Column: Election season hits the letters page

Mar. 09, 2014 @ 01:44 AM

Election season has barely begun, but the letters to the editor and phone calls tell me that primary season may be a rough one for local races.

That makes this a good time to brush up on the News-Topic’s guidelines for election-related letters.

Letters of endorsement or criticism of candidates are allowed, but the last time we will print them before the May 6 primary election will be Sunday, April 27. Letters from candidates will not be printed unless they are rebutting criticism.

After April 27, the only election-related letters that we will print will be those rebutting criticism that has not previously been rebutted.

Ideally, we will not print endless rehashing of previously made criticism anyway. There is a tendency in argument about political topics – whether in online forums or in presidential debates – for each side to try endlessly to get the last word without saying anything new. I know it seems extremely important to the arguers, but to observers it’s nothing but two adults doing a children’s “Yes you did,” “No I didn’t” routine.

You might ask, why can’t candidates write letters that aren’t rebutting criticism? The answer is that we will have news coverage on issues. If candidates feel those don’t address adequately the issues they wish to stress, they can take out advertising, but we won’t be providing free ads in the form of letters.