Every election season we face a big question: How do we cover hundreds of candidates running for dozens of county, statewide and federal offices?

We don’t have a huge staff and we don’t have a lot of time, especially when there are other important issues to write about.

But we do have a lot of space. And this year we’ve decided to give some of that space to candidates who want to speak directly to the voters about themselves or the issues they feel strongly about.

Civil Beat staff writers still be covering the major races — governor, lieutenant governor, Congress, key legislative and county offices and any ballot measures — with candidate profiles, campaign finance reports and deep dives into the issues, among other news stories. We’ll do our usual Elections Guide and pull together the increasingly popular Candidate Q&As that voters have come to rely on as they mark their ballots.

But that’s what we want to know about, the questions we think are important for candidates to answer. We understand candidates have other things they want to talk about that we might not get to.

Promo Banner for Candidate Forum Elections 2022

So we’re launching a new “Candidate Forum” where we’ll publish pieces written by the people running for office without us getting in the middle. You’ll be able to find it in our Special Projects section (link at the top of our homepage) or just Google a candidate’s name or office.

As with anything new, this will evolve as time goes on. But here’s the idea and some basic ground rules for the candidates:

— We expect these articles to come from the candidates themselves. No commentary from supporters. People want to know where you stand, what you think, not what some staffer or contributor thinks.

— Do not send something that is already on your campaign website. These pieces should be original material for Civil Beat, not a duplicate of a campaign brochure.

— No attacks on opponents. It’s easy to say what is wrong with the other guy, but these pieces need to be framed around what you would do, not what a competitor should be doing. There are plenty of other places you can argue and debate with opponents, just not this particular forum.

— No misinformation or disinformation. There are many opinions these days, especially when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic and government mandates or political party wrangling. We simply cannot fact check everything and we will reject questionable assertions or send back to you for revision if necessary.

— We recognize that issues change and evolve during the election cycle so we will — for now at least — consider multiple pieces from the same candidate as the election plays out. Don’t overdo it, though, and as always we reserve the right to publish — or reject — any piece at our sole discretion. Any candidate in any race is welcome — and encouraged — to submit a piece for this forum, but we don’t want the space to be overwhelmed by a few prolific candidates.

— Please try to limit your commentary to 800 words or fewer. We also need a headshot and a one- or two-sentence bio to accompany the piece. And if you have a link to your campaign website, please include that too. Send your submissions to news@civilbeat.org.

And a note to commenters: Play nice. Absolutely no personal attacks. Stick to the subject of the commentary. Rejection of mean-spirited comments is not censorship, it’s just a move toward keeping things civil.

We’re launching the forum with a submission from Kim Coco Iwamoto, who is running for a House seat against House Speaker Scott Saiki. It focuses on the recent bribery convictions of two former lawmakers and her constructive suggestions about changes in legislative policy that could help curb corruption and abuse of power.

Hawaii’s primary election isn’t until Aug. 13, but we’re already seeing a number of people announcing their intention to run for office. There are many new faces. We hope you will take advantage of this new forum to let people know who you are and what you are about.

An Important Note

If you consider nonprofit, independent news to be an essential service that helps keep our community informed, please include Civil Beat among your year-end contributions.

And for those who can, consider supporting us with a monthly gift, which helps keep our content free for those who need it most.

This year, we are making it our goal to raise $225,000 in reader support by December 31, to support our news coverage statewide and throughout the Pacific. Are you ready to help us continue this work?

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