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There's no excuse for not voting

September 11, 2010|By JAKE WOMER

"It's fixed."

"They're all the same."

"Who's running? I don't know anything about the candidates."

These are a few of the excuses I've heard for not voting in previous elections.

Typically, I'll hear the excuse after someone has finished ranting about the state of taxes, schools or government in general.

And I'll ask if that person voted.

As long as he or she voted, I'll listen. Whom that citizen voted for is irrelevant.

Anyone who tells me he or she didn't vote still has the right to complain, but I'm certainly not going to waste my time listening.

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In a country where we can control who governs us, cynicism, ignorance and laziness are lame excuses for anyone to abandon the right to vote.

In Maryland, Tuesday's primary election offers us another chance to say who should represent us.

In most races, Democratic and Republican voters will choose candidates to propel into the Nov. 2 general election.

In the nonpartisan school board race, even unaffiliated voters can have a say in who moves on to the general election.

There are 11 candidates in the race for three seats on the Washington County Board of Education. The top six vote-getters will advance to the general election, when the final three will be determined.

If you need to brush up on who the candidates are, go to http://www.herald-mail.com/elections. The Herald-Mail interviewed candidates and gave them a chance to answer eight questions related to the school board. Those stories were published in the newspaper this summer and are collected online now. There's a list of candidates for the school board and other races affecting Washington County.

The Herald-Mail also will be the source for election news Tuesday and Wednesday. We will be updating vote totals throughout the day at http://www.herald-mail.com, and the election results will be published in Wednesday's Herald-Mail.

We'll follow that coverage by posing more questions to the candidates who move on to the general election in contested races.

The Herald-Mail will continue to offer the information that voters need, but people still need to decide to be voters.

In the 2002 gubernatorial election, about 55 percent of Washington County voters cast ballots.

In 2006, that number dipped to about 47 percent for the general election and about half of that for the primary election.

In the 2008 presidential election, voter turnout jumped to about 67 percent, still low for the amount of griping that goes on. Despite all of the noise about the country's problems, fewer people are taking action and determining our future.

But it's not too late for people to step into the voting booth.

Jake Womer is executive editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7594, or by e-mail at jakew@herald-mail.com">jakew@herald-mail.com.

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