For many years, this newspaper did not endorse candidates for public office, though we made an exception during the Idaho Falls mayoral race last year.

This year we will endorse candidates and ballot measures in a variety of state and local races.

Since we’re changing our policy, we figured we owe you an explanation.

We are in the process of conducting extensive editorial board interviews with candidates for statewide office, as well as candidates for local House and Senate seats. We have spent years watching debates over public policy in Idaho and watching many of these candidates in office. The hope is that work and experience will have some value to you as you formulate your vote.

Our endorsements are not intended to tell you for whom you should vote.

We want to communicate something rather simple: After careful examination, this is what we think.

You do not have to think the same thing we do. We expect that nearly everyone will disagree with some of our endorsements and some will disagree with all of them. The three of us on the editorial board do not expect that we will be unanimous in all our decisions, and we will tell you when an endorsement wasn’t unanimous.

Our goal is to strike up a conversation — a reasoned, civil debate based on facts. We once had those in this country and could again.

Any candidate we side against in our endorsements on this page (a page that contains opinion, not news, and the two should never be confused) will be given the opportunity to respond to our endorsement in the same space. You can weigh our arguments and theirs.

Our aim is to increase civic engagement.

The lifeblood of a democratic republic is the participation of a broad swath of its citizenry in their own government. This takes many forms: discussions both public and private, activism, protest, campaigning, showing up at public meetings and running for elected office.

It also includes voting. Sadly, a rather small portion of eligible voters shows up at the ballot box in any given election — about six out of 10 in a good year and less than four out of 10 in a bad year. Let’s change that.

Whether your vote matches our endorsements or runs precisely opposite to them, you should vote.

The Post Register’s editorial board consists of Publisher Travis Quast, Managing Editor Monte LaOrange and editorial writer Bryan Clark. Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.

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