In just a few days, the Nov. 3 general election will be here. If you are a registered voter, it is critical that you cast a ballot. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, voting is a right and a duty.

As we have said so many times before, voting is the cornerstone of our democracy.

This needs to be a decisive election, especially in the presidential race between incumbent Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, to ensure that the people determine the outcome of the race and not the courts. Ohioans can vote early in person at their county board of elections office Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The other options are absentee voting or going to your precinct polling place on Nov. 3 between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We are encouraged that as of the middle of this week, 2.2 million Ohioans cast early ballots in the 2020 general election, according to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. This number is significant because it surpasses the 1.9 million Ohioans who voted early in person or by absentee ballot during the entire 2016 election – the last presidential race.

So far this year, about 1.4 million absentee ballots have been returned statewide to county boards of elections, with 841,000 outstanding. Requests for absentee ballots from Ohioans include 25,653 from voters in the military or those living overseas.

Over the past month, people have been willing to stand in long lines at their county board of elections office to vote in person. According to Mr. LaRose, 743,130 have voted early in person so far. That compares to 288,865 at the same point in time before the 2016 election.

If you haven’t returned your absentee ballot, don’t wait. We recommend driving it to your designated county board of elections office.

Absentee ballots received by the county elections boards by 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 will be included in the unofficial vote count. Absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 and received in the mail by county officials within 10 days after the election will be counted in the final official results.

It’s time to vote.

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