Election Day for Local Offices

Poll worker Angie Burgess sits behind the ballot box Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 at the polling location for precincts #22,23,24 in Twin Falls.


Our voter guide appears in today’s edition. A comprehensive look at every major election in the Magic Valley, it’s the culmination of hundreds of hours of reporting. We hope you’ll find it a useful tool as you make decisions on how to cast your ballots on May 17. Beginning Wednesday, we’ll offer another: our endorsements.

We’re proud to offer our insight into these important political races. At the same time, we often field questions about why we go beyond reporting to offer opinions about the races, and how we reach our decisions.

Allow me to answer a few questions here:

Why is the newspaper telling me who to vote for?

We’re not. If you’ve done your homework on the issues, met with the candidates and feel comfortable with your choice, don’t let us stand in your way.

But the truth is many folks simply don’t have the time or interest to research all the candidates and all the issues. We do. And we believe it’s important and valuable to share with readers where we come out at the end of that process.

Consider an endorsement just one tool among many that can help you make a more informed decision.

Who decides who the newspaper will endorse?

Our editorial board, whose members are me and Publisher Travis Quast. We may ask reporters questions about candidates and issues that pop up during the campaigns, but only Quast and I discuss who to endorse and what the endorsements will say. No one else in the newsroom knows who the paper will support until after the endorsements are written.

I thought newspapers were supposed to be impartial. What gives?

Who we endorse has no bearing on our news coverage of the races and the candidates. The endorsements run on the Opinion pages, and they’re exactly that: opinions.

The reporters covering local politics aren’t involved in the endorsement discussions, and they’re not directed to cover candidates or issues based on who the paper is endorsing. In fact, there’s a good chance many of our employees will cast votes for candidates the newspaper did not endorse.

How does the paper decide who to support?

We’re not trying to handicap these races or endorsing only the candidates we think will win.

The editorial board has been holding endorsement interviews with candidates from all over the Magic Valley. We examined voting records, campaign materials and our own news coverage. In some cases, we spoke off the record with folks close to the candidates who could share information not widely known by the public.

After gathering all that information, Quast and I discussed each candidate in detail and together decided who we thought would best represent the interests of their communities.

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Sometimes the decisions were easy, other times incredibly difficult.

Finally, we wrote the endorsements by trying to demonstrate our reasoning behind each decision.

I don’t agree with the paper’s choices. What can I do?

First, vote for the candidate you think is best. Endorsements don’t count at the ballot box; your vote does.

Again, the endorsements represent our opinion on a particular race. If you have an opinion, we’d love to hear it. Write me a letter, and I’d be happy to share it with other readers. I’m accepting election-related letters through May 11.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the candidates by continuing to read the Times-News and Magicvalley.com.

And don’t forget to vote May. 17.


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