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Column: Help us tell the political stories that matter as Election Day nears
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas
The mailbox is full of political ads, my kid’s coming home from school talking about the president and I can’t listen to a ballgame without hearing how horrible some candidate would be for Georgia or America.  

Meanwhile lines in some counties wrap through the building, out the door and down the street as people wait hours to early vote. 

I can confidently say voter apathy isn’t an issue for most this election. Hall County set a turnout record in 2016 with 78.5% of registered voters casting a ballot. I think it’s possible we’ll set another record this year. 

What are the big issues this year? Most of us know what’s being talked about on the national level and among friends, and much of it revolves around the personalities of those seeking power.  

We also all have key issues influencing our votes. Whether we believe our favored candidate has it right on issues of economy and health care or Supreme Court appointments and the environment, I for one am tired of seeing people assume what’s important to the other side and why. 

Journalists at The Times also can make educated guesses at which issues are important to our community and why, but we’d like to dig deeper and are asking you to fill out a survey and tell us which issues are most important to you and who you plan to vote for in the top ticket race. 

It’s not a scientific poll, but we think it will give us a clearer picture of what voters are paying attention to this season.  

Much thanks to those of you who filled it out earlier this week; we’re already learning a lot. For others willing to participate, take the survey at We will not report individual responses unless you tell us you’re willing to speak with a reporter and we follow up with you personally. You may complete the survey anonymously, if you prefer. 

We plan to report the aggregate data and trends to get a picture of what matters to local residents in addition to interviewing some of those willing. 

We’d also like to share with you about how divisive national politics may be affecting local residents and their relationships. If you or someone you know has close friends or family on opposing sides of the political spectrum, we’d love to speak with you, whether you’re making those relationships work or conversations are a struggle.  

If you have other suggestions for our political coverage leading up to Election Day, please let us know. You can find all our coverage so far, which includes candidate profiles, Zoom candidate forum recordings and a comprehensive voter guide, at For those who attended the candidate forums live, we appreciate your feedback and are thrilled to know you found them useful. 

Our local journalists’ jobs are to report what matters to you and do it fairly and without bias. On the national level, we rely on wire services including the Associated Press, which we pay in order to provide you with state, national and international news. We will continue providing that as a service to our subscribers and as possible will devote resources to editing that content to better serve readers in our region. Meanwhile, reporters in our office will continue their focus on local races and how national races affect people locally. 

Though all eyes seem to be on the races for president and U.S. Senate, there are of course other elections on the ballot, including several state legislative races and even one for nonpartisan Hall County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors.  

Our newsroom is hoping we’ll have some of these results on election night, but we’re also prepared to keep watching and waiting, especially in races that cover more territory.  

In any case, you can follow along at on Nov. 3 as we get new information. 

Educate yourself, vote for what you believe is best and be kind. But you know that already. 

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a North Hall resident. 

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