From The Editor: A commitment to election coverage that respects the foundation of our democracy

Every election is consequential.

Voters don't always consider them so, and thus we can trace trends showing that fewer people turn out for primaries than for general elections, and fewer turn out for generals in the so-called midterms than for presidential elections. And sadly, even presidential elections often struggle to attract overwhelming voter interest.

But if the events of the past decade have shown us anything, it is the impact of those who put in the time and energy to understand candidates and issues and get to the polls. We consider it one of our chief responsibilities to engage those people.

So it is that, with Labor Day behind us, you are beginning to see the engines of electoral democracy revving up in our coverage. Soon, they'll be roaring full force in diverse ways, and it's worth pointing out that that does not come about by accident.

Practically from the time the primaries concluded in June, our editors and reporters have been studying issues and candidates for the Nov. 8 General Election. We've made assignments for reporters so they can begin developing expertise on specific candidates. We've set in motion plans for our editorial boards to interview candidates, a process that boosts both our objective reporting on races and our editorial board's ability to provide thoughtful insights against which voters can examine their personal assessments and thereby make even more-confident judgements on the candidates and issues they decide to support.

We cannot escape criticism in the process, and we welcome it in any case. Whether we ultimately agree with it or not, it forces us to examine ourselves and that makes us better.

Even before most campaigns have entered high gear, the criticism is especially strong this election. A vast segment of the population, including some candidates for election, has impugned the integrity of elections themselves and have tarred us as some sort of evil co-conspirators in a corrupt process.

Such cynicism hurts the process, but like all other issues, it, too, can be reckoned with only at the polls. For ourselves, we can respond only with the promise to do our best to report faithfully and express opinions responsibly. We welcome voters, indeed urge them, to include us among multiple sources of information and opinion they use in reaching their decisions.

Whatever your personal values or politics, we commit to providing coverage that recognizes and respects the consequences of our elections, the foundation of our democracy.

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