Election Day is Nov. 5. And while the elections being held across the state are local ones, there’s no reason for you not to cast a ballot.

Why not? Because if you’re a registered voter, you can cast your ballot in advance. That’s right, as of Oct. 16 you can head to an early voting location or request a mail-in ballot. You have no excuse not to speak up and make your voice heard next month.

We understand: Local elections are challenging. The airwaves aren’t blanketed with advertisements. Newscasts and newspapers aren’t filled with article after article dissecting the ins and outs of the campaign. Debates aren’t held and broadcast on each and every cable channel. You actually have to put in some effort to learn who is running and what they hope to accomplish in office.

But the same reason that local elections are challenging is the reason they’re so important. Local offices — city and county commissions, school boards, you name it — work the most closely with community members. They make the decisions that affect your daily life. Indeed, while you might think of the federal and state governments around tax time, your local government bodies affect your life every day.

What’s more, the candidates who seek local office are your friends and neighbors. They’re accessible. They live across the street, shop at the same grocery store, visit the same dentist’s office. You have the ability to meet them and hear their pitch directly in a way that’s uncommon for nearly any other level of politics.

They’re not motivated by wealth. They simply want to serve their communities. And even if you end up voting for an opponent, these local candidates should be praised. They’re going above and beyond, and they deserve your attention and engagement.

We also understand that this all takes work. You have to search out the candidates and their positions. In some cases, you might have to learn about the offices and board positions they’re seeking. But the effort is worth it. You will feel more connected to your community, and that knowledge positions you to play a bigger role in the future.

But knowing about Election Day isn’t enough. Learning about candidates and boards isn’t enough either. You have to actually cast a ballot to make your voice heard. And the surest way to make sure that ballot is case, and your voice breaks through the noise, is to cast an advance ballot.

Do it today and have your say.