\u201cSo it begins\u201d need not always convey a sense of foreboding.\r\nThat\u2019s a memorable quote from a 2002 fantasy film wherein the forces of good steel themselves to battle the forces of evil.\r\nBut when the polls open for any election, including this year\u2019s early voting period that starts today, there\u2019s almost a sense of dread.\r\nThat is, the dread of not even half of the electorate voting either early, absentee, provisionally or on the actual Election Day.\r\nWe probably should lower that bar further \u2014 say, to 30 percent \u2014 for a mid-term election, like this year\u2019s, when presidential candidates don\u2019t even headline the ballot.\r\nAt 9 a.m. today early voting begins across West Virginia during a 13-day period before the May 8 election in which polls are open for 10 of those days.\r\nEarly voting has been an option in West Virginia since 2002, when only 14,000 voters cast a ballot. In the 2016 primary election more than 150,000 state voters cast a ballot in the early voting period.\r\nPrior to 2011, the early voting period began 20 days before an election. The Legislature (SB 581) changed it to a 13-day period then, shrinking the early-voting window significantly.\r\nThat legislation, came by and large, at the request of county clerks, who saw that move as a cost- and labor-saving measure.\r\nEarly voting, or as it\u2019s sometimes called no-excuse voting, could not make voting any more convenient. Also in the recent past, both major parties now allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in their primaries.\r\nIt would also appear eligible voters being registered to vote is no longer that great of an issue. About two-thirds of the state\u2019s population is registered to vote.\r\nWhat is apparent is that as important as voting still is, too many people don\u2019t vote, for one reason or another.\r\nWhich probably explains a lot of what happens in Washington, D.C., Charleston and courthouses.\r\nMany like to invariably point their fingers at public officials when things go wrong. Those who do not vote would do well to point a finger at themselves.\r\nStill, we questioned the need for shortening the early voting period in 2011 and still do.\r\nDitto for the supposed need for the state\u2019s new voter ID law \u2014 passed in 2016 \u2014 which went into effect Jan. 1.\r\nIt\u2019s curious too that we continue to categorize voting, as if there are different kinds of voting. Why call it early voting or absentee voting or provisional voting? Just set aside a period for voting and call it voting.\r\nMaking the polls more open for voting serves the same purpose \u2014 to determine an election\u2019s outcome.\r\nTo that end, now is the time for eligible voters to vote.