Make sure you get a vote before it’s too late

Participating in the democratic process is one of the rights our founder cherished most and one the members of our nation’s military are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect.

But if you want to be able to exercise your right to vote, there are steps you need to take soon if you haven’t already — whether that’s getting registered, making it to the polling place or ensuring your absentee ballot is received in time and counted.

The last day to register to vote in this year’s primary and special congressional election is April 22 — this coming Monday. And while Pennsylvania’s antiquated closed primary system requires you to be a Democrat or Republican to participate in that party’s primary, with the special election to fill the U.S. Congress seat vacated by Tom Marino in January, it’s vital that everyone who can registers to vote so we can send the right person to Washington on our behalf.

Registering to vote is only part of the process, though. You still either have to make it to your polling place on Election Day (May 21) or request an absentee ballot. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you will be out of the area due to school, business or miliary service, you can request an absentee ballot. Requests can be submitted no later than May 14, but they must be received no later than May 17 — four days before the election (except for overseas and military absentee ballots, which must be received by 5 p.m. May 28 and submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on May 20). The Pennsylvania Department of State urges anyone who wants to request an absentee ballot to do so as soon as possible.

Time may be running low, but it’s not too late. Do yourself and your community a favor by registering to vote now, then exercising that right in May.

Our nation’s founders would be glad you did.