POINT OF VIEW: Candidate boards are a core characteristic of U.S. politics

CANDIDATES HAVE STATED their intentions to run for public workplace. The League of Women Voters of Clallam County needs to remind everybody why and the way the League of Women Voters holds public, non-partisan candidate boards for elections wherein there are a minimum of two candidates. This format permits candidates to make a gap and shutting assertion and reply questions from a moderator.

The LWVCLA takes our position in supporting democracy significantly. Being keen to face questions when operating for workplace is an indication of a candidate’s willingness to interact with all constituents whereas in workplace.

As all present elected officers can attest, there’s by no means a time when constituents received’t need to interact with their representatives. The questions requested of candidates in a LWVCLA discussion board are an identical illustration of what an election official faces when in workplace.

Attending or watching a candidate discussion board is among the finest methods to organize for casting your poll. As a core characteristic of U.S. politics, candidate boards assist voters study extra a couple of candidate and their stance on key points. The candidates that we vote into workplace will make necessary selections that have an effect on you, your loved ones, and your neighborhood. You’d by no means rent somebody for a place with out interviewing them first, proper?

The League of Women Voters of Clallam County continues to focus candidate boards on points. One good end result of the pandemic is that it prompted our League to benefit from the technological instruments at our disposal. We have realized that utilizing instruments akin to Zoom has elevated public participation and viewing of those boards.

For these causes, we plan to proceed holding our boards on-line, which can even allow candidates to take part no matter their location.

Here’s a quick primer on how the LWVCLA prepares our candidate boards:

We maintain candidate boards a couple of weeks earlier than ballots are mailed so candidate positions are contemporary within the minds of the voters. Ideally, we schedule boards within the evenings and at a time once we really feel most individuals will be capable to view them. Whenever potential, we’re all the time keen to regulate to accommodate candidates’ schedules.

As LWVCLA’s Voter Service’s chair, I attain out to the candidates in these aggressive races by electronic mail and telephone, and I doc all communications. Though some candidates in previous elections have refused to answer our a number of invites to take part in LWVCLA boards, I stay hopeful that this conduct was an aberration and won’t be repeated in future elections.

Prior to the discussion board, the LWVCLA moderator will start grouping questions into situation classes.

At the identical time as I attain out to candidates, we additionally encourage civic teams, political events, faculties, and neighborhood organizations to submit questions. Affordable housing, homelessness, policing, highway repairs — if you happen to’ve lived within the county for any size of time, you already know already what many questions will cowl. The precise wording and order of questions stays confidential with the moderator till simply earlier than the discussion board begins.

Our boards are held by way of Zoom and recorded. A day or two after every discussion board, the ensuing video is posted on our YouTube web page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAGqsUCnCjYV–l9qba
Zf0A in addition to on the “Forums” web page of our web site at lwvcla.org, in order that the utmost variety of voters can see the candidates’ spontaneous responses to coverage questions.

Examples of previous boards can be found at each of those websites for these candidates who want to see our procedures in motion.

Candidates, after submitting week ends, needs to be looking out for our outreach emails and telephone calls. We are persistent as a result of voter training is the core mission of your native League. The public expects candidates to take part and reply their questions.

If candidates refuse to take part, they’re denying the neighborhood a chance for public training about the place the candidate stands on the problems.

Voters, if there isn’t a discussion board scheduled for a aggressive workplace, begin asking each candidates why. It isn’t as a result of we didn’t strive; it’s as a result of one in every of them refused to debate their coverage positions in a public, structured, non-partisan LWVCLA election discussion board.


Nell Clausen has served as chair of the Voter Services Committee of the League of Women Voters Clallam County since 2021. More info on the LWVCLA may be discovered at lwvcla.org.

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