Guidelines explained for election season letters to the editor

With the 14-day filing period now open for candidates seeking state and federal offices, the newspaper is sharing guidelines that will be used for Open Forum contributions as they relate to elections and candidates. The filing period will close on Tuesday, June 5.

Any necessary primary contests for state and federal offices will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The 14-day filing period for area city offices does not open until Tuesday, July 31.

The following guidelines are now in place.

In light of the high volume of political endorsement letters, the Forest Lake Times has policies for election related letters to the editor.

Political endorsement letters may not exceed 200 words. The normal Open Forum policy has a 250-word limit. By requiring shorter and to the point letters, more letters can be accepted.

Letters must be signed and include a formal address and a telephone number for verification purposes. The full address and telephone number will not be published.

Letters are subject to editing for length and grammar. Whether a letter is published in whole or in part is the decision of the editor. The decision of the editor is final. An editor’s note may be attached to the letter if it is determined germane in helping identify the writer.

Form letters will not be published.

Candidate endorsement letters will not be printed in the issue prior to the election. The number of letters received will determine how many are printed in each issue. Unlimited space is not guaranteed.

No more than two letters from a writer will be accepted during a campaign season.

The deadline for Open Forum is noon on Monday. Early submissions are recommended.

Letters may be submitted as follows: By e-mail to [email protected] (text files only, no PDF files); by U.S. mail to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, MN 55025; over the counter at the newspaper office; or by FAX, 651-464-4605.

Letters deemed libelous (alleging criminal activity, as an example), repetitive in content, in poor taste, or involving personal attacks will be rejected.

A candidate endorsement, such as an endorsement by a political action committee, will not be published in Open Forum, but may be considered news.

In most instances, letters signed by candidates written after the filing date will not be accepted. A candidate will be allowed to submit a rebuttal letter in response to a challenge or allegation made in the newspaper.

In such cases, efforts will be made to utilize the final issue when political letters are accepted for any necessary rebuttal or clarification. If necessary, rebuttals may be printed in the issue prior to the election if the situation dictates. Decision of the editor is final.

In all other cases, opinions of the candidates may be published in a paid advertisement.

Post-election thank you letters submitted by candidates will not be published in Open Forum but may run as a paid advertisement.