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Bulletin editorial: Want to write on ballot issues? Here are the guidelines

The clock is ticking toward Election Day in south Washington County, where voters will consider three District 833 referendum questions and select five School Board members. St. Paul Park voters also will fill two City Council seats on Nov. 5.

If you're looking to be engaged in the political process through letters to the editor — and we hope you are — be sure to note the following rules, which take effect for all campaign-related letters received beginning this week:

-- Letters to the editor must be no longer than 350 words. Some people argue they can't make their point in that amount of space. You can. If you can't, we'll edit them for space.

School Board and City Council candidates will be allowed to submit a viewpoint in the following weeks and respond to letters to the editor if they wish.

-- We won't publish more than one letter from a writer endorsing the same candidate or ballot measure. This allows for as many writers to weigh in as possible.

Please note: writers can submit rebuttal letters, which will not be considered additional endorsement letters. Also note that the Bulletin reserves the right to pull the plug on recurring arguments played out through letters. Remember that getting in the last word is not necessarily synonymous with adding to an informed discussion.

-- Deadlines: To allow rebuttals, letters raising new issues will not be published if received after Friday, Oct. 18. The final deadline for all other letters will be one week before our last publication heading into the election. That date is Friday, Oct. 25.

As Election Day gets closer, newspapers tend to see a much higher letter volume. Know that we may edit letters for space in those closing weeks to accommodate as many submissions as possible.

-- When writing, be sure to keep your focus on the candidates and the issues. This isn't the place for personal attacks. Our hope is that the Bulletin's opinion pages will be a place for respectful, thought-provoking debate — not petty sniping.

We encourage you to participate in the process by adding to the discussion. The idea here, as always, is to provide a robust forum open to all voices.

Email letters to Editor Scott Wente at Mail submissions can be sent to 7584 80th St., Cottage Grove, MN 55016. Writers should include their name, city of residence and a phone number for verification.

Got questions? Email Wente at