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Posted: April 23, 2013 10:07 p.m.

The News seeks public election feedback

The Covington News strives to provide the most in-depth and consistent local election coverage possible, and, to that end, we’re asking the public to help us by giving us feedback on the questions prospective candidates need to be asked.

Based on issues from past elections — particularly last year’s increasingly contentious races — The News’ staff has created a 36-question vetting list that will be given to any person who announces that he or she is running for office.

The goal of the questionnaire is to leave no stone unturned, and it includes questions about candidates’ platforms, work experience, education, civic involvement, families, criminal background, financial background, voting history and other areas. The News wants readers to look over the questionnaire and provide feedback.

Do any questions need to be added or tweaked, or are any questions unfair? Feel free to make comments on our website, on Facebook or via email to reporter Gabe Khouli at gkhouli@covnews.com.

“The way campaigns are run and elections are decided has changed substantially over the years, and we’ve personally seen an increased emphasis in local elections on digging up dirt and slinging mud,” said general manager T. Pat Cavanaugh. “We’re going to ask every question that could possibly affect the outcome of the election, and we’re going to ask them well ahead of time instead of having things come up at the last minute.

“Candidates will have the ability to get everything out on the table from the very beginning, and we hope they choose to do just that.”

The plan is for the answers to be published verbatim online at CovNews.com.

If a candidate chooses not to answer the questionnaire at all, doesn’t answer certain questions or tries to sidestep certain questions, the responses/non-responses will be noted.

The News will continue to run background checks to hold candidates accountable for the answers they present to the paper and the public.

“We want all prospective candidates to see our questionnaire ahead of time so they understand what they’re getting into when they choose to seek public office,” Cavanaugh said.

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