Political signs popping up in yards across the city, candidate ads appearing in the newspaper these are just a few of the indications that election season is now underway.

Although advanced voting for the upcoming city commission/school board elections doesn't start for a couple weeks, the deadline to register to vote isn't far away.

So far, Harvey County Clerk Joyce Truskett said not many first-time voters have registered yet, and typically turnout for this type of election isn't as high as the turnout in national election years. However, she encourages people to make sure they vote, because city commissioners and school board members are the ones who set local government budgets and have an impact on your day-to-day life.

"I just like to challenge people to come out to vote in an odd-year election," Truskett said. "We always have a low voter turnout. ... With all the ways there are to vote, there really isn't any excuse."

Community members have until March 12 to register to vote, or if they've already registered to update their personal information, such as phone number or address. The courthouse will be open until 7 p.m. that day for people who need to register after work.

Truskett said it's important to keep your voter information up-to-date. If you originally registered in one precinct and then moved to another, the place you are supposed to vote may have changed. Township/rural residents also should note they will vote at poll sites assigned by school district, and their poll site may be different than the November 2012 election.

Although the official election day is April 2 with polls opening at 7 a.m. early voting begins March 19 in the community room in the courthouse basement. Voting runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and ends at noon on April 1. Advanced voting also will be available one Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 30. The courthouse will only be open half a day for Good Friday on March 29. Voting by mail also is available.

Truskett reminds voters to bring a valid photo ID with them to the polls (such as a drivers license, U.S. passport, or military or college ID), and if you are registering to vote for the first time, you must provide proof of citizenship through a birth certificate or other documentation.

If you have questions about where to vote or the election process, visit the election page on the Harvey County website, www.harveycounty.com/election-home.html, or call 284-6840. The website provides a list of candidates, sample ballots and voting maps.