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Election season calls for policies

With 146 important days ahead of us, it’s time to dust off a few long-standing policies here at the newspaper.

Twenty-six candidates in Adams County and three in Vidalia are actively campaigning for votes, and it’s the community newspaper’s job to provide as much information as possible in the fairest manner.

Each candidate has the opportunity to buy advertising in the newspaper to share their platforms and goals, but everything that is not a paid political advertisement will fall under one of the following policies.

Political announcements

Each candidate may submit a political announcement and photo to introduce himself to the community.

We will publish one announcement per candidate for free.

Announcements must be 300 words or less and will be published only on page 2A in the Sunday editions.

No announcements will be published the week of the election

An announcement can include biographical information, experience and qualifications and platform points.

Our staff may edit any announcement for style, clarity, grammar and length.

Letters to the editor

Readers, including friends and family of the candidates, are invited to write letters to the editor about the upcoming race.

Our only rule — play nicely.

We will publish letters in favor of one specific candidate, but we will not publish letters bashing another candidate.

We will only publish letters containing provable facts and character opinions, not speculation or untruths.

We will not publish letters from the candidates themselves.

No election letters will be published in the seven days prior to the election or on Election Day.

Top of the Mornings and other columns

Candidates will not be allowed to write Top of the Mornings or guest columns on any topic during the election season.

Extension Service Director David Carter’s weekly column published in the Sunday Style section by will end after this week. We’ll certainly miss Carter’s gardening tips, but since he is running for public office it wouldn’t be fair to continue publishing his name and face each week.

We are working with several other sources to continue to provide a gardening column to our readers.

News stories

Our reporting staff will work to provide voters with as much information as they can about each and every candidate, but will only present facts, not opinions.

Closer to the election — in mid to late July — the newspaper will publish news stories profiling each candidate, discussing their platforms and asking them important questions.

Questions and concerns about the qualifications, honesty and integrity of any candidates will be addressed through news stories as concerns are brought to us.

Our news staff will always give the candidate an opportunity to speak through their stories.

Opinions

Closer to the elections, the newspaper’s editorial board will conduct in-depth interviews with each willing candidate in most of the major races. After giving candidates a chance to explain their goals and answer the board’s questions, the editorial board will make endorsements in the races on the Opinion page of the newspaper.

If you have questions about any of the policies listed above, or if you have questions for any candidates, please let me know.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

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