for every taste

Early in-person voting has begun in Surry, Isle of Wight and across Virginia, and we urge people who are so inclined to take advantage of this relatively new opportunity.

Up until last year, Virginians had to vote at the polls on Election Day unless they had a reason they could not come to the polls that day. If they qualified for one of those reasons — health concerns, a business trip or vacation, military service and educational obligations being some of the most common — then they could cast a ballot early, either in person or by mail.

But last year, the need to cite a reason for being absent was removed, effectively giving Virginia what other states have known as “early voting” for years.

You can now vote early, either in person or by mail, for any reason or no reason at all. Perhaps you do have an obligation that will take you out of the area on Election Day, or maybe you have already made up your mind and simply want to avoid the crowd. Either way, your vote counts the same.

Early voters in Isle of Wight may cast ballots at the Voter Registration & Elections Office, 17106 Monument Circle, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 30. A mail absentee ballot can be requested at vote.virginia.gov. Applications must be received in the Voter Registration & Elections Office by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22. Mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, Nov. 2, and be received at the elections office by noon Friday, Nov. 5, in order to be counted.

Surry County voters also can cast early ballots on weekdays at the General Registrar Office, 45 School St. in Surry. Saturday hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. Mail deadlines are the same as Isle of Wight’s.

Of course, if you simply enjoy going to the polls on Election Day, you can still do that as well.

Remember, you need to show a form of identification to vote, but that ID no longer needs to have a picture on it.

Regardless of how you feel about early voting, voter IDs or any of the other controversial issues surrounding elections, it should be easy for all Americans to agree on one thing: It should be very easy for qualified voters to vote one time, and very difficult for anyone to cast a vote when they are not qualified or have already voted in the same election.

With that in mind, lawmakers and election officials must strike a delicate balance to ensure the voting process is as above board and unassailable as possible. The ability for all qualified voters to vote, for every single one of those votes to count, and for the results of those elections to be accepted by all and have a peaceful transfer of office when the votes are counted, is at the very heart of maintaining our government and way of life.