We’re in favor of voting. You ought to vote. Your neighbors ought to vote. Your friend and their adult offspring, and your grandparents and their friends. Everybody ought to vote.

In-person advanced voting started today. The Riley County election office also intended to send out upwards of 10,000 ballots, starting today, to registered voters who requested them. Presumably those voters will send them back in by mail.

That’s probably good. As our old colleague Bill Felber used to say, it’s really only good if those voters actually take the time to get informed before voting.

And that’s why we have to express just a bit of hesitation. We generally recommend waiting as long as possible to make up your mind about elections, since more information can become available as a campaign goes on. That notion seems sort of quaint in this day and age, since people are so heavily divided along partisan and ideological lines that their minds were made up years ago.

Still, we have to stick by our principle: It’s best to gather as much information as possible before voting. One excellent place to start, if you haven’t done so already, is to read The Mercury’s Sunday edition that contained a voter’s guide.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, physically going to the polling place on election day might not be the wisest choice, depending on crowds. It’s worth considering voting by mail, or voting in advance, just to avoid those crowds. So we’ll bend on that principle this year.

Still, we highly recommend taking the necessary time to think carefully about the choices involved. While it’s important to cast ballots on time, it’s also important to cast them in a way that’s intelligent, in whatever way you define that. In other words, make sure you get it done, but make sure you prepare, too.

And we’re not just talking about the choice between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump. There are important races for Congress and for the state legislature, not to mention the county commission here. There’s a sales tax proposal that deserves careful consideration. We’ll have recommendations on the local issues nearer election day, in the event that you haven’t made up your mind.

But what we’re saying here right now is far more important than any of that: Make sure you get informed, and then make sure you vote.

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