It’s a horse that’s been beaten nearly to death in recent years: Americans don’t get involved enough in the political process. That’s why anything that increases public participation in elections is a positive step, and that includes early voting.
But from a coverage standpoint early voting has made it difficult to judge when to do certain types of political reporting and it can lead to some interesting editorial discussions. For example, do you run profiles on each candidate before early voting starts --- meaning a month before an election -- or do you wait until the week before the actual election? Or try and split the difference?
There are pros and cons to each. Running profiles on candidates a month before an election seems a bit premature, particularly when so much can happen in the weeks before election day. And with our national attention span so short, anything printed too early is likely to be soon forgotten.
But waiting until the issue before an election can leave voters with more questions than answers. What’s more, a significant amount of the voting public may already have cast their ballots.
That’s why we decided this year to "split the difference," meaning we will run profiles on candidates by the end of June. We believe that as July nears, many voters will begin to tune into what’s going on with regard to local politics.
To that end, candidates for local seats will soon be getting questionnaire’s from the Bryan County News. Our hope is that candidates fill them out and return them to us promptly. But before we send our questions to candidates, we’d like to know if you have any questions you want to ask of the candidates. If you do, please submit them to us by 5 p.m. Friday. You can drop them off at our offices in Pembroke or Richmond Hill, or you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.