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Local elections will affect everyone

Primary election day is fast approaching. Election Day for primaries is Aug. 6 with a runoff, if needed, set for Aug. 27. General Election Day is Nov. 5.

Absentee voting is underway through Aug. 3 at noon at the Lincoln County Circuit Clerk’s office, which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mail ballots can be requested, but the law requires they be returned by mail only by Aug. 5. Mailed ballots cannot be returned in person at the office, said Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield.

People may vote absentee for several reasons, including if they will be out of town on Election Day, if they are temporarily or permanently disabled or if they are 65 or older.

However you plan to vote, just make sure you cast a ballot. The importance of local elections can’t be overstated. The officials vying for your vote will make decisions that directly impact you.

County supervisors will create budgets that depend upon your tax dollars. They will determine what your tax bill looks like and if your road gets paved. Local senators and representatives vote on matters that impact you in more ways that you may realize.

They determine the size of the state budget, including how much gets spent on education, infrastructure (roads and bridges) and healthcare. They will make critical decisions on dozens of other issues that affect you.

Other local officials will be stewards of your tax dollars and property records. Others will be tasked with keeping your safe or settling legal matters in a courtroom or prosecuting criminals.

On the state level, the next governor of Mississippi will shape the future of the state. The candidates have been clear on where they stand on a host of issues: Medicaid reform or expansion, a gas tax increase, education and a variety of other issues. Study the candidates so you can make an informed decision about who is best positioned to lead Mississippi.

To help you decide between the local candidates, we will publish a Voters Guide July 31. The guide will include sample ballots, candidate questionnaires and voting information.

We are also highlighting the biggest local races in an ongoing series of stories in the newspaper.

Please do your part — learn about the candidates and the issues. And cast a vote.