OUR VIEW: Our democracy needs all of us now

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Editor’s Note: This editorial was written by the editorial board of this newspaper and will appear in Sunday’s Ideas & Voices.

The statewide voter turnout for the special August primary was a pitiful 8% across the state and only 5% in Montgomery County. Our country is confronting the combined forces of misinformation, distrust and apathy at every level of our politics, and Ohio’s failed redistricting attempts have added to a sense of voter frustration and fatigue. Now, more than ever, we need an engaged and informed citizenry as well as a robust media that can be counted on to give an accurate view of the events and claims that shape our world.

Covering local political races is among the most important responsibilities we have as journalists. Our readers turn to us for the information and analysis they need before heading into a voting booth. Every election, we ensure that our community knows where candidates stand and how ballot issues might affect your communities.

While it is our responsibility to keep you informed, we all depend on you to protect the democratic processes that form the bedrock of our society. That involves more than just voting — it means actively supporting the causes you believe in and seeking all the facts you need to make an informed decision every election.

To help you better understand how seriously we take our duty, we would like to share a few principles that help guide our election coverage.

We do not make endorsements.

A decade ago this year, the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and Journal-News stopped endorsing candidates and issues in elections.

We did this because readers made it clear that what they wanted from us was the information and analysis they need to make their own decisions. We undermine our unbiased, objective reporting in the news sections by picking a sides on our editorial pages.

We do not tell you how to vote. Our job is to make sure that you’re fully informed about the candidates and issues before casting your ballot.

We advocate for participation and education.

We want eligible voters to register to vote and cast their ballots. Democracy works best when everyone’s voice is heard. Our coverage educates people on how to how to register, how to vote and how they can be sure their vote is counted.

In the 2020 election, one of our reporters registered as an official poll observer to detail for the community exactly how the Montgomery County Board of Elections gathered and tallied votes. In this Sunday’s newspaper, you will find detailed instructions on how to register and vote, and a printed absentee ballot request form you can use to request a ballot to vote by mail.

Our focus is on the issues, not the horse race.

People don’t decide who to vote for based on political polls, which are sometimes wrong. We don’t need to rebroadcast every attack ad, cover every photo-op or regurgitate the latest political meme. Our reporters focus on showing where candidates stand on issues, looking into the accuracy or implications of their claims, and helping readers understand candidates’ goals and principles. On issues, we help readers understand how their community and pocketbook will be impacted by their vote.

We depend upon your involvement.

The cornerstone of democracy is spirited, meaningful discussion. We want to go beyond telling you about the candidates and issues — we want to foster further discussion and deeper understanding. While we do not accept contributed columns that endorse particular candidates or issues, we invite you to submit your ideas on the problems facing your community and how you’d advocate for change.

We value the trust you place in us, and we’re committed to serving this community.

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know how you feel about our political coverage, provide ideas for stories or ask questions to clarify something that you need explained by emailing edletter@coxinc.com.

Your voice is important. Make it heard through your vote this — and every — election. Democracy needs all of us.

Meet Our Political Coverage Team

Jeremy Kelley, Assistant Editor: jeremy.kelley@coxinc.com

Josh Sweigart, Assistant Editor: josh.sweigart@coxinc.com

Jim Gaines, Statehouse Reporter: james.gaines@coxinc.com

Lynn Hulsey, Investigative Reporter: lynn.hulsey@coxinc.com

Michael Pitman, Reporter: michael.pitman@coxinc.com

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