Filing end means election letter policy now in effect

Now that filing for candidacy of local offices has ended (see related stories in the news section of this newspaper), once again, guidelines for political letters will go into effect. They are slightly different than the guidelines for other letters since the volume of letters around election time usually increases.

The usual guidelines for letters still apply: Full name, address and phone number are required for verification; only one letter will be published from a person every 30 days; form letters sent out in mass are not accepted; letters will appear in the next available edition depending on space limitations; and preference is given to local residents writing about local issues.

The guidelines for political letters in all of the newspapers that make up the Bluff Country Newspaper Group:

• Letters are requested to be limited to 250 words. Submissions that deal with specific issues may be allowed over the limit, but in most cases the letters must have fewer than 250 words.

• A deadline has been set at noon Thursday for letters in all newspapers for the upcoming week. 

• No letters from candidates will be published unless it is to rebut a specific charge in a previous letter published in a newspaper of the Bluff Country Newspaper Group. 

• The last election letters will appear in the editions of Oct. 24 and 25 for the midweek publications and Oct. 29 for the Bluff Country Reader. The last editions before the Nov. 6 election will be free of political letters unless there is the rare case that a new charge has been brought up in the final week of letters. Candidates will have an opportunity to respond in the issue before the election so they can address any new accusations.

Although several newspapers, such as the Rochester Post Bulletin, have started charging or denying publication of endorsement letters, this newspaper will continue to run them free of charge as long as they are from local people. Constituents who want to put their name behind a candidate may be of interest to local voters.

Also, political advertisements must identify who is purchasing the space to aid in transparency for people deciding on the validity of the political message.