Last Tuesday night, the Madison County Election Commission and the county’s poll workers put away our voting machines and tabulators for what will hopefully be the last time amid possible state funding, but we won’t have much rest before starting the election cycle all over again.

The 2020 election is already casting a rather large shadow, and not just because of that trivial little presidential election. We’ve already had a couple big announcements – District 82 Rep. Sarah Capp will run for a third term, and Tim Snively has announced his intent to try to fill a new judge position in our circuit – and the next few months will undoubtedly be filled with more as we inch closer to November, the filing period for the March Primary Election.

Anyone who sees the act of voting as inconsequential was silenced last Tuesday, when the school district’s request for a millage increase passed by a mere 40 votes. We’ve always been told that every vote matters, but last week’s election was truly democracy in action: proof that, especially in our local elections, those who take the time to get to the polls can make a real difference.

We have a plethora of offices that will be open for election (or reelection) next year. None of our elected officers for the county will be open, but the nine quorum court spots will be. None of the mayor positions will be up for election next year, but all of the St. Paul and Hindsville councils will be, and half of Huntsville’s will be (which will include councilors Debra Shinn, Leslie Evans, Niki Rowland and Stephen Ford). Also, the treasurer positions in those towns will be determined by next year’s election.

Also up, in addition to Rep. Capp’s seat, will be the District 97 seat, held currently by Harlan Breaux.

Then we’ll hit the bigger races: of course, we’ll have the presidential race, and the primaries before it, along with our Congress positions. Also, Sen. Tom Cotton’s term is up, and has already drawn challengers.

It’s too early for me to want to think about next year’s races – a breather between one election and the next would be nice – but it’s not too early to start prioritizing what you want in the candidates you vote for. Locally, I hope to see leaders who help move our county and city forward: new development, industry and housing should be top priorities (and I’d still love to see the after-hours medical care that was kicked around by the city a few years ago).

On a grander scale, looking toward our federal races and what’s bound to be an ugly, contentious presidential race, I want leaders who will tackle my generation’s insurmountable amounts of student debt; who will help champion efforts to better our environment and combat catastrophic climate change; who will push back against recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights; who will affect prison reform and promote a judicial system that doesn’t disparagingly target minorities; and who will support programs that help the poor climb out of their holes of poverty, rather than fester inside them.

That list will inevitably grow as we inch closer to March, and then to next November, but it’s not too early to start: what do you want to see your elected officials prioritize after the 2020 election? Submit your letters to the editor to

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