By Chad Koenen
Filing is underway for a number of local school board and city council positions in the area. With that, we are also beginning to field a number of questions from candidates about our policy regarding letters to the editor and a voters guide leading up to the election.
Though I haven’t seen any political signs for local elections yet, I don’t doubt that the first few signs will begin sprinkling the area in the near future.
Regarding our election policies, I’ll make this brief as our policy has been the same for the better-part of a decade, but if you have questions let me know and I can definitely expand upon this if necessary.
• We do not charge for political endorsement letters. While most newspapers charge to run endorsement letters, we feel it is important for voters to hear why you support a candidate. That being said, the letters are run on a first come, first serve basis by writers in our immediate reading area, or by residents with ties to the area. Not that we don’t care what you think in Alexandria, Minn., for example, but we want to hear from the people in our own backyard. If we have too many endorsement letters for one week we will hold your letter for another week. If you want to ensure a political endorsement letter runs in the newspaper on a certain week you are able to purchase an ad.
• Believe it or not we do read the political letters to the editor and if it appears the letter is a form letter drafted by a campaign and simply given to a supporter to sign, we may not run it in the newspaper. Trust me, it happens more than you think.
• All letters to the editor must be signed by the writer with the town in which they reside and a contact number in case we have a question.
• Letters to the editor will be fact checked to the best of our ability.
• The final week for a letter to the editor concerning the election will be two weeks before the election, or Tuesday, Oct. 18. The week of October 25 will be reserved for responses only, for letters to the editor that appeared in our October 18 issue. We do not want new issues raised without giving a candidate a chance to respond the week before the election. If you want to purchase an ad to tell people why they should vote for you the week before the election, we would be happy to visit with you about some affordable options.
• Speaking of advertising, letters to the editor concerning election issues will not be allowed by a candidate, unless it is a paid advertisement. If a letter to the editor is paid for by a candidate, it will be noted as such in the newspaper. Any candidate who would like to visit about this further can feel free to give me a call whenever you like.
• Speaking of signs, yes we can print them so give us a call at 548-5585 and I would be happy to get you a quote. We have printed campaign signs in other communities in which we operate newspapers.
• Our deadlines for letters to the editors is Friday at noon.
• We will also print a voter’s guide leading up to the election in which we ask candidates running for office a series of questions to print in the newspaper. This will come out sometime in middle to late October.