VALLEY DISPATCH STAFF, It’s that time of year again — election season. The time when residents can have the greatest impact on their communities, if they are willing to take a few moments to learn about the issues and to cast their ballots.

Both Methuen and Dracut voters are facing important elections next month. Two candidates — Ellen M. Bahan and William M. Manzi III — are vying for the office of mayor in Methuen during the Nov. 8 election. There are also races for three city councilor at-large seats and two council positions in the East, West and Central districts.

Methuen has seven candidates for School Committee and three running for the Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical High School Committee, as well as contested races on several other boards.

In Dracut, Kenneth Cunha and Philippe Thibault are vying for one seat on the Board of Selectmen in the town’s Nov. 1 special election.

Although presidential elections always have the highest voter turnout, residents can actually have more impact on their communities by voting in local elections. The winners of those contests make decisions on local bylaws, neighborhood developments and business growth.

We encourage Methuen and Dracut residents to cast their ballots during their November elections.