In just one month, Cullman voters will be going to the polls to make important decisions on taxes and representation.

We implore voters to use this time to educate yourself on the issues and the candidates so you are fully informed when you cast your vote.

The Cullman County School Board is asking voters to approve a one-cent sales tax for school improvements, additional safety features and a new career tech academy. Over the next few weeks, Superintendent Shane Barnette is hosting several community meetings to discuss what’s being proposed.

We encourage you to go to one of the sessions. You can also visit keepcullmangreat.com, but attending at least one session allows you to hear the information first hand and ask questions. Even if you don’t have a child in local school systems, this issue is important to our community and as taxpayers.

Another school issue on the ballot will be decided by voters across the state. In Amendment 1, voters are being asked to decide if the State Board of Education should be renamed the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, and, more importantly, if the members should be appointed by the governor, rather than elected as they are now.

Ballotpedia.org has a basic explanation of the amendment, its history and comments from supporters and detractors, which is a good place to start your research. Our legislative delegation would also be a good source of information. Cullman State Senator Garlan Gudger was one of the bill’s sponsors, and Cullman’s representatives in the House all voted in favor of it.

Then there are the candidates on the ballot. Cullman County voters will have to choose among four candidates to be the next Chairman of the County Commission. Candidates always seem to run on the better roads platform, and while that is important, there are many other issues facing the county.

The Times will be running Q&As with the four candidates to help you get to know their positions better, but they are members of our community and easily accessible if you have your own set of questions.

Another high-profile race is the primary election for the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. This is a crowded field, so it’s likely there will be a runoff to decide who faces Senator Doug Jones in November.

The candidates have made several stops in Cullman, and we will bring you interviews with some in upcoming weeks, but do your own research on what their values and positions are.

None of your research will matter, though, unless you vote. Participating in our election process is a basic requirement of good citizenship. Feb. 17 is the last day you can register to vote in the primary election. Be sure you are registered, informed and ready to cast your ballot on March 3.

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