As The News-Item is in the process of interviewing more than 40 candidates who are running for contested public offices in the primary election at the end of the month, it is imperative we take special precautions to preserve the integrity of the electoral process.

In doing so, the newspaper will implement procedures to achieve our ultimate goal — educating the electorate in a fair and unbiased fashion.

Beginning with today’s edition, no Sound Off calls will be printed that mention candidates running for any office in Northumberland County. Calls addressing issues within the county will still be permitted, but if the statement becomes political in nature, it will not be published.

The News-Item will also not allow candidates in contested elections to appear in photos at events we cover if the candidate does not hold a true tie to the ceremony.

As a newspaper, we understand the value of giving a voice to citizens and readers who may otherwise not have an outlet to do so. However, protecting the integrity of the upcoming election is one of our highest priorities.

Signed letters to the editor will still be accepted as outlined in an editorial that ran several weeks ago. The News-Item does not publish letters that endorse local political candidates and any election-related letters must deal with pertinent issues.

Furthermore, all letters of a political nature must be received prior to 10 days before the primary election. Letters to the editor from a candidate explaining their platform will be accepted until that point.

All temporary, election-related policies will no longer be in effect beginning the day after the primary election, Wednesday, May 22, when political calls will once again be printed.

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