Perhaps you’ve circled March 3 on your calendar. That’s the day Massachusetts will be one of 14 states taking part in Super Tuesday, the presidential primaries that will likely go a long way in deciding which Democrat will oppose President Donald Trump in November.
But while the ballots may be counted on March 3, you don’t have to wait until then to do your civic duty.
Early voting has begun and all communities in the area are opening their doors to voters in an effort to make casting a ballot more convenient and, more importantly, increase turnout.
Each of Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns is required to set aside at least one location for voters to cast early ballots during regular business hours in the week leading up to the primary. Most communities also arrange for extended night and weekend hours.
Early voting will only be held through Feb. 28. Voters will not be allowed to cast ballots the weekend or the day before the primary.
In Foxboro, you can cast ballots at town hall, on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
In 2016, the first time early voting was offered in the state, more than 1 million Massachusetts voters — nearly 23 percent of registered voters — voted before the election. In area communities, many saw about one-third of voters cast early ballots.
Political analysts say early voting turnout may not be so high this time. Some voters will undoubtedly cast a ballot if they are already firmly behind one candidate and they want to avoid the long lines that will inevitably develop at the polls on primary day.
But many, many voters may be still undecided, analysts say, and may be waiting for the results of the South Carolina primary, which is on Saturday.
Or they may just be taking their time before making up their minds on which candidate they want to support.
In any case, we commend state and local election officials for putting in the extra time and effort to make it easier for voters to take part in our democracy.
And we encourage anyone who is committed to a candidate to make the effort to cast a ballot earlier, perhaps shortening the lines when March 3 rolls around.
That date is a big one, and deserves to be circled on your calendar because much is at stake in this year’s presidential election. We strongly urge all eligible voters to participate.