You might be surprised to learn that the upcoming city-school election may have a bigger impact on your daily life than who is elected president, senator, or governor. While races for those higher offices receive greater attention, the locally elected officials play a more direct and immediate role in your community.

I believe voting is the best way to make your voice heard and make a difference in society. The United States of America is the greatest and freest country in the world because we give citizens the power to choose their elected leaders and form of government. As Abraham Lincoln famously said in his Gettysburg Address, we are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Do not ignore the power and responsibility that lies in your hands. Learn about the candidates on the ballot on November 2 and exercise your civic duty by voting for the ones that best resemble your values.

This is a time of great unrest in our society. School board and city council meetings are often devolving into shouting matches. It seems every issue we face becomes a partisan battle. Politics clouds everything today.

There is an easy solution. Instead of pointing fingers and raising voices, vote.

Instead of arguing endlessly on social media, vote.

Instead of wishing for a better world, change it yourself. Vote.

Countless Americans fought and died for our right to choose our representative republic. You can honor them November 2 by voting. My office and Iowa’s 99 county auditors will honor them and honor you by ensuring your vote is safe and secure.

Remember, if you requested an absentee ballot through the mail, your county auditor must receive the ballot by November 2. You can vote in-person at your county auditor’s office through November 1. If you prefer to go to the polls on Election Day, they will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Make sure to bring your Voter ID.

For more information, visit City and school elections are about you, your family, and your community. Make your voice heard on November 2. Vote.

Paul Pate is Iowa’s Secretary of State and Commissioner of Elections