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Helping you make an informed decision this November

With the general election approaching I thought it appropriate to explain how The Greenville Advocate will cover the election and candidates and what our policies are relating to publication of campaign and candidate specific material from our readers.

First and foremost, it is our obligation as the community's newspaper to provide information to our readers on the candidates who are running for office so when voters go to the polls Nov. 7, they will be able to make as informed a decision as possible when casting their votes. It's a matter we take quite seriously at your newspaper, one that we feel is important in that government is run by politicians, but it is the people who elect those politicians to office and, in my opinion, knowledge is power when it comes decision making.

In the coming weeks we will begin a series on the candidates who are running for local and statewide office giving each candidate a chance to tell voters why they should be elected over their opponents. Background information on each candidate will be included as will campaign information, such as campaign finance reports, which is important as people formulate a decision on who they will cast their vote for.

We also welcome letters to the editor in support of both local and statewide candidates as long as letters adhere to our policy of publishing such, which we outline on our editorial page each week.

What we will not publish are letters which contain information that could be considered libelous or inflammatory. The number one question we ask ourselves before we publish anything is &#8220is it the truth?” If we cannot answer that question and back up that answer with factual documentation, then we will not publish it. That holds true whether the submission comes in the form of a paid advertisement or not.

Ultimately the newspaper can be held accountable whether what we publish was written by a staff member or not, so we have an obligation to ourselves and our readers to have ironclad documentation before we publish anything.

Bearing in mind the policy outlined earlier, if you have a candidate you support, please submit your letter to the editor letting folks know why you feel they are worthy of your vote. We will work hard to make sure every letter is published leading up to the election, but we will discontinue publication of these letters one week before election day.

In the final week of the campaign, the Advocate will let readers know where we stand on state-wide candidates by offering our opinion as to who we feel should be elected.

Our theory here is that, while we will work hard to provide useful information on all the candidates, readers sometimes do not know as much about statewide candidates as they do local candidates, so we will give our opinion on who we feel would be the best candidate for each job.

I hope you will find the information we provide useful as you make your plans to cast your vote Election Day and as always we welcome your opinion on how we can better serve the community.

Dennis Palmer is publisher of The Greenville Advocate. His column appears each Wednesday. He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 125 or by email: dennis.palmer@greenvilleadvocate.com.