Stangl

Just a little over a month to go.

The general election is Tuesday, November 3. If you can squint, you can make out the finish line.

But I have to tell you things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.

It seems like there are precious few places to hide from partisan politics. If you turn on the news, get ready for the latest and greatest attack ad. Want to spend some time online? The ads will find you there as well. And I think the less said about social media, the better.

Among the reasons the campaigns have become so nasty so early is the extended voting time. With the pandemic, a record number of people are requesting absentee ballots and have them in their homes right now.

If you don’t have an absentee ballot, there’s still time to request one. Wisconsin voters have until October 29 to request an absentee ballot, the deadline is November 2 in Minnesota. If you are even considering this option, act now.

While absentee ballots will give peace of mind voting for those concerned about waiting in line in November it seems there is lots and lots of confusion about how they will be counted, as well as the veracity of the count.

This is truly unfortunate because we need to have confidence in our institutions and finding ways to get more, not less people involved in the election process.

So, what’s a concerned citizen to do?

According to the latest national survey results, you are doing the right thing by reading a community newspaper.

The survey — conducted annually by Susquehanna Polling and Research of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — found that 85% of community newspaper readers said they are “very likely” to vote in elections in 2020. Further, respondents rated community newspapers as the most trusted source of information about candidates running for public office.

On a scale of 1 to 10, respondents rated how much they trusted a source’s information when it came to learning about candidates for public office. (A score of “1” means you don’t trust them at all, while 10 means you trust them a lot.)

Community newspapers rated an average of 5.77 – 6.23 among readers – topping all mediums

National network TV news – 5.13

Cable TV news shows – 4.60

Talk radio or satellite radio programs – 4.31

Metropolitan newspapers that cover major cities and suburbs – 4.29

Direct mailings from candidates or political parties – 3.73

Facebook or Twitter – 2.92

When it comes to seeking out information about candidates for public office at the federal, state or local level, 68% of respondents turn to national network TV news “very or somewhat often,” closely followed by community newspapers (61%) and cable TV news programs (58%). Less than half of the respondents seek out direct mailings from candidates or political parties (42%), talk radio or satellite radio news program (38%), metropolitan newspapers that cover major cities and suburbs (33%) and Facebook or Twitter (29%) for information.

In the coming weeks, we will be bringing you our voter’s guide to hopefully bring the issues that matter to you into closer focus.

In the meantime, try to stay tuned in and by all means, vote.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.