We are pleased to see so many people exercising their right to vote.

We are dismayed at the lack of protective masks and social distancing. 

It looks like we may see records for voter turnout shattered. 

We have written ad nauseam about abysmal turnout election cycle after cycle. 

On the local level there have been times that the turnout percentage was in the single digits. 

Of course, this presidential election is bringing out people in droves and we hope it has a trickle down affect and activates the electorate in future local elections. 

High turnout is democracy in action and gives us greater assurances that the outcome of a national election is more truly the will of the American people. 

But please, can’t you just wear a mask when you go to the polls and respect social distancing guidelines to protect both yourself and all of your friends and neighbors around you there? 

Is it too much to ask? 

Poll workers are wearing personal protective equipment. 

Doing so is not partisan. 

It is smart and responsible. 

COVID-19 is again spiking across the nation and Georgia is likely to follow other states that saw daily numbers falling only to see a resurgence as people spent more time in crowded spaces. 

Almost 150 patients at our local hospital have died of COVID-19. Almost 7,500 people in Georgia have died. At least 85 Lowndes County residents have died. Almost 4,200 people in our county have been diagnosed with the dangerous coronavirus and while so many did not die there are a significant number of people who have been and still are seriously ill and may never completely recover. 

Even if we never get sick and are never diagnosed, any of us could still be spreading COVID-19 to others, especially if we are not wearing masks and not social distancing. Sure there are many people who never get very sick and others who fully recover, but what about those who do not? 

Many of you opted to receive your mail-in ballot. We again want to emphasize that mailing your ballot in or dropping it off at the elections office is secure. Safeguards are in place to protect the integrity of the election and despite rhetoric from partisans, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud associated with absentee or mailed-in voting. 

But if you do choose to vote in-person during this early voting period or on Election Day, show respect, be safe, protect yourself and others and wear a mask.

Wearing a mask does not prove you are a Democrat or that you are a Republican. Wearing a mask simply means you are thoughtful and concerned about your community. 

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