The mute button on my remote control is nearly worn out. My home mailbox runneth over with glossy campaign mailers. My email inbox overfloweth with subject lines like: “Please help us, Lisa,” and “Listen, I’m urging you.”

The INDY‘s endorsements are a way to cut through the noise, to read analyses of races that keep the greater good in mind. The process works like this: The news staff sends questionnaires to the candidates and conduct background research on them, including political experience, voting record, other endorsements and criminal background checks.

After we receive the completed questionnaires, the news staff discusses the pros and cons of each candidate. We judge the candidates on several criteria: experience, intelligence and their commitment to making the Triangle a more just and progressive place to live.

Then we vote on whom to endorse. Each news reporter writes a set of endorsements; however, these stories are not bylined because the endorsements represent the opinion of the INDY as an institution.

A quick note: Last month we held two candidates’ forums, which substituted for questionnaires in those races: In Wake County, commissioners in Districts 1, 2, 3 and 7; N.C. House 40 and 41; and State Senate 16 and 17. In Orange County, the forum featured commissioners’ candidates in District 1, plus N.C. 23, House 50 and House 56.

As to who is giving how much to whom, campaign finance reports for the third quarter aren’t due until Oct. 27, a little over a week before Election Day. We’ll blog the reportssometimes they take a while for the boards of election to process themthat week.

Read the questionnaires and view the forums available through INDY Week’s site.

Where to vote early

Early voting runs from Thursday, Oct. 23 to Saturday, Nov. 1. Here is a list of sites by county. Times differ daily; call ahead with questions (see clip-out voting guide, page 5)

Wake county

Board of Elections, 337 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh

Apex Community Center, 53 Hunter St., Apex

Chavis Community Center, 505 MLK Blvd., Raleigh

Herbert Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave., Cary

Knightdale Recreation Center, 102 Lawson Ridge Road, Knightdale

Lake Lynn Community Center, 7921 Ray Road, Raleigh

Northern Regional Center, 350 E. Holding Ave., Wake Forest

Optimist Community Center, 5900 Whittier Drive, Raleigh

Wake Tech Main Campus, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh

Durham county

Board of Elections, 201 N. Roxboro St.

N.C. Central University, student union building, 1801 Fayetteville St.

North Regional Library, 221 Milton Road

South Regional, 4505 S. Alston Ave.

Orange county

Board of Elections, 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough

Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro

Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

North Carolina Hillel, 210 W. Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill

Master’s Garden Preschool 7500 Schley Road, Hillsborough

northern/central Chatham County

Board of Elections, 984-E1 Thompson St., Pittsboro

Cole Park Plaza, Suite 232, 11470 U.S. 15-501 N., Chapel Hill