Just about everyone in Guilford County – and across the nation – is gearing up to vote in the upcoming election and, if you’re reading this in a cell in one of the county’s two jails, you should get your chance to vote as well.

And you can even vote early from behind bars.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department announced that the department is working, in conjunction with a nonpartisan organization You Can Vote, to make sure that the inmates held in Guilford County – well, the ones who are legally eligible to vote at least – have an opportunity to participate in voting by absentee ballot for the upcoming November election. It’s expected to be one of the most hotly contested elections of all time from the top of the ballot to the state races to the school bond referendum and the proposed sales tax increase.

The overwhelming majority of people held in the county’s two jails are in there awaiting trials rather than serving current sentences. North Carolina citizens who’ve been convicted of a felony do lose the right to vote. However, that right can be regained once convicts complete their felony sentences including parole.

There are currently over 700 inmates in the two county jails. According to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, 110 of those were eligible and have been registered to vote.

The department is currently scheduling times for You Can Vote volunteers to come in to both the jail in Greensboro and the jail in High Point to serve as witnesses for the inmates signing ballots.

Before You Can Vote volunteers come in, jail staff will be handing out candidate booklets so that the inmates can learn more about the candidates.