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An update on letters, and a deadline

It’s election time again, and that means the Voices page gets overwhelmed with readers’ viewpoints on candidates and ballot measures. This time, two Ashland ballot measures are attracting a great deal of interest, which means the Tidings is suddenly flooded with letters.

That’s unusual for this paper. Most of the time, letters to the Tidings are few and far between compared with the Mail Tribune, which has a much larger circulation. For that reason, the Tribune limits election letters endorsing candidates or taking a position on ballot measures to 150 words, down from the usual 200. Even then, we have to set a cutoff date as Election Day approaches.

We haven’t considered a shorter limit for the Tidings, until this year. Maybe it’s the two measures asking for a bond issue to rebuild City Hall and an amendment to the City Charter changing the form of government. Maybe it’s the coronavirus lockdown leaving everyone with more time on their hands. Maybe it’s a combination of the two.

In any case, we’re buried. Wednesday’s Voices page was largely devoted to letters, as is today’s.

Because we didn’t anticipate the volume, we didn’t announce a shorter word limit for election letters. The Tidings has always been more lenient about length, for the reason stated above. Letters are generally limited to 250 words, but we don’t reject letters that run to 300 or even 400 words.

We like it that way, to be honest. A robust discussion of public policy issues is healthy, and we’re happy to help it happen.

So keep those letters coming — But please, keep them as short as possible, at least until after May 19. They will get into print faster, and more voices will be included in the discussion.

About that cutoff date: Letters about the May 19 election received after 5 p.m. Tuesday,

May 12, won’t be published unless we have space. So get your election letters in before then.

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