If you plan on having your voice heard in the upcoming election and have not yet registered to vote, Monday is your last chance to register for the Nov. 3 election.

Maybe you’ve procrastinated because you haven’t decided who to vote for. It’s hard to imagine there are many people on the fence about the candidates - the political divide seems greater than ever - but you can’t vote if you’re not registered. Do that, then do your homework. Read, research, talk to people whose views you admire and respect.

Perhaps you’re unsure if your vote even matters. After all, millions of votes are going to be cast in the general election. Rest assured, every single vote cast counts. Many new voters - those who are just now old enough to vote for the first time - were not around for the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Here’s a brief synopsis: the results of the election were close, as in really, really close. In Florida, as in several other states, the margin of difference was less than 1 percent. Florida was the one that mattered the most at that point, though, because whoever won that state would have enough electoral college votes to win the election.

It came down to a difference of 537 votes. That’s less than the population of Cullman High School or Dodge City or Baileyton. That’s how many votes separated the candidates from the White House.

After recount after recount (for more details, Google “hanging chads”) and a court fight that went up to the Supreme Court, Bush was declared the winner and took office the following January.

Now, imagine that more people in every state - because it wasn’t just in Florida where the count was close, it was just that, in the end, it came down to Florida’s vote - had registered to vote and exercised their right to do so. Perhaps the margins wouldn’t have been so close, and the winner would have been clear.

Maybe you think it takes too much time or effort to vote. After all, how many of us have seen the long lines forming in other states, where voters are waiting hours to cast their ballots early?

Well, you don’t have to stand in line. Alabama is allowing voters greater latitude in absentee voting this year due to the coronavirus. You can request an absentee ballot by filing out a form online or going to the third floor of the Cullman County Courthouse, Room 303. The last day to do this is Oct. 29. Then all you have to do is return it to that same office by 5 p.m. Nov. 2. If you want to mail it back in, it has to be postmarked no later than Nov. 2 and received in the office by noon, Nov. 3.

This is hardly a difficult process. But it starts with making sure you are registered to be a part of the process. Get registered. Go vote.

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