Today's Courier and Daily Comet include the first in a series of question-and-answer sessions with local candidates in the Oct. 12 elections.

The first two, which you'll also find online at houmatoday.com and dailycomet.com, cover races for Lafourche Parish Council. The newspapers sent questionnaires to all candidates in all of the local races that are contested, including Terrebonne and Lafourche councils, parish presidents, sheriffs and state legislators. We'll publish the responses before the elections to give voters an idea of where each candidate stands on the issues. We'll also include basic biographical information to help voters assess each candidate's qualifications.

Voters have a responsibility not just to show up at the polls but to cast an informed vote. Plenty of resources are available to help; here are a few:

• Read The Courier and the Daily Comet and their websites. We’ve already run stories about lots of the races and before election day will have covered every one of them. You won’t find more comprehensive coverage of the local elections anywhere. And you’ll find plenty of coverage of the statewide races in our newspapers and at media outlets all over the internet.

• Attend candidate forums and ask questions. The Courier and Daily Comet have covered all of the local debates and will publicize upcoming forums so you can attend.

• You can find Q&As with candidates for governor at the Council for a Better Louisiana's website, cabl.org. The nonpartisan, independent group sent questionnaires to all of the candidates and will post them as they are returned.

• If you’re unsure which polling place you’ll go to, which council or legislative district you live in or want a look at the ballot in your specific precinct, visit the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website at geauxvote.com.

• Most candidates have websites or at least Facebook pages that are worth checking, with the understanding that they won’t tell you anything the candidate doesn’t want you to know. If you’re looking for a no-spin zone, this is not it. These online outlets usually include phone numbers or email addresses that will allow you to ask the candidates questions directly. Any candidate who fails to respond or can’t offer specific answers to your questions should raise a red flag in your mind. The same is true for candidates who routinely fail to show up for debates or won’t answer pointed questions from the media on your behalf.

• The Courier and Daily Comet welcome letters in support or opposition to candidates and issues. To be considered for publication, election-related letters must arrive in our offices by Oct. 1 and will not be published after Oct. 8. This long-standing policy aims to avoid last-minute letters or letter-writing campaigns that might unduly impact the election.

The people who will be elected to these seats will shape the future of our community for years to come. Do your homework and make sure your voice is heard at the ballot box.

-- Editorials represent the view of this newspaper and not any single individual.