Newspaper endorsements will continue to be relevant

In the wake of the Nov. 2 election, some have questioned the value of newspapers endorsing candidates at election time.

For the record, this newspaper always has and always will endorse candidates at election time. Quite frankly, we believe we have an obligation to endorse both candidates and ballot issues.

While this newspaper always will provide our readers with factual and accurate news accounts to inform them about candidates for elective office or ballot issues such as tax-rate increases, we believe it also is important to give voters our opinions — strictly on the Opinions page — about those candidates and issues.

For example, if an elected official consistently during his or her term of office has misled people, has neglected his or her duties, has obstructed the governing process or has attempted to side step the Open Meetings and Rec-ords Law, we believe we have an obligation to discuss that in an opinion column along with the reasons why we believe the elected official should not be re-elected.

Elected officials who have poorly served the community don’t deserve to be re-elected and we have a moral obligation to inform voters of why we believe they should not be re-elected. If we’re concerned about a candidate who is seeking office, we also believe we should share our concerns about that candidate with our readers and urge them not to vote for that person.

We also believe elected officials who have served the public well de-serve to be re-elected and do not hesitate to explain our reasons why.

We would disagree that endorsements don’t persuade voters or have an impact on their choices when they cast their ballots. In fact, we’ve taken the time to review polling place data from past elections — not the most recent one — and often have seen very clear voting patterns within our circulation area of candidates and issues we have endorsed or not en-dorsed. But what’s even more revealing is when we review the polling place data outside our circulation area, we discover that our endorsements indeed had a huge impact.

Our statement of purpose says it all: “We dedicate ourselves to the public, holding its welfare in the highest re-gard and standing firmly in opposition to any who would oppose it.”

That only can be achieved by ex-pressing our opinions and endorsing candidates and issues.