This fall, voters in New Jersey will elect a new governor and new Legislature. They will elect sheriffs and freeholders, mayors and councils and committees, and school board members.

It is election “season,” a time marked by mailboxes stuffed with campaign ads and televisions overrun by chirping ads.

In reality, few of us would say it’s our favorite season. But it is a necessary part of the process to elect our leaders.

Being informed is critical.

And here’s what we have planned to do that.

In our newsroom, our editorial board has begun meeting the 1st and 2nd legislative district candidates for state Senate and Assembly. The districts include Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties and those who serve those areas must be able to represent us so that South Jersey has a voice in Trenton.

The editorial board — composed of the publisher, executive editor, managing editor and editorial page editor — won’t endorse candidates. But we will compare their agendas and views on issues in light of the needs of the region.

Our news staff also will write about the 3rd and 9th legislative district races, which have an impact on western Cumberland County (and Salem County) and on Galloway Township and southern Ocean County.

Reporters have also been assigned to cover the races for freeholder, sheriff, surrogate and county clerk and some notable municipal races, such as the Atlantic City mayoral race. Reporters with the Currents and Gazettes, our weekly publications in Atlantic and Cape May counties, will also report on races there.

We’re also excited to partner with Stockton University, which will host a live debate for the 2nd Legislative District seats in the Senate and Assembly on Oct. 25.

You can be a part of that debate and our coverage too.

In the coming weeks, we’ll invite you to send in questions through Facebook, email or by calling in.

Too often the chance for candidates and the public to interact are limited during campaigns, which often become slugfests instead of the forums they should be. With your help and participation, maybe we can at least in a small way change that in this year’s election cycle.

To submit a question for the 2nd District debate at Stockton University on Oct. 25, send an email to with the subject heading: 2nd District debate question. You may also leave a message at 609-272-7238. Questions should be concise and issue-related.

W.F. “Buzz” Keough is managing editor of The Press of Atlantic City.