NELDON: Ensuring fairness in the upcoming election

As another election cycle heats up, several seats long held by incumbent officials are now opening up due to term limits, and we have some contested races.

Months before voters enter the polls, Leader Publications has already received multiple endorsement letters and invitations to political rallies and meet and greets. I have been impressed with the participation in local government this cycle — especially considering the unprecedented events we are experiencing.

With the pandemic at the forefront of everyone’s minds, many have asked how local elections will be impacted in 2020 — a big election year at both the local and national level. There is a lot to be determined, and we are committed to providing this information to you as quickly as decisions are made.

In the meantime, I find it worthwhile to remind those running for office (and those supporting candidates) of our election policy. As always, we are committed to facilitating a fair and balanced discussion, ensuring all candidates are featured equally. As the election nears, look forward to a full guide to the upcoming election.

Our election policy is as follows:

• No candidate running for office will be allowed to write guest columns or letter to the editor after the filing deadline. This includes incumbents who are regular contributors to the newspaper.

• Letters from supporters or endorsing a candidate must be received at least three weeks prior to an election (July 14 for primary), and we will cease publishing them at least one week prior (July 28 for primary).

• Submissions that are easily proven to be form letters instead of the author’s own words will not be printed. Leader Publications reserves the right to reject any letter that does not meet standard guidelines for submissions.

• All political ads must be approved by general manager Ambrosia Neldon and may require substantiation of claims. All ads that challenge or target an opponent will be cut off at least one week prior (July 29 for primary) to the election after a targeted candidate has the chance to respond if they so choose.

• Leader Publications’ news coverage will be driven by consistency. We will do a race preview prior to the election and provide news coverage of the results. Campaign stops, public events and candidate forums will be evaluated on their news impact to the public. Brief information announcing events will be added to our community calendar.

• The newspaper will not cover private or party fundraisers.

We encourage readers to share their views on candidates of their choosing by writing letters to the editor. Letters may be submitted via email to news@leaderpub.com, via the leaderpub.com website under the “Services” tab. Letters must not attack another person, and contact information for letter signers must be included in the email. Letters must not exceed 300 words. A full copy of our Letters to the Editor policy can be found at leaderpub.com.

I welcome any questions about this policy, and would be happy to answer them via email at ambrosia.neldon@leaderpub.com, or over the phone at (269) 687-7770.

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