Rules for political letters

Published 6:55 am Friday, October 12, 2018


The Advocate-Messenger

As Election Day nears, we want to restate our policies concerning elections and this opinion page. Our goal is always to be fair to all candidates and the larger communities they hope to serve. We want to be transparent about that fairness and up-front about why we have made certain decisions.

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Boyle County is an incredibly politically active county, as demonstrated not only by the large numbers of citizens who attend government meetings compared to other communities, but by the number of you who write letters to the editor. We love letters to the editor and believe they are an important, even essential part of healthy, local elections.

In order to accommodate the large number of letters we are receiving, we must set a cut-off date for accepting letters concerning the election. We will be accepting letters to the editor through Wednesday, Oct. 24. The normal limits of two letters per month per person and cap of 400 words per letter still apply.

Letters will be published in the order they are received. We will stop publishing letters in print after Oct. 31.

We listened to readers and candidates earlier this year when you said you didn’t like a new policy prohibiting any and all letters to the editor from political candidates. We have since been allowing letters from candidates as long as they are not about the election or campaign, and as long as they serve a purpose other than creating exposure for the candidate.

In the final weeks of the election, we will be reinstituting the prohibition on candidate letters. No letters from candidates will be accepted after Oct. 17, and none will be published after Oct. 20. Any letters submitted by candidates that meet the requirements for publication will appear in order with the rest of the letters to the editor.

We believe these policies are fair. They allow our opinion pages to serve as a “public square” of ideas without giving any one person preferential treatment.

We encourage everyone to participate in this year’s election and to continue participating — in your community and on the opinion page — after the votes have been counted.