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Thanks to our letter writers

September 12, 2006

For the last several weeks, The Herald-Mail has been doing everything possible to publish all reader letters related to the today's Maryland primary election.

For the most part, we have done that, in part by eliminating some syndicated columns, local editorials and commentaries.

We could not have done it without the help of our readers, who for the most part delivered their letters in a timely manner.

Because of that, fewer than a dozen arrived too late to be included. We thank our letter writers for that and for the fact that, with only a few exceptions, their letters praised their favorite candidates, as opposed to attacking opponents.

But this was only accomplished by delaying the publication of non-election-related letters. They've been piling up and we will make every effort to clear the backlog as soon as possible. Again, we thank letter writers for their patience in this regard.

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The general election will be held on Tuesday. Nov. 7. Once the winners of today's primary are determined, we're sure that their supporters will want to express their support. We advise them to do it early, and by e-mail if possible.

E-mailed letters do not have to be retyped, so they can be printed more quickly, with fewer chances of typographical errors being introduced.

Letters from the candidates themselves will get preference, along with those from readers who have not written previously.

We're asking readers to submit letters in the 250-word range. That's not for our convenience, but because research indicates that shorter letters have a better chance of being read all the way through.

The cutoff for election-related letters will be Sunday, Nov. 5. The only election-related letters that will run Monday. Nov. 6 and Tuesday, Nov. 7 will be those of the "get-out-the-vote" variety.

If you're a candidate, we will try to run a picture with your letter. If you have a favorite photo and the image resembles you as you appear today, send it along.

You can do that either by e-mail or by submitting a print, which can be scanned in and returned to you.

We appreciate the opportunity to help readers participate in the election process. If you have comments or suggestions, please send them to the addresses below. Be sure to mark them "not for publication" if you don't want them printed. Thank you.

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