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As Election Day nears, some advice to readers

November 02, 2000

As Election Day nears, some advice to readers



Next Tuesday, Nov. 7 is Election Day. Throughout this campaign, The Herald-Mail newspapers have tried to give as much space as possible to readers' opinions - pro and con - about the candidates. To do even more, The Herald-Mail recently added a third page to its Sunday opinion section to give more readers the opportunity to express themselves.

But time grows short, as does the amount of space still available between now and Tuesday. The Herald-Mail will do whatever is possible to get in those election-related letters that we have in hand published by Sunday.

Readers who fax or even hand-deliver letters on Monday in hopes that they'll appear on Tuesday will be disappointed. If anything elected-related appears on Tuesday's editorial page, it will be an exhortation to registered voters to cast their ballots.

While we're on the subject, The Herald-Mail has recently received a number of reader letters - by mail, fax and e-mail - in which readers have asked that their names be withheld. It's been our policy for more than 10 years to require letter writers to sign some form of their real name - "M. Smith" instead of "Mary Smith" is acceptable - and provide us with their address and a daytime phone number.

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We ask that so that we can verify anything we don't understand, or failing that, return the letter with a note explaining what the problem is.

We've also tried to discourage readers from launching personal attacks on those they disagree with. It is hard enough to get good people to run for public office (or to express a bold idea to the newspaper, for that matter) without subjecting them to some personal insult.

An idea may be illogical or ill-conceived, but that doesn't mean the person who thought it up deserves to be called an "idiot" or worse. Argue about ideas, please, and leave personalities out of it.

That's also good advice for political adversaries to take after the Tuesday election. Once the ballots are counted, citizens need to put aside politics and work together for the common good.

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