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When it comes to the governor's almost daily announcements of loosened restrictions and Health Department standards for various activities, there's one approaching season he hasn't offered any thoughts on.

Football season?

What’s the point?

The impact of covid-19 on campaigning in 2020 means voters will need to devote themselves to seeking out solid information.

Camping season?

Tourist season?

No, he's touched every one of those. But what about election season?

Oh, yes, he's danced around the question of "no excuse" absentee balloting (and we had no idea he was so swift on his feet!). But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the time of year when the people asking for your votes traditionally get out knocking on doors, showing up at farmers markets and appearing at any chicken dinner where more than a half-dozen people might show up.

It's not long until political fishing season. If this were a normal year, candidates for office would soon be out trying to lure in voters, hopefully with real bait (facts), not the fake stuff (hyperbole).

Covid-19 is affecting everything in 2020, though, so it's no surprise that it's having its impact on campaigning. It's hard to slap folks on the back, shake their hands and kiss their babies when you've got to stay six feet away.

If you're running for office in the November election, you're a covid-19 candidate. Not to say they're all infected with the virus, but that everything they do has to factor in the potential to spread the disease and the people's perceptions about any activities that might.

Voters can expect to see more candidates promoting their ideas on social media or through direct phone calls. This newspaper's ad director would undoubtedly have some suggestions, too, but we'll leave that to business side of this operation. And then there's promoting one's candidacy through online sites, which candidates are sure to be drawn to.

The power of incumbency and name recognition will no doubt accrue to the benefit of those already in office, but those folks usually get out to campaign at county fairs and summer festivals, too. The area will undoubtedly see fewer of those kinds of opportunities this year.

Then there's the problem of issues. In many parts of the country, news coverage has suggested voters aren't in the mood to talk about the run-of-the-mill concerns that might be political fodder in other times. What are candidates doing to help get us through the covid-19 crisis? What are their thoughts on government steps to control the spread of the virus? Covid-19 is a front-and-center issue.

So candidates are making their adjustments, but what about us voters? Does the presence of covid-19 have an impact on how we approach the fall election and campaign season?

We think so. More than ever, voters need to devote themselves to doing homework on the candidates, to spend time seeking out details about who the candidates are and what they want to bring to the role, the public office they're seeking. Contact the candidates with questions. Ask around.

The real responsibility this fall rests with the voters who will walk into a polling place -- or maybe mail in a ballot -- to cast votes. We're still months away from Election Day, but there remains much to be done.

And our final piece of election-year advice: Subscribe to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Commentary on 05/23/2020

Print Headline: The covid-19 campaign

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