StarkeJournal.com

A service of the Bradford County Telegraph, Inc.

Paper announces election coverage guidelines

Candidates should take note of submission deadlines

BY MARK J. CRAWFORD
Telegraph Editor

The management of the Bradford County Telegraph, the Union County Times and the Lake Region Monitor would like to announce guidelines set up for coverage of upcoming elections and election-related events.

All three newspapers have a policy of allowing candidates in local county races to submit one free article announcing their candidacy. The announcement can be accompanied by one photograph. This article and photograph will be run free of charge, but no announcement will be run for free after the Thursday,
June 26, edition.

Preferably, candidate announcements and photos should be emailed to editor@bctelegraph.com, lrmonitor@bellsouth.net or uctimes@windstream.net.

Otherwise, articles should be typed and of a reasonable length when submitted directly to one of our offices. (Two double-spaced pages is a good guideline.) Submissions should include a phone number where the candidate can be contacted during business hours in case any question arises.

The final day to qualify for local political office by paying qualifying fees is Friday, June 20, at noon. (The final day to qualify by the petition method is May 19.) Therefore, every candidate should be prepared to announce his or her decision to seek office by the Thursday after that final qualifying date.

No free announcements will be accepted by the newspaper offices after deadline for the June 26 paper. That means the submission deadline is Monday, June 23, at 5 p.m.

We reserve the right to determine when to run these announcements as space availability is a factor.

Other guidelines are as follows:
• No fundraiser for a local candidate will be announced for free or covered by newspaper personnel. Local events where all, or at least most, of the candidates in any one race are to be present can be announced for free and will likely be covered by newspaper personnel as a news story so long as those events are open to the public.
• Local events where a single candidate for state or federal office is present may or may not be announced for free and covered by newspaper personnel as a news story.
• No letter to the editor from any candidate will be accepted.
• Letters to the editor from others that pertain to the election or political issues will not be accepted to run during the two weeks immediately preceding a primary or general election.
• All other communications from candidates to the public via the newspaper will have to be made in the form of a paid advertisement and must follow state guidelines for such advertisements—including the requirement that they be paid for prior to the date of publication.

Policies on fair and equal coverage are loosely based on the federal guidelines established for radio and television broadcasts and represent our goal to provide balanced and unbiased coverage of political races.


UC offices up for election

School Board Districts 1, 3 & 5
• Number of signed petitions required to run: 13, 20 and 9, respectively.
• Qualifying fee: $1,010.
• Incumbents: Allen Parrish, Curtis Clyatt and Chairwoman Terra Johnson, respectively.

County Comm. Districts 2 & 4
• Number of signed petitions required to run: 11 and 22, respectively.
• Qualifying fee: $1,634.
• Incumbents: Morris Dobbs and M. Wayne Smith, respectively.

Sheriff
• Number of signed petitions required to run: 74.
• Qualifying fee: $6,259.
• Incumbent: Brad Whitehead.

UC candidate deadlines

• May 19 by noon is the last day to turn in petitions to run.
• Qualifying is June 16-20, from noon to noon. Candidates can pay this week to run. (Qualifying papers will be accepted beginning June 2.)

Election dates

• Primary election: Aug. 26.
• General election: Nov. 4.

Statewide offices

Of the 29 governor candidates with active accounts, most of the attention in the governor’s race is on incumbent Republican Rick Scott, and Charlie Crist, the former governor who is now a Democrat. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi, all Republicans, also have declared opponents. George Sheldon and Perry Thurston Jr. are running for attorney general, William Rankin is running for CFO, and Thad Hamilton is running for the agriculture office. They are all Democrats.

According to the Florida Division of Elections incumbent U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, a Republican, has some competition from Democratic challengers Aquasia Johnson McDowell and Marihelen Wheeler. The district covers all of Bradford, Union, Gilchrist, Columbia, Levy, Suwannee, Dixie, Lafayette and Hamilton counties, as well as most of Clay and Alachua and portions of Marion and Madison.

State Rep. Charles Van Zant has no declared opposition right now in District 19, which covers Bradford, Union and Putnam counties, as well as much of Clay.
Judges with expiring terms will also be on the ballot.

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