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We'll provide the facts you need to vote

October 14, 2002|by LIZ THOMPSON

A day or so after the September primary, I got a call from a reader who said he didn't vote because the newspaper had not published a voters' guide.

He said he would have voted if the newspaper had published, on the same day, short profiles or platform boxes on all the candidates.

The newspaper did publish a story about every candidate for each local office as they filed. Then, we published platform boxes on each of the Washington County Commissioners candidates. These platform boxes were published on consecutive days which, according to the caller, was not helpful since it meant he had to buy the paper every day.

Finally, we posted all the election stories on our Web site.

Because we didn't publish all the candidates on the same day, according to the caller, we should stop "whining" about low voter turnout.

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I don't think of it as whining. It's really more like nagging.

And I plan to keep nagging.

Voting is a duty as much as it is a privilege. It is constantly discouraging to me to see how few people actually make the effort to participate in the democratic process.

To help spark some interest in the election process, let me tell you our plans for coverage between now and the Nov. 5 general election.

As before, we will not be able to publish in one newspaper the platforms of every single candidate. There is just not enough space to do that and still cover other news.

However, there will be comprehensive coverage of the candidates and several opportunities for readers to stay informed.

As before, all election stories will be posted on our Web site under an Election 2002 link. You can access our Web site at www.herald-mail.com

Beginning Oct. 21, we will publish in-depth profiles of each of the candidates for Washington County Commissioners. The stories will be published each week day for two weeks.

Beginning that same week, The Herald-Mail will publish stories about the races for Washington County sheriff, state senate, House of Delegates and the Washington County Board of Education.

On Oct. 29, the Washington County League of Women Voters will publish in The Herald-Mail a two-page voter guide for Washington County and Maryland races.

On one of the Sundays before the general election - probably Nov. 3 but possibly before that - The Herald-Mail will publish on one page responses from the 10 Washington County Commissioners candidates to five questions. Several of the questions we asked the candidates came from readers.

We will also provide election coverage for our readers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Beginning Monday, The Herald-Mail will publish stories about the West Virginia House of Delegate races in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

The following week, we will publish stories on some of the races in Franklin County, Pa., including the U.S. House of Representatives.

Other stories will be published the following week from West Virginia and Pennsylvania on state and local races such as the county commission races in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, state senate races in West Virginia, and referendum questions on the ballot in West Virginia.

So, there will be plenty of information and more than one opportunity to access it.

Please take the time to find out who is running and what they stand for. And having invested that time, please go use your knowledge and vote.

Liz Thompson is city editor at The Herald-Mail. She can be contacted at 301-733-5131, extension 7682, or by e-mail at lizt@herald-mail.com.

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