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As the summer season winds down this weekend we can look for candidates to begin their final push for votes leading up the November's General Election.

Given that only one in four registered voters turned out for the June primary, a large portion of the voting population either hasn't been paying attention or has not been motivated by a particular candidate.

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Part of the lower turnout this year was likely due to moving the primary to June. In 2010, when Carroll voters last had a say in who their state and local representatives would be, about 31 percent of the registered voters turned out for the September primary.

About 61 percent of the county's registered voters turned out in the November election that year. So if the trend continues and we see twice as many people voting in November, that leaves a lot of opportunities for the candidates who remain on the ballot.

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Of course, first they have to convince you to vote for them.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown enjoys an advantage in his quest to replace Gov. Martin O'Malley because Democrats outnumber Republicans by about a two-to-one margin in Maryland. In Carroll, Republicans for county and state legislative offices enjoy a similar advantage because Republicans outnumber Democrats. In both cases this is an advantage because too many people abdicate their voting responsibility by simply casting ballots for the candidate representing their party.

Despite that, candidates will spend thousands – and in some cases hundreds of thousands -- of dollars trying to convince people to vote for them, or at least vote against their opponent.

We'll be inundated with commercials on television and radio stations, print advertisements and those ever-so-annoying robo-calls with increasing frequency between now and November. Our mailboxes will be stuffed with promotional materials extolling the virtues of one candidate or vilifying another. And if history is any indication, some of the races will become downright nasty.

Too many people already missed an opportunity to have a voice in the process because they did not vote in the primary election. Now, with the field narrowed in each of the races, it is all the more important to look at the candidates, their records, where they stand on specific issues that are important to you and whether they are offering solutions, or just complaining about something they don't like.

The choices that we make in November will be with us, in most cases, for the next four years. As the summer season winds down and the election season ramps up, take the time to learn about the candidates so you can make an informed choice in November.

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