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One month from Saturday night it will be settled. The voting will end and, barring recounts, the United States will have elected a president.

Maryland will have elected a senator and by referendum have settled a number of hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage, in-state college tuition for some undocumented immigrants and the expansion of gambling to a include a large new casino in Prince George’s County.

The 5th Congressional District, of which St. Mary’s is a part, will have elected a congressman, and St. Mary’s County will have chosen a circuit court judge and three school board members.

But first comes this final month of the campaign.

In St. Mary’s, there will be candidate forums to give voters a side-by-side comparison of the close-to-home candidates. The first of these is next Tuesday, Oct. 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Great Mills High School. The six candidates vying for three seats on the St. Mary’s County Board of Education and two candidates for judge of the circuit court will address the audience and then questions will be posed to them.

The Enterprise will cover these state and local races, including the candidate forums. On Oct. 17, we will publish a guide for voters, which will include the answers to questions we have posed to the candidates for Senate, House of Representatives, judge and school board, as well as an explanation of the referendum questions on the ballot.

And during the month we will publish letters to the editor from readers arguing the merits and demerits of the candidates. Already we’ve expanded the space devoted to letters, and will continue to do that.

Because we are providing extensive coverage of the campaigns, we don’t accept letters from the candidates themselves, except when the candidate is replying to editorial criticism from The Enterprise, disputing news reporting or replying to an inaccurate attack from a letter writer.

We will publish just one letter from any writer in this last month before the election. At this writing there are already dozens of letters in line for publication in upcoming editions, so a word of advice. Shorter letters, those 300 words or less, are more inviting to readers and most likely to be published in a timely manner.

As always, we reserve the right to edit or reject letters, but our intent is to publish as many of them as possible, and a representative sample of those received for each candidate will be published. The outcome of these elections may not hinge on letters to the editor, but providing a forum for them is one way to make sure that citizen voices can be heard.