Early voting started Monday in Texas and runs through next week. Have you voted yet, or are you waiting until November 6th?

I voted earlier today and I thought I'd pass along some of the things either I learned for the first time, or that were reaffirmed to me.

1. Voting early does not mean you will avoid a long line at the polling place. My line stretched out the door and onto the sidewalk, but I was finished in about thirty minutes.

2. You can take the kids. I had three of them. And I saw another mom with two kids and a stroller, so I didn't feel too bad. All of the kids were good, and their funny faces gave the others in line something to look at to pass the time.

3. Election officials appreciate kids. When I got to the front of the line and handed over my ID, I mentioned the obvious that I brought the family, and the election administrator smiled and said, "That's good! They're learning." Indeed.

4. Don't forget your ID. You don't need the voter registration card necessarily, but if you don't have that you do need your Driver's License. And shut off your cell phone when you walk in. No cell phones in polling places.

5. Make sure you're in the right county. You don't have to be in the right precinct during early voting, but you do have to be in the right county. Someone at our location was turned away because they weren't in the right county.

6. Election results are not immediately available. Right after I cast my ballot my four-year old said, "So who won?" Perhaps I haven't taught her as much as the election officials think I have.

7. It feels good to vote. Yes, there are millions of voters in Texas and millions more in the US and it's tempting to think this lil' ole vote doesn't matter. But without each of us telling the world how we feel, the process would be moot. So go vote!

Here's where you do it in Smith County:

Election Office inside the Courthouse Annex Building, 200 E. Ferguson St.

Heritage Building, 1900 W. Bellwood Road.

Noonday Community Center, 16662 County Road 196 in Tyler.

Lindale Masonic Lodge, 200 Margaret St. in Lindale.

Whitehouse Municipal Court, 311 E. Main St. in Whitehouse.

Weekend hours are: Saturday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m and Sunday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

October 29th through November 2 hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit www.smith-county.com for more information.