At last week’s vice presidential debate, Democratic candidate Joe Biden wasn’t overstating the case when he said the 2008 election is the most important of our lives. Doggone it, you betcha it is.

Given readers’ requests and the gravity of this year’s races, the Indy is modifying its endorsements schedule to better coincide with early voting.

Historically, our endorsements issue has been published a week after early voting begins and almost two weeks prior to Election Day. We have done this because our editorial staff needs time to finish its research and attend as many candidate forums and speeches as possible.

However, this year, we will unveil our endorsements in stagesin print and onlinebeginning Oct. 15. Early voting runs Oct. 16 through Nov. 1.

Next week’s print issue will include our take on the Durham County meals tax referendum. In the days following, we will roll out some, but not all, of our endorsements at, along with candidate questionnaires for the respective races.

Here is the online schedule:

  • Oct. 16: District judges, soil and water district supervisors
  • Oct. 17: N.C. Supreme Court and appeals court judges
  • Oct. 20: U.S. Senate, state auditor, state treasurer, state attorney general
  • Oct. 21: N.C. House and Senate

On Oct. 22, we’ll publish our endorsements issue, in which we’ll print all of our endorsementsthose previously posted online, plus ones not previously disclosed. We will also include a handy clip-out voting guide.

Endorsements always generate animated, even heated, conversation. In addition to Back Talk, our letters to the editor feature, you can join the political fray by posting a comment on any story at

In several states, there already has been voting hanky-panky: Until a news report in the Michigan Messenger, an online publication, and the subsequent public outcry, the Michigan GOP had planned to challenge the voting eligibility of people whose homes had been foreclosed, claiming those people were no longer residents of their respective towns.

Who knows what pernicious intimidation tactics are in store for voters? Arm yourself with the facts: This week through Oct. 29, we’re running a “Know Your Voting Rights” guide, which lays out your legal rights, debunks several voting myths, and lists phone numbers in case you believe you have been illegally denied the right to vote, or if you feel you have been intimidated or discriminated against at the polls.

Remember, you can register to vote and cast your ballot on the same day during early voting. However, you cannot register to vote on Election Day.

And regardless of your political persuasion, take time to vote. Absolutely. Yup, yup.