As if 2020 hasn’t been enough of a roller coaster of a year so far, the end of the year is poised to have long-lasting effects on our country.

In less than two months, people across our nation will take part in the cornerstone of our democracy – elections. While COVID-19 dominates the news cycle, the run-up to Nov. 3 will surely be filled with election coverage. It will be hard to escape as this year is a presidential election.

With the candidates having been decided fairly early in the primaries, campaign signs have been dotting front yards for months.

This constant barrage of Trump and Biden will prove tiresome to most people who are not deeply engrained in following politics.

By the time the first Tuesday in November rolls around, many people will no doubt be so sick of the political process that they will wonder why they should even vote. That feeling might be even greater when your political leanings make it feel like your vote won’t even count when all is said and done.

It’s easy to forget that, while the presidential election will be getting most of the news coverage, it will hardly be the only election on the ballot. While the election of a new president will help set the tone for the next four years in this country, it’s often the lesser-known elections on the ballot that will truly affect our lives.

Illinois state Senators, judgeships, school boards, local referendums, etc. Some or all of these may be elections that you will find when you fill out your ballot. These are the elections in which your vote matters, without a doubt.

In smaller rural elections, a matter of a few votes could swing an election one way or another and could make a huge difference in your local community. These elections typically don’t have huge campaign budgets pushing out advertisements, so it never hurts to look up exactly what will be on your ballot so you can research the candidates and be informed when you vote.

If you are not yet registered to vote, now is the time to get that done. Contact your local election authority to see what you need to do to register.

Coronavirus may have canceled many plans this year, but the elections will not be one of them. Whether you plan on voting early, by absentee ballot or in person on election day, and whether this is the first election you vote in or you’ve voted in every election for years, make sure you have your voice heard by voting this year.

Aaron Mitchell serves as District 2 representative on the Illinois Farm Bureau State Young Leader Committee.