The November 6 election is still three weeks away but town clerks around the Vineyard are already in full election mode, registering voters, receiving absentee ballots and preparing for early voting, which begins October 22 and runs for two weeks prior to the state election.

Voting is both a right and a civic responsibility, and at no time in history has it seemed more important than now in a country torn apart by rancor and bitter politics.

Anyone who is eighteen or over and has not registered to vote is urged to do so. And registered voters are urged to go to the polls on November 6 or during any one of the early voting times available.

Towns clerks are required by law to publish the early voting schedule by the end of this week. As a public service to voters, the Gazette is publishing the information, and a complete schedule of early voting appears in today’s edition, both in print (on Page Nine) and online.

The last day to register to vote for the November 6 election is next Wednesday, October 17. Town clerks will host office hours until 8 p.m. on that day and are open every business day during normal working hours until then.

Nationally, the mid-term election holds the potential to change the balance of power in Congress, now narrowly tilted toward the GOP.

And though Massachusetts’s popular governor Charlie Baker, likely to win easy re-election, is a Republican, the state’s entire congressional delegation — two senators and nine members of the House of Representatives — is made up of Democrats whose seats are considered “safe.”

However, for Martha’s Vineyard voters the first Tuesday in November will bring important issues to consider and choices to make both at the local level and statewide. There is a race for the county clerk of courts as two candidates vie to replace longtime clerk Joseph E. Sollitto Jr., who will retire in January after forty-two years on the job. In addition to the congressional races, there are races that will decide who the Island’s next representatives will be in the state legislature. There are several key statewide races, including for governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Three questions will appear on the ballot, including the already-hotly debated Question 1 which would set limits on how many patients can be assigned to registered nurses in commonwealth hospitals.

A Massachusetts voter’s guide went out to most postal addresses last week and makes for useful reading as voters educate themselves about the candidates and issues.

With so much national attention focused on Congress, the urgency of voting on Martha’s Vineyard may seem less obvious. But as history keeps reminding us: every vote counts.