If you’re feeling the same way I am, it seems we just came through an election cycle and now it’s upon us again. Typically in an election year such as this when there are no federal or state elected officials running, there are fewer votes, less voter input and less community voice being exercised. Think about the election at hand - what is it for and who does it serve? Fast forward 10 years and imagine wondering whether we did a good job electing the right people in these seats. Now is the time to put Election Day on your calendar. Read up on each candidate and be prepared to vote. Our Voters’ Guide, which includes candidate profiles, will be published in the Sept. 21 issue of the Quad Community Press.
As your local newspaper, our goal during the election is to give you information about the candidates running to make an informed decision. Those who are running for city council and school board positions hold a variety of different views on the issues that are important to you. I am hopeful the community will be civil in this election. Candidates are our neighbors, friends, and former classmates, and a local election should not involve fights over national politics. We all need to be focus at a local level. I’m asking you to vote for who you believe will do the best good job in your community. It doesn’t matter what political side they are on. What matters is if you believe they will make the right decisions that benefit the community now and well into the future.
If you head south for the winter you will be able to cast your vote by absentee ballot, and can check out our candidate profiles on our website at presspubs.com. We have been publishing the guide for years and provide the most comprehensive candidate profiles in the area. Share it with your family and friends. Be informed and get out to vote.
Paid letters to the editor
A few years ago we put into play another level of transparency in the weeks leading up to an election - a new requirement for political endorsement letters. Both positive and negative letters about candidates or ballot issues needed to be accompanied by a $25 payment for 350 words. We label these letters in the paper as paid letters to the editor for the benefit of our readers.
For years our newsroom sifted through the ugly battle that comes during an election. Political campaigners have put enormous amounts of stress on our team with letter campaigns. Something had to be done with these letter campaigns. Our staff has reported campaigns submitting letters to the editor on behalf of a reader, or even passing out sample letters at city council meetings for people to submit. We have had situations where letters are signed by a group or multiple people and when we ask, the individuals are not aware that they were endorsing the candidate. These letters are not authentic opinions of our readers. We needed to find a way to make sure political endorsement, or non-endorsement, letters that are submitted are actually from readers who are willing to back them up with a nominal payment.
I’m so thankful we implemented this level of transparency for our community and our readers. We also believe it levels the playing field and provides greater fairness to all candidates. Our opinion pages should reflect our readers opinions, not be filled with propaganda from candidates who have the best-organized letter to the editor (“LTE”) campaigns. For those readers who have called or e-mailed us to express concerns about these election-season guidelines, or even requested a refund of their voluntary subscription, I ask you to find out more about your candidate’s LTE campaigns versus killing the messenger (the local paper).
For those of you out there who support this next level of transparency, I seek your support in subscriptions. I seek candidates to share their platforms in advertising so we can continue to produce a quality newspaper that reflects the community where we work, learn, live, play and raise our families.
Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.