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Column: Campaign letter-writing season has begun

The election season has kicked into high gear. The National Republican Convention was last week. President Barack Obama and the Democrats have center stage this week.

Locally, candidates will start knocking on doors and appearing at forums and addressing civic clubs this month.

There are races for city, school, county, state and federal offices. In addition, there are school and city referendum questions and constitutional amendments on the ballot.

We anticipate receiving many, many letters. This means it's time to remind readers about the Republican Eagle's policy regarding election commentary:

• You may endorse a particular candidate or issue only once.

You may write several times endorsing different candidates, but be aware that if the volume of letters exceeds the space available, we will give priority to people writing for the first time. Your second or third letter, therefore, may not see print.

We believe that the more citizens who participate in democracy, the better.

• No letter should exceed 350 words. Keep letters short and to the point.

All letters will be edited for content, length and grammar. If space requires major trimming, a letter may appear in a longer version online at www.republican-eagle.com.

• Letters that add something to the debate have priority; we will edit letters that are repetitive.

For example: If four people write that candidate X's qualifications include having served on a planning commission, we may cut that statement after the first letter.

• We may group short letters from several people about the same candidate or issue under a single headline.

• Letters must be original. Form letters will be rejected.

• All election commentary must be signed. Include a daytime phone number so we can verify the authorship if necessary.

• Letters in response to paid advertising will not be accepted.

Write by Oct. 13 or 20

The deadline for letters that raise new issues is 5 p.m. Oct. 13. We will publish those promptly to enable people to respond by the final deadline, which is Oct. 20.

The deadlines are firm.

Endorsement letters will be published through Nov. 3. They will appear in the order received, taking into account the other policy guidelines listed here. We may publish some letters only online.

Here's a tip: To increase the odds your letter appears in print as well as online, send it early.

Local residents weighing in on local issues will have priority.

Candidates

Special rules apply to candidates.

They may not use the opinion page as free advertising space. They are limited to one letter stating their positions and views.

They have until Oct. 30 to submit that letter. We intend to run most of them Oct. 31 and Nov. 3, the final editions before Election Day.

However, candidates are free to respond by letter in the event someone takes them to task or misrepresents their views earlier in the campaign. This will not be considered their "vote for me" letter, provided the writer sticks to the issue at hand.

Please note that the R-E doesn't accept letters from candidates after the election thanking their supporters. Candidates will be directed to our advertising department.

The 2012 campaign looks to be intense.

We encourage citizens to get involved. Drum up support for your candidates of choice. Talk about the issues. Urge your friends and neighbors to vote.

And, of course, share your views by writing letters to the editor.

Anne Jacobson

Anne Jacobson has been editor of the Republican Eagle since December 2003. 

(651) 301-7870
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