While most voters focus their attention on the presidential race in the run-up to Election Day, it is often lesser-known state and local officials who make the decisions that most affect everyday lives of Hoosiers.
For the most part, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney will be deciding whether Lake County has public transportation, whether a child's private school tuition will be paid by the state, whether Gary gets a land-based casino or the amount of a local residents' tax bill.
Those issues will be be fought and decided by Indiana's new governor, state legislators, school board members and county leaders, all of whom are on the ballots Northwest Indiana residents will cast Nov. 6.
The Times has compiled a Voters Guide to help you pick the candidates you believe will best represent your interests.
The guide profiles the candidates for office, lists area polling places and features sample ballots for voters in Lake and Porter counties.
It also includes a closer look at some of the issues at stake.
The Voters Guide begins on page E1.