Election Day is 10 days away, and next week the Enterprise will be loaded with content to help you make your decisions.
It's been a relatively quiet campaign season so far, and we've received fewer letters to the editor than in many years. One thing that means is that each letter gets more attention. Another thing it means is that there's less need for us to set special guidelines to handle them all fairly.
It's good, however, to designate a deadline so you know when you need to have an election-related letter in by, should you choose to write one. We want to have all these letters published by next Saturday, Nov. 2, so we will need to have them in hand by Thursday afternoon, Oct. 31.
Think of it this way: Make sure to get your letter in before the ghosts and zombies come knocking on your door for Halloween.
This is one of those years when there's no presidential or gubernatorial race, when it's all about local government - with the exception of six statewide referendum questions and a state Supreme Court justice race. Local government is critically important since its impact on your life is close to the ground: both in services, like plowing roads, and in taxes on property and purchases.
Some of this year's races are for pretty powerful positions. For instance, all seven seats on the Franklin County Board of Legislators are up for renewal, and those folks hold sway over property taxes, social services, road and bridge maintenance, economic development, tourism, North Country Community College and crime: public defense, prosecution, judge and jail.
Each legislator gets a full seventh of the decision-making authority over these things, making each notably more powerful than a lawmaker in neighboring Essex County, which has a board of 18 town supervisors instead of a separately elected legislature.
Three of the incumbents are running unopposed, including Paul Maroun of Tupper Lake, so there are four races, including two in the south end. There's a three-way race in District 7 (the towns of Harrietstown and Franklin) to replace Tim Burpoe, who's stepping down; Barb Rice, Ed Randig and Curt Reynolds are campaigning. In District 3, which covers Brighton, Duane, Bangor and part of Malone, Mark Besio is challenging incumbent Gordy Crossman.
The Enterprise has interviewed all five of these candidates, and next week we'll present unbiased profiles of them as well as editorials in which we may endorse a candidate for each district. Look for that.
We'll also give recommendations for voting on ballot propositions 2 and 3, and recap our advice for the other four. Next Saturday, we'll publish an in-depth report by Outdoors Writer Mike Lynch on the long and gnarly history that led to Prop. 4, which would settle a century-old land dispute in Raquette Lake.
There's also a lot of political action in our towns. Hot contests are underway for supervisor of the town of Tupper Lake and for town council seats in Tupper Lake, Harrietstown and Jay. Jay and Keene also have contests for highway superintendent, and Jay also has one for judge.
Plus, Franklin County residents will be asked to vote for either Kip Cassavaw or Cindy Gale for county clerk.
We won't make endorsements in the town, county clerk or state Supreme Court judge elections. We'd rather leave town choices up to townspeople, and we feel we don't have any notable insight on this year's clerk and judge candidates.
Sometimes we make endorsements, and sometimes we don't. In many races, by virtue of our position, we have more opportunity to get to know candidates than most people do. We feel that comes with a responsibility to offer some guidance. We see it as part of our greater duty to help local voters be informed about the decisions they're about to make.
Meanwhile, it's your duty to become informed, and then to vote. From the deepest core of our being, we urge you to do so.