• 39°

Get out and vote

If you haven’t already voted early, either in person or by mail, you’ll have to show up at your polling place on Tuesday. And there’s a lot at stake.

The outcome of the presidential election will decide America’s future for at least the next four years and likely have implications that reach far beyond even that time frame. There are senators and congressional representatives on the ballot. And then there are local races — a four-way contest for mayor as well as three seats each on City Council and School Board. Two incumbents on each board have challengers on the ballot.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that the upper-ballot races are the only ones that matter. Yes, it’s important to elect our president and those who will make the laws in the U.S. Congress. But rest assured that neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden will be making decisions on how to run your city and your school system. That’s the job of our local government, and Suffolk residents serve themselves well when they become informed on the issues, consider what their local government has been and what they want it to be in the future, and vote accordingly.

To the many who have already turned out to vote, thank you! You did yourself and your fellow citizens a great service by reducing the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in crowded polling places on Election Day and by taking advantage of the early voting — as opposed to absentee voting — Virginia now has for the first time in recent memory.

To the many who will vote at their polling place on Election Day, thank you! You are participating in a time-honored tradition that still ensures your vote is counted and your voice is heard.

If you need to check whether you’re registered or where your polling place is, visit elections.virginia.gov or call 757-514-7750.