In a little more than 12 hours polls across South Dakota will be open to voters, who will help decide the future of their state and the nation. Thousands have already gotten a head start, casting their ballots early Monday, officials remind the public why their vote counts no matter when you decide.

"I got an emergency call from my company that I had to go work in Fargo, North Dakota, today," said Brandon resident Charlie Henson, "so I probably won't be back in time to vote tomorrow."

But that didn't stop Henson from finding a spot at the very end of a long, early voting line, along with dozens exercising their right to vote. 

"Well, I'm glad to see that there's so many people out voting. I'd rather see a shorter line right now so I could get to Fargo but that's the way life goes," Henson said, laughing off the inevitable waiting period he, along with others, would have to do.

Thousands of people like Charlie, though, have already made their choice statewide. According to the Secretary of State's Office, more than 100,000 voters have requested absentee ballots this year... with a final number coming in at 103, 425 as of November 7th.

"Well, I think they all matter, so we need to go out and vote and cast your ballot," said Henson.

Mayor Mike Huether says that one major facility in Sioux Falls is a perfect example of what voting can accomplish.

"We had over forty thousand people vote on the event center," Mayor Huether said, "Over 40% voter turnout... and it ended up being the largest voter turn out in city of Sioux Fall's history."

It was part of a special election held in November of 2011 and, while there isn't a special election being held this year, he's hoping for a record turnout this time as well with the 45th President of the United States being determined.

"When you voted, whether you voted yes or whether you voted no, you're vote had an impact on your city in such a dramatic way."

Whether it's a Presidential Election or a special election to determine the fate of the Premier Center, officials say it's important to make your voice heard and exercise your right to vote.

"The great American novelist Louis L'Amour once said," quoted City Council Chair Rex Rolfing, "'To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.'"

The deadline to cast an absentee ballot vote was at 5pm, those still in line when the deadline hit were able to cast their votes. Polls across South Dakota open Tuesday at 7am and will stay open until 7pm, to find out where you need to vote you can find out here.