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June 20, 2019

Election Publication Policy

It will be a busy primary season.

We called it Feast or Famine in Monday’s article. In some races, such as Franklin Regional and Greensburg Salem school boards, there are double the candidates for the seats available. While in Trafford and Delmont, there aren’t enough names on the ballots, even Republican and Democrat combined, to fill all the seats in November.

As in the past, this newspaper will continue to support the election process by allowing Letters to the Editor and publish our Candidates Editions. Both services are offered free of charge to the candidate or letter author, so we must continue to limit the size of those submissions. We, of course, welcome paid advertisement by any candidates or groups supporting or opposing a candidate or topic of the election. We do encourage anyone advertising, with us or in any other form, to review and follow all the campaign advertising rules and reporting requirements. We intend to follow them.

For our Candidates Editions, we welcome statements from any candidate in a locally contested race. Those races are: Franklin Regional School Director (Dem. & Rep., 4 year seat only), Greensburg Salem School Director (Dem. & Rep.), Penn Township Commissioner, 1st, 3rd and 5th wards (Rep. only), and Manor Council (Rep. only). On the off chance we have space available, candidates for contested county level and the state senate race will be accepted and published, space available.

Statements can be no more than 250 words (as tallied by our software) and include a recent photo. Statement must be submitted by the candidate or person designated by the candidate. Notice of this service will only be provided through this newspaper, no mail or email reminders. So candidates should mark their calendars and supporters of candidates should remind them.

Those 33 candidate statements could fill half a dozen pages in our paper. To ensure we have space to run the pages, the various races will need to be published in different issues. Specific deadlines for submission will be announced once any candidates’ nights or forums are set. We prefer to publish the statements before those events to better inform the voters who plan to attend them. We encourage candidates to submit a statement as soon as possible, the election will be upon us before anyone realizes.

For Letters to the Editor, we will be enforcing our Election Season policy. Any local voter may submit one letter per contested race in their district. Letters should be to the point and may not directly attack anyone or include anyone not involved in the election process. Author must submit name, address and phone number for verification. Support of any claims must be provided. High ranking officials in election campaigns or political parties may NOT submit letters supporting the candidate(s) they are working with, and candidates may not submit letters except to reply to a comment the editor agrees is directed at them.

All candidates are encouraged to submit direct contact information, phone, email and postal mail, so we may contact them if a letter is eligible for a response. While we don’t put a specific limit on words for letters, we reserve the right to edit any and all submissions and limit or reject letters that repeat a topic already addressed in another letter. We won’t accept letters that require to be published ‘as submitted’ and won’t accept a date to publish the letter. Letters will be published on a space available basis, so those submitted near the election may not be considered. Additional policies regarding letters, political or in general, are still in effect and the editor’s decision is final.

We hope the candidates are running for office for more than one topic, and voters should use the statements and letters, along with any advertising and personal encounters, to find the candidates who will best represent them on all (or most) of the issues that elected official will face.

A total of 59 people filed petitions for offices in our area (as of last week, before withdraws or challenges) for 45 seats. That 45 means 90 names should be moved forward to the general election ballot, a Republican and Democrat for each race. Quick math shows there will be blank spots on the ballot in May. This is where the write-in will come into play. In some races a candidate on one party may lock up a race by also winning the write-in race for the other party, or a losing candidate or someone who didn’t file a petition can take the race to the November election. Voters should look for candidates, either running on the other party or not on the ballot at all, to fill any empty spots.

Letters supporting write-in candidates will be considered, but write-in candidates will not considered for the Candidates Editions.

Once the candidate list is finalized and the ballot is set, we will publish a listing showing the candidates and open spots.

This newspaper believes in the voters selecting the best candidate for them through informed decisions. We do not support any candidate or party.