Roughly 3.5 million people are registered to vote in the state of Alabama—a record high number of registrations for the state—but that doesn’t help if the voters don’t actually turn out to vote.

According to the final tallies, there were 1,254,330 votes cast in the 2016 primary in Alabama. There are an estimated 4.888 million people in the state so that means that only roughly 1/4 of the state cast their votes in the primary.

Later, in that year’s general election, 2,123,372 voters cast their votes for president for Trump, Clinton, two independent candidates—Gary Johnson and Jill Stein—and various other write-in candidates.

Cullman County voters turned out in record numbers for the general election in 2016, with 68 percent of registered voters casting ballots. Of those, 88.7 percent voted straight Republican.

This Tuesday, March 2, is Alabama’s primary election day for the 2020 general election.

The options for Presidential candidates and U.S. Senate are on the ballot for this primary, as is a statewide constitutional amendment to transition the State Board of Education from an elected body to one appointed by the governor and a number of delegates. There are also choices to be made for president of the Public Service Commission and judicial seats.

Locally, there are some important races to be determined. The one-cent sales tax for education has been much-discussed. This paper has provided a series of stories on the tax intended to give you the information you need to cast your vote.

We are not going to tell you how to vote, but encourage you to consider all the information carefully and know whatever the outcome on Tuesday, the conversation is not over.

If it does pass, it is up to the voters to hold the school boards accountable and ensure the funds are spent as we’ve been promised they will.

If it does not pass, the question remains of how to fund needed updates to county schools and build a career tech academy that was recommend by an independent study of Cullman County’s industrial and economic outlook.

Either way, there has been plenty of division over this issue. Let’s hope any future discussions are constructive and lead to solutions, rather than pulling the community apart.

The chairmanship for the Cullman County Board of Commissioners is also on the Republican ballot Tuesday. As everyone in Cullman County knows, roads are the number one issue in this race. But there are other issues the County Commission Chairman must contend with, so please know your candidate’s position on all the issues important to you.

If you aren’t sure where your polling place is, you can find it at myinfo.alabamavotes.gov. You can also find information there to register to vote for the general election, if you aren’t already registered. We have included a sample ballot in today’s paper, and you can also visit sos.alabama.gov and choose your county and party.

We aren’t going to tell you who to vote for but we will always encourage you to vote. Do your research. Vote for your candidates. Take charge of the future of the city, county, state and country you live in. Someone will be elected to these positions, don’t you want some say in who that is?

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