Editorial: Local Election Year Rules

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New Canaan is extremely fortunate in the dedication, expertise and number of residents who risk raising their hands to serve on elected (and appointed) municipal bodies. For the greater good, those seeking elected office take time away from friends, families and the far less stressful activities they’d normally enjoy through the summer and fall.

NewCanaanite.com kicked off its 2019 election coverage with stories on a GOP debate, the caucuses and a podcast series spotlighting Town Council candidates, and we’re eager not only to put out good timely information for voters, but also to host productive discussions in our comments threads, social media channels and monthly coffees.

To do that, we want to be clear about the rules during this local election year:

  • Comments threads—We publish thoughtful, respectful comments from local readers using full and verifiable names, a requirement that’s been in place for two years. Comments threads on NewCanaanite.com are all gated, meaning that a submitted comment will not appear until it’s approved by an editor. If you’re a new commenter and we cannot verify your ID through the two sources we typically use—Facebook and the New Canaan assessor database—you’ll receive an email from an editor asking you to verify your ID in another way. Those submitting offensive comments, or who try to use aliases, will be blocked by IP address.
  • Facebook page—Facebook is a popular way to share and comment on stories. Our New Canaanite page now counts more than 3,000 followers, and just like on the website, we ask readers to be truthful and respectful. Those posting false assertions or seeking to undermine elected officials, candidates, fellow readers or this news organization, or harassing others, will be banned for three to six months on first offense.
  • Letters to the editor—We’ve already published a handful of endorsement letters leading up to the caucuses, and will accept letters endorsing candidates for the general through Monday, Oct. 28, so that the last newsletter they’ll hit will be Tuesday, Oct. 29, one week before Election Day. We publish endorsement letters in the order they’re received and under the bylines of people only, not businesses or organizations, so please be clear about authorship in sending them. Overly thin letters will not be published. Based on our own coverage needs and available newsletter space, we’ll decide case-by-case whether the letters will be published as standalone posts or in batches.
  • Community coffee—The monthly coffee at the library is an opportunity to talk about local matters with fellow residents and they’re typically very upbeat and lively. We run them in partnership with New Canaan Library on the first Thursday morning of the month. We welcome those seeking elected office to attend and participate, though the coffee is not an opportunity for candidates to stump.

These are best practices we’ve arrived at after years of thoughtful stewardship of NewCanaanite.com. Though some would say we live in a time where anyone’s free to publicly undermine or assail anyone else—for example, though social media—the truth is that reading and engaging with online news is a privilege and not a right. We look forward to a healthy and engaged election season.

Please send any questions directly to Editor Michael Dinan at editor@newcanaanite.com or call him at 203-817-1278.

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