Debate is the fundamental basis of democratic elections and the political process in this country, and one of the most crucial aspects in any race for public office.

Without an honest debate between the candidates seeking election, voters are deprived of the necessary and objective presentation of the competing views, values, ideals, and politics of those seeking to represent them.

The voters of New Hampshire deserve to be presented with debates that include all candidates qualified to appear on the general election ballot, regardless of their party affiliation, fundraising totals or poll numbers. It is not the job of the media to determine what candidates are viable and qualified, as the secretary of state has already certified those candidates to appear on the November ballot in accordance with the laws of the state of New Hampshire.

The ultimate decision of who should represent New Hampshire belongs to the voters, not to the journalists and media conglomerates who have the privilege of hosting these debates, and the responsibility to provide the most objective and forthright presentation of those candidates possible.

I call for WMUR, and NHPR and any other organizations intent on hosting these debates to adopt the only objective criteria for inclusion possible, one that includes every candidate for an office that has been certified by the secretary of state to appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

The voters of New Hampshire have a right to be informed.

The media has an obligation to inform them.

JUSTIN O’DONNELL

P.O. Box 761

Nashua

Note: The writer is the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate.