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RESTARTING THE PRIMARIES

State leaders made the right calls both in suspending primary-election voting on a day of stunning tragedy and in deciding to restart the process Sept. 25 without counting the votes that already had been cast.

Pledges by local political parties to forego additional campaigning also reflect compassion and careful consideration, although it's likely not all candidates -- and especially those who had been engaged in hotly contested races -- are likely to follow that lead, or to recognize that "politics as usual" can only look trivial in the wake of this month's horrific attacks on New York and Washington.

Gov. George E. Pataki's quick and decisive suspension of voting on the day of the attacks simply was the right thing to do. The State Senate and Assembly followed through on that decision with good legislation of their own. The bills not only reset the primary balloting date within the required 20-day limit, but ruled that ballots already cast -- aside from mailed absentee ones -- won't count. That decision erases doubts over election board abilities to keep the early tallies already in voting machines secure for two weeks, and it restarts urban-area voting on the same footing as other areas of the state where the polls had not yet opened when the suspension was ordered.

As people go to the polls on Sept. 25, they should understand that their votes now signify more than ever another way for New Yorkers to respond to these terrorists attacks -- by exercising the greatest strength of any democracy, the ability to vote.

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