Candidates forums aimed at helping voters

July 30, 2006|by TERRY HEADLEE

Mark down these four dates on your calendar - Aug. 16-17 and Oct. 18-19.

Starting at 7 p.m. each night, there will be a local candidates forum at Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Community College.

For those of you who can't make it to the theater, don't worry - it also will be broadcast live by Antietam Cable. There also will be complete coverage in the next day's Herald-Mail newspapers, as well as on our Web site at

For the first time in recent memory, the League of Women Voters of Washington County, Hagerstown Community College, Antietam Cable and The Herald-Mail Co. will join forces to present the candidates forums.

It's our hope that these forums will provide you with information to make an informed decision in both the Sept. 12 primary and the Nov. 7 general elections.


Voter turnout always has been a real disappointment, not just in Washington County, but in almost any jurisdiction in America.

While we can't drag someone to the polls who won't make the effort to exercise their constitutional right to vote, we can do our part by getting candidates to publicly state their positions on a wide range of issues.

The planning for these forums began in late February, when a small group of us began meeting at The Herald-Mail. It was decided early that we would focus on the major contested races because of our two-hour time limit each night.

When 24 candidates decided to run for Washington County Commissioners seats, it did alter our plans a bit.

That is why the first night - Aug. 16 - will be devoted solely to the county commissioners race. The 12 Democratic candidates will take the first hour, and the 12 Republicans will take the second hour.

On Thursday, Aug. 17, the 10 candidates vying for the Washington County Board of Education will take the first hour.

In the second hour, the candidates for state's attorney will have an opportunity to make brief remarks. The candidates for sheriff and for state delegate District 2C will take the rest of the second hour.

In October, candidates for the five races mentioned above will be joined by candidates for several other local contested races over the two days.

Some things to note:

· We will be soliciting questions from the audience, so come prepared with your questions for the candidates.

· The League of Women Voters will have a voter registration table set up in the theater lobby in August for those of you who want to register to vote.

· The candidates forum will be rebroadcast several times on Antietam Cable, although the dates and times still are under discussion.

· We also are considering podcasting the candidates forum so readers can download an audio feed.

· The Herald-Mail also plans to publish a voters guide in late October.

We're trying hard to do our part to provide you with the best possible election coverage this fall.

Please help do your part by showing up on Election Day.

Terry Headlee is executive editor of The Herald-Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7594, or by e-mail at

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