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Some guidelines for election letters - The Galveston County Daily News : Editorials

November 27, 2014

Some guidelines for election letters

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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:00 am

Longtime readers know The Daily News loves to publish letters from readers — especially about contested elections. But we do have a few guidelines, and with the May 10 elections coming up, we thought we’d put out a reminder.

First, we don’t publish letters about candidates on election day.

Every year, we get a few letters at the last minute, making horrible accusations against some candidates.

It’s too late to try to verify the truth of those accusations. Printing those accusations at that late date would be a disservice, not only to the candidates, but to the voters who have done their best to make an informed choice.

Second, while we do invite candidates to write guest columns on issues of broad public interest, we don’t have room to run dozens of guest columns on each candidate’s vision for office.

For example, we’re planning to publish a guest column from a candidate for Galveston City Council about the wisdom of permitting beachside construction — a hot topic on the island. This candidate’s opponent will be allowed to reply. And other candidates who have strong views on interesting topics are invited to weigh in. But we do not publish general “candidate statements” that tell about candidates’ good deeds and volunteer records. We discontinued those years ago at the suggestion of readers, who found they served the candidates but not the readers who wanted to cast an informed vote.

Instead, we run the candidates’ questionnaires online at galvnews.com. The questions should be posted online this week, and each candidate who has checked in with The Daily News will get an email notice with instructions.

Third, we do not accept lengthy guest columns from readers endorsing candidates.

The problem is space — we just don’t have room to print all of them. We accept letters of up to 200 words endorsing candidates.

Finally, the deadline for submitting letters is 11 a.m. May 6. But we hope you’ll write soon.

Each year, some people wait until the last minute to write. And, if we get 100 letters on the last day and have room for only five, many will be left out.

We love getting and publishing letters. That passion about local politics makes “Word on the Street” one of the best-read features in the newspaper.

If you have views about candidates and issues in this election, we’d love to hear from you.

Calling all candidates

If you are a candidate in a contested city council, school board or special taxing district election, please send your email address to tjaulds@galvnews.com to participate in The Daily News’ election questionnaires.