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The sprint to the Nov. 3 General Election is on.

Many deadlines are just days away as the time for voting draws nigh.

So let's start with the most pressing deadline – that of registration to vote.

If you are not sure you are registered to vote in the Nov. 3 General Election, you must register before Oct. 5 at the County Clerk's office in the county in which you reside.

There are plenty of places to register to vote: i.e. the local Department of Motor Vehicles, all state Departments of Human Services and there will be last minute registration drives put on by groups in all our communities.

However, once you register, it is up to you to make sure the County Clerk in your county of residence has received your registration.

Early voting in both Benton and Washington Counties will commence on Monday, Oct. 19, at various locations in each county.

Benton County Early Voting Sites

• New Life Christian Church in Bella Vista

• St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Bella Vista

• Benton County Courthouse Administration -- Bentonville

• Benton County Election Commission office -- Bentonville

• First Landmark Baptist Church -- Bentonville

• Reach Church -- Centerton

• NEBCO Building -- Garfield

• Gravette Civic Center -- Gravette

• Grace Lutheran Church -- Lowell

• Sunnyside Baptist Church -- Rogers

• Siloam Springs County Clerk's Office -- Siloam Springs

• Siloam Springs Community Center -- Siloam Springs

Please note: Most early voting sites are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, however check the website or with the locations, some hours of operation do vary. Not all sites are open on Saturdays.

Also not all locations will be open on Monday, Nov. 2, so please check the county election commission website or the poll site for details.

Washington County Early Voting Sites

• Elkins Community Center -- Elkins

• Diamond Dance Studio -- Fayetteville

• Medical Arts Pharmacy -- Fayetteville

• Quorum Courtroom, Washington County Courthouse -- Fayetteville

• Prairie Grove Fire Station -- Prairie Grove

• Arvest Ball Park -- Springdale

• Springdale Civic Center -- Springdale

• West Fork Community Center -- West Fork

Other limited sites for early voting in Washington County include:

• Bud Walton Arena on Oct. 22, 23, and 24 are the only dates for this facility.

• Rise Physical Therapy in Fayetteville for voting on Oct. 22, 23, and 24 only.

• Lincoln Community Center in Lincoln for voting on Oct. 29 and 30 only.

• Elmdale Baptist Church in Springdale is for voting on Oct. 29, 30, and 31 only.

Most locations for early voting are open 8 a.m.to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; however, check with the county election commission website or the polling location prior to arriving to make certain of the hours as times do vary with the business or location offering early voting.

Not all sites are open on Saturdays and most locations are closed on Monday, Nov. 2.

The only early polling site in Washington County open on Monday, Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the Washington County Quorum Court Room at the Washington County Courthouse.

A reminder to candidates and those holding signs or passing out literature at early polling sites or polling sites on Nov. 3 Election Day, is that state election laws and rules prohibit standing within 100 feet of the polling place entrance.

Also most polling sites may ask you to wear a protective mask during this pandemic. All election officials within the polling sites will be wearing protective equipment and precautions will be taken for the voting public.

Be safe, vote early and be mindful this is indeed a different political year for us all.

Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several Northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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