by Winona Post Editor-in-chief Sarah Squires
If you don’t feel a bit bombarded with political election coverage, you are in the minority this time of year. It’s hard to recall a midterm election that garnered so much interest, national news coverage, and yes, in many cases, vitriol. We at the Post try to stick to the issues in our local news coverage, and right now we are busy carefully crafting questions for our General Election Voters Guide — a newspaper section featuring questions for candidates up and down the ballot so that you know where candidates stand on the issues that matter to you and your family.
We also include plenty of other election information in our pages leading up to the election, including on this page. This is your page, the place where your voice can reach out to 24,000 households (that’s a lot of people, and a lot of voters!) and share with them your feelings about the candidates and the issues. We do our best to include your thoughts, because choosing the right person for elected office is a community conversation, and we need to talk to one another about it.
There are a few reason that it can be challenging for newspapers, particularly local newspapers with large circulations like ours, to make room for political letters come election season. It comes down to just a couple pretty simple factors: Space and procrastination. For years, we have limited our endorsement letters to no more than 50 words, which many have complained about. We did that because so many letter writers wait until the last minute to send out their endorsements, and we end up with five or six newspaper pages worth of letters in the last week before a big race. This year, we found a compromise: You may write up to 200-word endorsements, but they must be delivered to our office no later than 10 days before the election; letters after that time will be restricted to no more than 50 words. This year, that deadline is this coming Saturday, so please, if you’d like to contribute to this community conversation, email me your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Saturday at midnight.
I also have a couple letters here that are much longer than the 200 word limit, and I’m working to reach out to you so we can include the portions that are most important to you. I really prefer to let the writer edit their letters to adhere to the word count limit, though I always end up frantically cutting late letters down to meet the rules as the last days approach. This year, friends, let’s take a gander at our slightly changed political letters policy (at right) and make sure that your voice is heard before the big day.
As always, thank you for being a part of our community of readers — and voters — who find the information they need to know in our pages, who contribute in countless ways to make the Post the go-to spot for local, political, and community news.