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Balloting starts Thursday in this year’s primary election. A voters guide featuring candidates in contested primary races, and other information about the election, is included in today’s edition.

The guide features questions to and answers from candidates for their party’s nominations for governor, attorney general, Congress, Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, as well as the commissioner races and the Charles County Board of Education, where the field of candidates will be narrowed from 20 to 14 in advance of November’s general election.

It’s early voting that starts Thursday. For eight days, from June 12 through June 19, any registered voter in Charles County can vote at the board of elections office at 201 E. Charles St. in La Plata. Most of the votes, though, will be cast Tuesday, June 24, at 43 polling places around the county.

The voter’s guide does not include this newspaper’s endorsements. Our endorsements for Democratic and Republican candidates for governor, Democratic candidates for attorney general and Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives were published June 4. Endorsements for Democratic candidates for the Maryland legislature and the county commissioner and sheriff races will appear in this space Friday.

In the three upcoming editions remaining before June 24, we’ll publish letters to the editor about the election. We don’t publish letters from the candidates themselves except under special circumstances, which are spelled out in the letters policy at the bottom of this page.

We’ll publish as many letters as we can, but get them in early; in any case, to have any chance to have letters published before voting ends June 24 they must be received by 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 18.

Short letters will have a better chance of being published. If we can publish two 200 political letters instead of one 400-word letter, that’s likely what we’ll do.

We won’t print any letters introducing new criticism of the candidates after the June 18 edition, since they or their supporters would have no chance to respond if such letters were published June 20, our last print edition before the election.

We’ll publish no more than one letter a month from any letter writer, and we’ll continue to publish a representative sample of letters for all candidates as space allows.

On election night, we’ll publish the results on our website at www.somdnews.com, and hold the presses for the print edition so that, barring any unexpected delays in the counting of the votes, we’ll have the results in the newspaper the next morning.

One last thing — it is unusual to have a primary election in the heat of summer in Maryland and no one is sure what kind of voter turnout there will be. Don’t bypass the right to have an early say in which candidates may be representing you in La Plata, Annapolis and Washington, D.C. Vote.