You don’t need us to remind you that an election is nearing — you’ve seen the political signs dotting the roadways of Douglas County and beyond.
You might like to know how we’re approaching this election season, however, and some important deadlines.
First of all, the deadline to register to vote is April 29. We’ve seen a significant drop in the number of registered voters in Douglas County in recent years and that concerns us. We see voting as an important right in this country and we encourage people to utilize it.
If you’ve moved and haven’t updated your registration, please do so. It’s easy to do online by going to the Secretary of State’s website: sos.oregon.gov. Or pick up an application at the Douglas County Clerk’s Office.
As usual, News-Review reporters are interviewing the local candidates who have opponents in their bid for political office. From those interviews, they write stories about each race, offering the candidates’ viewpoints on various issues of local significance.
The first of these election stories appears today with a comprehensive look at the seven candidates for Douglas County commissioner. Our goal is to provide initial coverage of all local candidates and measures by May 2, which is the same day ballots will be dropped in the mail. Look for a story on the county assessor’s race next Sunday.
The News-Review Editorial Board also has been hosting meetings with candidates at our office to get to know the individuals better and determine who we might endorse in the various races. Our goal is to publish all the endorsements we intend to make by May 6.
In endorsing candidates, we don’t mean to tell you how to vote. We simply want to offer our opinion on the best candidate for the job.
Because we have more access to the candidates, are familiar with the requirements for public office and we write about the issues facing Douglas County residents on a daily basis, we believe we have insight that could be helpful when deciding on candidates.
You may have different views of the candidates that you want to share with us and we welcome those opinions as well. As faithful readers have noticed, we’ve been printing letters for weeks regarding the election. If you haven’t written yet, we encourage you to submit your election letters soon. We strive to publish all the letters that meet our guidelines, so keep them civil and under 300 words — shorter is even better this time of year — and get them to us by May 9. We cannot guarantee that letters received after that date will be published prior to the election. If we get flooded with election letters, we’ll add extra space to accommodate them.
Among the letters or guest columns, you may see submissions from candidates. The News-Review’s policy is to allow one letter or one guest column from each candidate during the primary election season. Those who advance to the general election will have one more opportunity for an opinion piece. Their submissions are restricted because candidates can’t use the Public Forum for free advertising. But we don’t want to squelch their opinions on pertinent local issues entirely or prohibit them from responding to a news story or a letter to the editor, so we offer a compromise.
Letters can be sent to me via email, through the submission form on our website: nrtoday.com/letter and by U.S. mail, or drop them off at our office. If you have the option, please consider sending them electronically. That allows for the simplest and fastest processing of your letter. We verify the identity of letter writers, so if more than a week has passed since you submitted a letter and you haven’t heard from us, check your phone and email messages. If we haven’t contacted you, please check with us to see that we received your letter.
Looking ahead, the county clerk’s office will release the first election results shortly after the last ballots are submitted at 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 20. That’s when our news staff gets busy again shooting photos and interviewing candidates. We’ll post election results as soon as they are available on our website, nrtoday.com. That will be the place to learn who will advance to the general election. Full results and stories will appear in The News-Review on May 21.
News-Review Editor Vicki Menard welcomes your questions and comments about the Opinion page and our election coverage. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-957-4203.