Vote photo | Associated Press

Millions of ballots have already been cast around the country. In Loudoun, elections officials estimate 60 percent of voters will vote before Election Day.

Leaders of both major political parties agree on one thing: The presidential election in 2020 is among the most important in American history. Its outcome will shape our government, economy, even our society for the next decade or longer. Your life and that of your relatives, your children and grandchildren will be affected profoundly.

Don’t you want to have a say in the matter?

To judge by voter turnouts in previous elections, many of your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors simply don’t care about how we are governed. They do not bother to vote, and we hate to see that.

Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, there is no reason for such apathy this year. Absentee voting by mail, early voting in person and Election Day voting on Tuesday provide options to ensure your voice is heard. Make it so.

If you are reading this, you probably understand the importance of this election. Perhaps you have voted already. But what about others you know, perhaps even in your own family or circle of friends? Are they as engaged as you are? If not, encourage them to make a difference by exercising their right as an American. Offer to help, perhaps by explaining the mail-in ballot process or offering to drive them to their polling place on Election Day or before.

How you vote is important, of course. But more critical in the long run is whether you participate in the election.

Our form of government — of, by and for the people — can endure only if we Americans are part of it. If we do not use the most effective tool at our disposal — the ballot — to get the kind of government we want, we will not get it. It is that simple.

Vote, and then spread the word about how imperative it is to do so. You can make a difference there, too.

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