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It’s October, must mean campaign letters

Each October, there are a few things that can be counted on like clockwork.

The temperature takes a dip, World Series champions are crowned and the days get noticeably shorter.

But there’s something else.

Campaign letters.

Over the coming days letters to the editor will appear on this page, telling readers why their candidate is the the best choice and how the world will fall apart if they’re not elected.

Funny, after more elections than I care to remember, the world keeps turning even after some candidates bite the dust.

But this forum gives readers an opportunity to give their case about why a candidate has the qualifications, experience or just plain ol’ common sense enough to hold a particular office.

Despite some of the propaganda that’s sure to appear, it’s important for a newspaper to give readers this opportunity to put in their two cents.

My opinion has always been that readers are savvy enough to differentiate the genuine letter writer versus the one encouraged to do so by a party or a political candidate.

There are a few rules, besides the ones already noted on this page, that letter writers should be aware of.

First, form letters on non-local races that come from authors outside the coverage area will be dismissed, unless it deals with a specific local issue.

We’re not that concerned about what a letter writer from Modesto, Calif., thinks about Barack Obama’s health care plan or John McCain’s foreign policy.

Newspaper editors across Ohio are probably as sick as I am of getting letters from around the country because those writers know how key this state is in the election.

I’m pretty sure those people have a daily newspaper in their backyards where they can have their voices heard. But not here.

One of the most important rules is for authors to keep it clean. Personal attacks will not be published. Stick to the issues or other pertinent, validated information on the issues.

Information that cannot be verified will be removed and could result in the the letter being denied altogether. If there are accusations made about a candidate, proper documentation should be provided when necessary.

Writers are entitled to their opinions, but they are not entitled to a false or exaggerated representation of facts.

Lastly, any letter to the editor regarding political races — national, state or local — must be received at The Tribune no latter than Friday, Oct. 17.

Authors can mail letters to: The Ironton Tribune, c/o Letter to the Editor, 2903 South Seventh St., Ironton, OH 45638. They can also be faxed to (740) 532-1506. The preferred method is by e-mail to rick.greene@irontontribune.com.

The early deadline allows us enough time to make sure we can get eligible letters published before Election Day.

I’ll thank you in advance for your contributions to the democratic process.