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Editorial: Let's be civil with our letters to the editor

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Turn the page of this issue of the Independent and you'll find a full page dedicated to letters from our readers, all of them related to one local election or another.

We expect more pages like that as election season rolls on. The District 192 School Board race has already generated a lot of attention, and the race for vacant spots on the Farmington City Council is just getting started. Farmington residents also have races for the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Dakota County Board of Commissioners to consider.

We're fine with letters. We love them. But to deal with the volume of correspondence we expect to see over the next several weeks we need to have some rules.

Some of these rules have been around for years. We limit letters to 500 words. The deadline to submit a letter is noon on Monday. It's sometimes possible for us to squeeze something in after that, but we don't make any promises. Letters should be written by a Farmington resident, and letters submitted for our Oct. 30 issue, the last before the election, should be simple statements of support.

Other rules are more common sense than official policy. Be nice. It's possible to disagree with someone and still be civil. Be accurate, too. Letters are meant to express opinions, but those opinions should always be based in fact. We always reserve the right to edit letters when we feel they need it or to reject them altogether.

We don't reject letters often. Every once in a while we hear from someone who believes we're running too many letters for one candidate and not enough for another. Truth is, if we're running more letters for one candidate than for another it's almost certainly because we got more letters for that candidate. If you wrote us a letter and it didn't show up in print we encourage you ask us why. We want to run as many letters as we can.

We don't think any of these rules will be difficult to follow and we encourage you to write to us before the election and beyond. We look forward to hearing from you.

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