Bulletin policy on election-related letters to the editorLetters endorsing candidates or taking a position on an issue can help inform readers and foster a good discussion about what is important to local residents and the community. Here is our policy.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
The primary election has passed (there were no local races settled in the Aug. 14 election) and the Nov. 6 general election is just more than two months away.
With the number of election-related letters starting to pick up, this seemed a good time to lay out the ground rules we plan to use for the Opinion page during the campaign season.
Historically, Bulletin readers have been eager to share their views before heading to the voting booth, resulting in dozens and dozens of election-related Opinion page submissions in late summer and throughout fall. We hope that continues this year. Letters endorsing candidates or taking a position on an issue can help inform readers and foster a good discussion about what is important to local residents and the community.
With that in mind, before you drop a letter to the editor in the mail or email it to the newspaper, remember these guidelines:
-- We do not plan to publish more than one letter from a writer endorsing the same candidate or issue.
-- We won’t knowingly publish form letters. We want to hear from our readers. We’re not interested in talking points written by the campaigns and simply signed by supporters.
-- Our preference is to see letters from local readers. Out-of-town letters may be considered if they have local connections or focus on campaigns or races in this area.
-- Space on the Opinion page is tight during the crush of the campaign season, so the shorter the letter the better. We generally will stick to a 350-word limit for letters. Like all letters, we reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and style.
-- Voters often say they want candidates to talk about issues, not trash their opponents, and we’re hoping letter writers follow the same policy. Stick to issues, not personal attacks.
-- Rebuttal letters usually are accepted, but a continuing back-and-forth between two writers typically isn’t very beneficial for our readers.
-- Letters will be published in the order they are received. We will not publish new election-related letters after Oct. 24. We may allow rebuttals Oct. 31, but those cannot raise new issues.
We are striving for an Opinion page this campaign season that’s full of differing, thought-provoking views on candidates and the issues voters will face on Nov. 6.
Now, start writing.
Letters and other Opinion page submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the South Washington County Bulletin at 7584 80th St. S., Cottage Grove, MN 55016. Letters should include a name, address and phone number to verify the letter. If you have questions, email Scott Wente at email@example.com.