We know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t we just go to polls?!?!?!??

Indeed, you did. But participatory democracy rarely takes a year off. So here we go again.

Early voting started this week in advance of the April 6 consolidated election for schools boards, village boards, city councils and other elective seats around Danville and Vermilion County. There’s even a referendum in the Bismarck this spring on whether commercial retailers can sell liquor inside village limits.

While major state and national elections tend to draw all the major media attention, it’s important for citizens to remember that local elections carry a significant amount of weight in terms of the functioning of government which is closest to the people.

Local elected officials, from mayors to aldermen to board members of various public entities, serve at the will of the people, and they answer to those who elect them. In elections, the people have the power. It’s wise to use it.

Early voting is among the friendliest practices available to citizens who choose to participate in this vital civic process. It allows registered voters to cast ballots prior to Election Day by voting at the Vermilion County Clerk’s Office (for county voters who don’t live in Danville) or Danville Election Commission office (for Danville voters). Both are inside the Vermilion County Administration Building, 201 N. Vermilion St.

Fortunately for Illinois voters, state law does not require a voter to declare a reason for voting early. It’s an option for everyone. Ballots cast early are deposited by the voter into an Optical Scan Ballot tabulator. These tabulators will be totaled on Election Day after the polls are closed.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There also will be some Saturday times at the end of March and early April.

For important dates in the election process, you should check the Danville Election Commission website (Google it!) or visit the office.

Government works best when citizens and voters are engaged and involved. We urge you to do both.

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