Don’t forget, Iowans, your chance to vote in local elections is coming up on Nov. 2. And if you want to cast that ballot in advance or by mail, the window of opportunity is smaller than it used to be.

Dubuque County voters can cast early ballots at the County Elections Office on the fourth floor of the county courthouse, open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through Nov. 1. The office will be open until 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18, Friday, Oct. 29, and Monday, Nov. 1.

Voters will find the form to request an absentee ballot at the election office or at the “request an absentee ballot” link at www.dubuqucountyiowa.gov. Time is of the essence: Requests to mail an early ballot must be received by the Election Office no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18. That’s also the last day to pre-register to vote in the Nov. 2 election for voters who aren’t registered, though voters also can register at the polls on Election Day by showing proof of residence and identity.

Here’s another thing to be aware of — all absentee ballots must be received by the county auditor by 8 p.m. Nov. 2 to be counted; postmarks no longer count.

Voter participation in local elections is critically important. Iowans must know the rules and make sure their voices are heard on Nov. 2.

It’s great to see the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dubuque back to its usual status — abuzz with the sound of kids.

After a lengthy hiatus of in-person activities because of COVID-19, the downtown Dubuque club is back to being a place where local kids play games, participate in organized sports, watch movies, eat dinner and do educational programs.

The club relaunched its after-school program this fall with improved facilities and revamped offerings in keeping with its mission to provide a safe, positive environment to help kids do well in school and find success in adulthood. That includes a technology center outfitted with new computers and tablets and a greater focus on structured programming.

For decades, the Boys & Girls Club has filled a vital role in our community, providing stability and fun to local kids. During the pandemic, staff and supporters pivoted to serve more than 180,000 meals through community dinner and summer meal offerings.

Dubuque should be proud of the work this nonprofit provides as it is truly an asset in our community.

Deciding on whether to require masks in schools was undoubtedly one of the most contentious issues the Dubuque Community School Board has faced in a long while. Weighing health care and brain health issues, along with parent and faculty concerns on both sides of the discussion, made for a decision that could not possibly please everyone.

Setting a threshold — albeit a somewhat arbitrary one — of cases that would trigger a building-specific mask mandate was about as balanced a decision as the board could have reached. Listening to stakeholders (and listening, and listening) should send the message that this board understood the gravity of the decision and weighed that response from the public purposefully.

There were no easy answers to addressing this issue. Dubuque school board members listened to constituents, debated the issue and made a decision. Plenty of people still might be unsettled by the decision reached, but this is the process we expect our local leaders to follow.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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