Saturday, November 01, 2014

ASK JODIE: Why is The Herald telling its readers how to vote Aug. 5?

By JODIE GARCIA, Ask Jodie | 7/30/2014

QUESTION: Why does the Herald write endorsements for political candidates?

ANSWER: For some people, election season can be a confusing swirl of debates, political mailers, news stories and opinions. How does a voter begin to separate the wheat from the chaff?

QUESTION: Why does the Herald write endorsements for political candidates?

ANSWER: For some people, election season can be a confusing swirl of debates, political mailers, news stories and opinions. How does a voter begin to separate the wheat from the chaff?

I asked Jeanny Sharp, Herald editor and publisher, to explain the reasoning behind the Herald’s political endorsements. (You can find endorsements in the Editorial section of the Herald’s Opinion page.)

Sharp said many readers simply don’t have time to thoroughly research a candidate before voting.

“It’s been our experience that people depend on us to provide that kind of guidance,” Sharp said.

Many tools are used to craft an endorsement. The Herald’s editorial panel first conducts in-depth interviews with candidates.

“We try to ask the tough questions, we try to challenge them and we ask for the reasons behind their points of view,” Sharp said.

Endorsement writers also use knowledge obtained from meetings and candidate forums and might even analyze an incumbent’s voting record, she said.

Sharp told me the Herald’s endorsements are meant to be balanced, informed recommendations, but at the end of the day, they are only suggestions. Voters must vote with their consciences, she said.

“It’s our goal to get people engaged,” Sharp said. “We don’t want people not to vote because they don’t feel informed.”

Now that I’ve answered that question, let me pose one back to you: How helpful are the Herald’s political endorsements to you as a voter? Join the conversation and vote in the Herald’s poll at www.ottawaherald.com

Have a question about your community? Ask Jodie Garcia at askjodie@ottawaherald.com or call (785) 242-4700.

comments powered by Disqus