For weeks now, these Viewpoint pages have been filled with letters from people endorsing candidates for local office.
We are being overwhelmed with emails and regular mail as candidates urge their supporters to show their support in this very public forum.
This Wednesday, we will fill not only the editorial page but two or three other pages with letters — and still not reach the bottom of the mailbag.
It happens every year at this time. And every year we also hear from people who complain about all those political letters.
One such complaint appeared in Monday’s Speakout. It read: “It is that time of year when we will be reading the same old writers, sending the same old Letters to the Editor, telling us how great the candidates they like will do, if elected. Of course, these candidates are in the same political party of the writer.”
Well, maybe. Or maybe the candidate is a friend or family member of the writer. Or maybe the candidate simply embodies the qualities the writer admires and wants in a political office-holder.
Whatever the motivation any writer has for writing a Letter to the Editor in support of a candidate, it is undeniably an effective way to communicate information to a large audience. (We have roughly 50,000 readers on most days. The circulation is multiplied by a factor to take into account the number of people who typically read each copy of the newspaper.)
And for a person to actually take the time to compose a letter in behalf of a political candidate and get it delivered to our offices, some depth of feeling for the person must exist.
Letters to the Editor remain, after all these generations and all these technological advances, an effective method of communicating to such a sizable group of people.
And the message meant to be conveyed in a letter will, in fact, be passed on. This section of the paper has always enjoyed one of the highest levels of readership. People want to see what their friends, neighbors and acquaintances — and even strangers — have to say.
Over the years, political letters have undoubtedly helped decide many an election. Politicians often hold that an avalanche of letters for one candidate or a dearth for the other translates to votes.
But the time to express your opinions on candidates is about to end. We announced back on Sept. 29 that the deadline for election letters is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23. We won’t accept even one letter after that date.
You still have time to get one here. Either email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 561-3362.
Be absolutely sure that it doesn’t exceed 300 words. We are counting every word and will return it to you if it is too long. That means you risk the letter not appearing on time.
Writers should hurry if they want to meet the deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday. And remember: People are definitely reading.