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Our View: For this election, we endorse ... voting | COMMENTARY

Endorsing candidates is a longstanding tradition of newspapers, including the Times. More and more, however, media organizations have been breaking with that tradition and we believe, for myriad reasons, the time is right for us to do the same.

While what appears on the Opinion page has nothing to do with how reporters go about their business of covering the news, we can understand why some readers think it does. Many believe the view of a particular columnist or letter-writer or cartoonist reflects the overall bent of the newspaper. It’s even more understandable they would believe an editorial, which appears under an “Our View” header, is reflective of the opinions of those who report the news. If we write that Candidate A deserves your vote in an editorial, we can see why someone might be skeptical if we were to then publish a positive-seeming story about Candidate A, or a negative-seeming story about Candidate B, on the front page.

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Further, the traditional wall between the newsroom and the editorial board has been crumbling over the past decade at smaller news organizations, out of necessity, amid staff reductions. Indeed, the members of this editorial board are called upon more and more often to write news stories about the very candidates that would formerly have been endorsed in this space. It would be disingenuous to pester candidates for information or a quote for a news story one day, thanking them profusely for their help, and then opining about why their opponent should be elected the next.

We believe it is our role to report the news, not to make it. We want to provide readers with information that can help inform their choices on Election Day, through interviews and news stories as well as providing a forum on the Opinion page for supporters to advocate for candidates, but we see no need to tell readers how they should vote.

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We have no delusion that a newspaper endorsement carries the weight it once did, when access to information about races and candidates was limited. So we see little value in potentially alienating our news consumers with endorsements that could not only be misunderstood but could also open us up to criticism for either pandering to the majority of our readers or playing into some speculated-upon agenda.

Thus, our only endorsement for this election is for voting. In whatever way makes Carroll countians most comfortable.

For the nearly 40,000 voters who are going the mail-in route, ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 or returned to one of the county’s drop boxes (Board of Elections office, Liberty High School, North Carroll Senior Center, Taneytown Police Station, Westminster Senior Center and South Carroll Swim Club) by Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. For the more than 20,000 expected to vote during the early voting period, their turn begins this Monday, Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 2, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day at the Westminster Senior Center and the South Carroll Swim Club. And for the nearly 50,000 expected to turn out on Election Day, Nov. 3, remember that all of the 13 voting centers throughout the county are available to be used by any of Carroll’s registered voters. (Go to elections.carrollcountymd.gov for the full list of sites.)

So we won’t tell you whether to vote for Biden or Trump. Or to choose Morton or Titus in the Circuit Court Judge race. Or which two of Brooks, Harrison, Herbert and Sivigny to pick for the Board of Education. Or how to handle the District 1 or District 8 House races.

We just urge you to vote.

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