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Why it’s important to vote one more time

It almost feels wrong to discuss yet another upcoming election in Georgia, however that is where we are. After the primaries, the run-off to decide the primary winners and the general election, it feels like there can’t be anything left.

However, there are somehow still two yet races to be decided in Georgia, and early voting got underway on Monday at the Troup County Government Center for both. The early voting period lasts only this week while election day is Tuesday, leaving little time to contemplate whether or not to actually go to the polls.

There are only two races on the ballot, meaning it’ll take less than a minute to cast a ballot. Some may consider it a waste of time to take part in such a small election, but that is the wrong mindset to have. The final results will leave a lasting impact on our state.

The Secretary of State position has come down to Republican Brad Raffensperger and Democrat John Barrow. If you need any prodding on whether or not this race is important, just think back to a few weeks ago, when former Secretary of State Brian Kemp was in the midst of his governor’s race with Stacey Abrams.

Kemp, the governor elect, oversaw the election as he ran for governor. Some voters found this acceptable, others did not. His decision to remain on the job was a controversial one that made the race a national discussion.

Of course, Kemp had a big role before anyone was deciding whether or not to vote him to the state’s top office.

For the last four years, he was the person charged with answering questions about Georgia’s entire voting process, one that obviously needs revamping.

Just a few years ago, cybersecurity experts determined all of the state’s 6.7 million voter records were exposed. There’s also a push — one Kemp joined in June — to replace the state’s current electronic voting machines. The current models don’t leave any kind of paper trail, which experts say leave them open to hackers without any real way to track it.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of voter suppression and all of the other sensitive topics broached during the election, we think everyone can agree on one thing — everyone wants their vote to count in elections, and the process to ensure this takes place should be accurate, non-biased, efficient and as cost effective as possible.

The next secretary of state — Raffensperger or Barrow — will be the person tasked with handling complex election problems in the future and ensuring the voting process is fair to all.

The other race on the ballot is for a position even less in the public eye, meaning the candidates are likely less familiar to the general public.

However, the Public Service Commission has an important job statewide and either Chuck Eaton, a Republican, or Lindy Miller, a Democrat, will be elected to district three of that board Tuesday.

If you aren’t familiar with its role, the PSC regulates telecommunications, transportation, electricity and natural gas in Georgia. The members of the PSC protect pricing and make sure consumers receive safe and reliable services.

We realize that at this point, some have probably tuned out politics, at least until the start of the new year, but these are two vitally important positions that will shape our state for the near future.

There’s not a governor race on the board, and neither race will draw nationwide attention like the Abrams-Kemp election, but that’s also why it’s even more important to vote.

Georgia set records during the general election for voter turnout with more than 60 percent of registered voters casting ballots. It’s hard to guess how many voters will take part this time, but it’s unlikely the state sees anywhere that kind of turnout for these two elections.

We urge you to get out to vote before or on election day. Although it’s a small ballot, there’s still a couple of big decisions to be made.