While there has already been a lot of hoo-ha about the 2014 state and congressional races, this fall we need to elect a crew of local officials.
Streets and schools, housing and development, poverty and crime: These issues fall largely under the purview of local councils and boards of education. So don't blow off the local races. From trash pick-up to property taxes, local officials affect our lives in even more significant ways than their higher-profile counterparts.
In the Related Stories linked below, the INDY offers its endorsements for the October elections in Wake and Durham counties. Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers.
• When do I vote and in what races?
Two rounds of contests happen this fall:
The first is Oct. 8. It includes a general election for Raleigh City Council and mayor, Cary Town Council, Wake County Board of Education and two bond referenda. There is no primary for these races.
However, in Durham, a primary will determine the top two candidates in the mayoral and Ward 2 City Council races. Those winners will continue to ...
...the second election, Nov. 5. Durham will hold an election to choose the mayor and councilpersons in Wards 1, 2 and 3. (Only two candidates are running in Ward 3, and thus there is no primary for that race. In Ward 1, Cora Cole-McFadden is running unopposed.)
Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Pittsboro, Hillsborough and many Wake County municipalities also hold elections in November. Voters will also elect members to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board.
• How do the recent changes to election laws affect my vote?
It's important to note that the rollbacks to voting rights that were passed during the 2013 legislative session do not take effect this fall. You don't need a photo ID to vote, and you can still register and cast a ballot on the same day during early voting, which is Sept. 19–Oct. 5. That said, be prepared to possibly confront election challenges by people who, under the guise of rooting out voter fraud, are merely trying to disenfranchise some groups from voting. Read about these suppression efforts.
• How does the INDY conducts its endorsements?
The INDY sends questionnaires to all candidates (unless the candidate cannot be located, which does occasionally happen). INDY reporters and I attend candidate forums, conduct background checks and study candidate websites and read news stories. Then we meet to discuss the merits of the candidates and how their viewpoints align with the paper's mission to build a just and progressive community. We also weigh if the candidates are serious about running.
We vote on whom to endorse. The vote does not have to be unanimous, only a majority. The reporters and I then write the endorsements. We don't include bylines on the endorsements because these opinions represent the voice of the institution, not that of individual reporters. — Lisa Sorg
This article appeared in print with the headline "Voting, round one."