Election Day is about a month away, but before then, many of us will have already cast ballots.

There is early voting, of course, and North Carolina allows any voter to request an absentee ballot by Oct. 27, which must be postmarked by Nov. 3 or returned in person by 5 p.m. that day.

While early voting won’t begin until mid-October, many North Carolinians, including many in the High Country, have already received their absentee ballots, and many will return them far in advance of the deadline. If you are a fully informed voter, or know based upon issues that some names on the ballot are, for you, deal-breaker candidates, an early mailing or return is prudent.

But for many of us, discretion is the better part of valor — and there is no more valorous act than voting. In other words, inform your vote by informing yourself about the candidates beyond the “R” or “D” or another initial of your choosing next to a name.

There are multiple and credible ways to do this. For local races, we will introduce many candidates in these pages. Debate performances, from municipal to national stages, are also an excellent avenue to get to know the people behind the names on the ballots. And there is your own research — surely we have more available information on candidates in our hip pocket than previous generations ever had in total.

Voting is important. But knowing who you’re voting for, and why, is more important. Inform your vote.

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