Thursday, Oct. 20 is the first day of early voting.

Those who want to quit worrying about the election can vote Thursday or Friday, Oct. 21 and get that out of the way.  All 15 early voting sites in Guilford County will be closed on Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 23 but reopen on Monday, Oct. 24.

The bad news about early voting is that even after you vote, you still have to deal with all the campaign advertisements and commercials.  Wouldn’t it be sweet if after you voted all those ads magically went away?

The ballot for the Nov. 8 election isn’t as long as it looks because, on the composite ballot, there are nine uncontested races, which means as long as those candidates remember to vote for themselves, they win.  No voter will receive a composite ballot at the polls because it includes all the races in Guilford County, so all nine uncontested races won’t be on any voter’s ballot but some of them will be.

The top of the ballot usually drives voter turnout, and since this is a midterm election there is no presidential race or even a gubernatorial race at the top of the ballot.  However, there is a hotly contested race for an open US Senate seat where the two candidates, Republican 13th District Congressman Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the NC Supreme Court, have spent millions on advertising – so that should drive voter turnout.

All Guilford County voters are now in the 6th Congressional District and Democrat 6th District Congresswoman Kathi Manning is being challenged by Republican Christian Castelli.

There are two seats on the NC Supreme Court on the ballot as well as four seats on the NC Court of Appeals.

All the seats in the state House and state Senate are up for election, which means each voter has the opportunity to vote for one state senator and one member of the state House.

None of the candidates for Guilford County District Court judge have an opponent and neither do Guilford County District Attorney Avery Michelle Crump or Guilford County Clerk of Superior Court Lisa Johnson-Tonkins.

There are five races for Guilford County commissioner up for election, including the at-large seat, which will be on all the Guilford County ballots.

There are also five seats up for election on the Guilford County Board of Education including the at-large seat.

The race for Guilford County sheriff where Democrat Sheriff Danny Rogers is being challenged by Republican Phil Byrd is almost at the bottom of the ballot.

It is followed by the lone nonpartisan race on the ballot soil and water conservation district supervisor.