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The 2022 general election is a little over a year away. Election cycles have become increasingly unpredictable, which means every vote counts more now.

Political junkies, rejoice. The 2022 general election is only 363 days away: Nov. 8, 2022.

In West Virginia the primary election is scheduled for May 10. Ohio’s primary is May 3. Kentucky’s primary is May 17.

This early in the process, it’s easy to speculate about how 2022 will turn out, but it’s not easy to be accurate. Who in November 2019 could have predicted the effect of a relatively unknown virus in China on national elections in the United States in 2020?

Last week’s elections in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere showed voters can expect surprises any time, anywhere.

Five years ago, “Make America great again” gave the Donald Trump campaign enough momentum to carry him into the White House. President Joe Biden has tried to get his agenda enacted with “Build Back Better,” but that’s been a feeble effort compared to the grassroots “Let’s go, Brandon” slogan. Who knows what three or four words will sway people next year.

Here in West Virginia, voters will have no more multi-member districts in the House of Delegates. That change could affect the balance of power in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Or it might not.

Events in Virginia and elsewhere this year have shown interest is building in local elections such as those for school boards. We haven’t had the same level of controversy here as elsewhere, so it’s too early to say whether our local elections will see that same level of interest. But it is good that more people are taking these seriously.

If you care, vote. If you don’t care, don’t vote. It’s that simple. If you care and you’re not registered to vote, register. The process is simple and easier than ever. You don’t have to take your eyes off your phone or computer screen to do it.

When it comes time to vote, don’t take anything for granted. In almost every election cycle, a dark horse candidate comes out of nowhere and pulls an upset. It could be a bartender in New York City, a truck driver in New Jersey or a college student here in Huntington. You never know.

If you really want to make a difference, run for office. The filing period in West Virginia begins Jan. 10 and ends Jan. 29. The secretary of state’s website has all the information you need about how to file.

Next year looks to be an interesting one, even for people who don’t live and breathe politics. It’s unpredictable, and that’s good. It makes every vote count that much more.

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