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Why we don't endorse

(Published September 2, 2002)

The following editorial, which has been slightly updated, was originally published on Sept. 11, 2000.

D.C. residents, like residents of other cities, have come to expect the local newspapers to bless their favorite politicians with a pre-election endorsement, telling voters which political candidates their editors want the public to elect. At The Common Denominator, we don't think that's a necessary role - and, some might argue, not even a proper one - for a newspaper as the constitutionally protected purveyor of government information to the public.

People should expect their newspapers to give them good information, not bad endorsements.

We urge D.C. residents who are registered to vote as a member of the Democratic, Republican or D.C. Statehood Green parties to take a few minutes out of their busy day Sept. 10 to cast their ballot in their political party's primary election. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and voters may call the Board of Elections and Ethics at 727-2525 if they need to find out the location of their designated polling place.

Likewise, we urge D.C. residents who are eligible to become registered voters, but who have not properly registered, to get themselves registered to vote in the Nov. 5 general election. And once registered, make sure you vote!

Voting is often the only real voice that D.C. residents have in their government, so your vote - even if you choose to write in the name of your own candidate who isn't on the ballot - is an excellent way of telling our elected officials whether you approve of their performance in office. Silence is often assumed to signal assent of the governed.

In a democracy, we all have a choice. And The Common Denominator believes an informed citizenry is capable of making its own choices when it comes to deciding how our government should be run. And when those decisions sometimes go awry, it is also up to the citizenry - through the vote - to right the wrongs of the government they have chosen.

The Common Denominator intends to continue providing D.C. residents with information about political candidates, government officials and government actions and to encourage citizens to become more active participants in self-government. We will continue to defend the public interest on issues of public concern.

But it's up to the voters to decide whom they want to pay with their tax dollars to speak, and act, for them.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator