Guidelines to follow for election letters

Labor Day has come and gone. The kids are back in school. The weather, with those occasional cool crisp mornings, is starting to feel like fall.

All of that can mean only one thing: Election season has arrived once again in Polk County.

Candidates and their supporters are starting to place campaign signs throughout the area. And soon they’ll be out pounding the pavement drumming up support for their candidacy for the Nov. 4 general election.

It's going to be a busy election season. Locally, we will be selecting a Polk County Commissioner for Position 2. Mayors and city councilors will be chosen in Dallas, Falls City, Independence and Monmouth. There are school bonds and levies in Dallas and Falls City. And there are state candidates as well as statewide ballot issues to debate.

These topics — and many more — will be addressed by writers submitting “Letters to the Editor” to the Itemizer-Observer during the next eight weeks.

Writers who would like to submit a letter endorsing a candidate or wanting to take a stand on an issue are welcome to do so. But a word of caution: please follow the I-O’s longstanding Letters to the Editor policy.

ALL election letters are limited to 100 words — no exceptions. If your subject is related in any way to an issue or candidate on the ballot, you get 100 words.

The 100-word limit not only encourages letters and dialogue, but allows for the publication of as many different viewpoints from as many people as possible. The amount of news space available to publish letters is limited each week and is another reason for limiting the length to 100 words. The 100-word limit also makes the messages more effective — a point succinctly made is much more likely to be read and remembered by the people you are trying to influence.

Form letters, or letters written by someone else and signed by you, will be automatically rejected. Authors must reside within the district they are writing about, and no letters from outside of Polk County will be published. All letters must be original submissions to the I-O.

One final reminder about our policy concerning election letters: once you have written and we have published your letter, we will not accept any additional political letters from you during the current election season.

All letters must be submitted by 10 a.m. on Mondays to be considered for publication. Not all letters submitted are published — that is usually due to not following the guidelines or because they are libelous in nature — and due to those space limitations previously mentioned, some letters may be held until the following week’s newspaper.

We look forward to sharing your views about candidates and issues during this election season.

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