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Some dates to remember

June 02, 2006

In the 2002 general election, voter turnout in Washington County was 53.26 percent. Of 70,090 registered voters, 37,327 people voted.

That means that 32,763 citizens didn't bother to go to the polls - and those were the registered voters!

Washington County can do better, and with the help of four local organizations, the 2006 elections could see a surge in local people going to the polls.

The Washington County chapter of the League of Women Voters, Hagerstown Community College, The Herald-Mail and Antietam Cable are joining forces to provide citizens with as much information as possible.

Working together, the four will produce a series of candidate forums at HCC'S Kepler Theater on Aug. 16 and 17 (prior to the primary) and on Oct. 18 and 19 (prior to the general election).

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Events on those four nights will run from 7 to 9 p.m. They will be televised live by Antietam Cable, which also has agreed to rebroadcast them.

Which candidates will speak on which nights?

We don't know yet, because the filing deadline for candidates isn't until July 3. The forums need to be set up to give maximum exposure to races in which the incumbents face challengers and we won't know which races are contested for another month.

Our recommendation is to put those dates on your calendar now and watch The Herald-Mail for a detailed schedule as soon as one becomes available.

And, if you have not registered to vote, please do so. To vote in Maryland's Sept. 12 primary, you must be registered by Aug. 22. The League of Women Voters will have a registration table available at the August and October forums.

In addition, there will be a number of other features to help voters make these important decisions. They include:

The Herald-Mail will put together a voters guide, which will feature questions answered by the candidates. It will appear in the Sunday, Oct. 29, edition of The Herald-Mail.

The Herald-Mail will have an Election 2006 section on its Web site at www.herald-mail.com.

The four organizations mentioned earlier are doing everything they can to ensure citizens know all they need to know about the candidates. Please vote, so that all that work pays off in the form of better government.

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