Valley Times-News upcoming election coverage

Published 5:17 pm Monday, August 26, 2019

Qualifying for the upcoming municipal elections ended on Friday, and in 70 days we’ll be heading to the polls to select new council members around Troup County.

Although that feels like a long time, it’ll be here before we know it.

Every time we have an election cycle, I like to sit down and write a column reminding the community, and the candidates how we will handle our pre-election coverage.

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Our stance is always to wait until qualifying to begin writing on elections.

If not, we’re likely to waste everyone’s time writing a story about people who say they are going to run for public office but actually never do.

We also don’t publish letters to the editor on a candidate until after qualifying either. A recent example shows why this rule exists.

In the last two weeks, I received a letter to the editor endorsing a candidate for mayor, but that candidate didn’t try to qualify to run for mayor.

So, now the fun really begins. In the weeks leading up to the election, our reporters will write stories on each political contest, giving each candidate a chance to discuss why they are running for office and what they plan to do if elected.

In our reporting, we will list facts, not opinions, and we will be fair in reporting both sides.

Here’s the important part for candidates: The VTN will allow candidates who qualified for political office in West Point to submit a political announcement and photo that will publish by Oct. 5, exactly a month before the election.

The deadline to send those announcements in will be Friday, September 27, a month from today.

If a candidate misses this deadline, we will not publish their announcement.

The VTN will not publish announcements for candidates in LaGrange and Hogansville, only West Point.

The announcement will give the candidate a chance to tell the community why he or she is running for office, but it must be 300 words or less. The announcement will be published below the fold or inside the paper.

The VTN staff will edit the announcement for style, clarity, grammar and length.

The announcement should discuss biographical information, experience, qualifications and platform issues. A photo should be included but is not a requirement.

Letters to the editor are also welcome from the community, discussing the upcoming races. Anyone who writes a letter is invited to talk about why they support a candidate, but it should not bash other candidates.

Letters will also only be published when they contain provable facts and character opinions.

They must include a name, address and phone number so they can be verified.

No candidate running for political office will be allowed to write a column during the election season.

If you have any questions regarding these policies, call me at (334) 644-1101 or email