Madison and Lake county residents have an important election coming up, and we haven't shaken the hand of a single candidate yet.

In fact, we would guess none of the candidates have shaken hands, knocked on doors, kissed babies at parades, spoken at a public forum or any of the other traditional campaign practices, due to coronavirus restrictions.

That makes for an election that seems unusually quiet. And this year's June 2 election is probably as busy as any in recent memory, since school board and city commissioner elections were postponed from April and combined with the political primaries.

As voters, we'll still need to make informed decisions, and it appears that questionnaires and advertisements in the Daily Leader are two of the few ways to know about the candidates.

Just two weeks remain before election day. South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett has been encouraging voters to cast absentee ballots by mailing absentee application forms to every registered voter in the state. Many people have already completed the application, received a ballot and mailed it in.

The push for absentee voting this year will definitely improve voter turnout. We're confident that fewer voters feel comfortable gathering in a public polling place this year, although if you've voted in person in recent years, you'll know there is usually plenty of room to be socially distant. Poll workers will also take extra precautions to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

It isn't too late to vote absentee. The best method is probably to visit the courthouse, using appropriate practices, and cast your ballot. Voting in person also works, and we would expect polling places to be especially quiet this year.

In any case, we have a number of decisions to make, and the more voters who cast ballots, the more likely we choose officials who represent us all. We encourage people to participate.

-- Jon M. Hunter