LEWISBURG – Candidates Nights held by the League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg area will happen no matter what…even if a candidate is unable or unwilling to attend. The non-partisan organization announced the significant change today. League President Mary Zimmerman says all leagues across the country are adopting the new rule to ensure voters have access to people running for elected offices.
The revised policy also allows a candidate who committed to attend and advises the league in writing he/she is unable to attend, a written statement may be prepared at the discretion of the League’s Board. That statement would then be read by the moderator equal in length to the opening statement of the candidate (s) present on the panel.
The league does say it makes every effort to choose dates agreeable to candidates and not in conflict with other public meetings or events.
FROM: League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/8/18
Title: Candidate Participation Policy Change for Candidates Night
The League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area (LWVLA) announced today a significant change in how it will conduct its future Candidates Nights. All Candidates Nights will take place as scheduled, even if one of the candidates in a two-candidate race is unwilling or unable to attend.
Therefore, if an invited candidate is unable or decides not to appear at a scheduled Candidates Night the event will still be held. This is the case even if only one candidate for an office with a scheduled panel appears. Unopposed candidates may appear alone. The revised policy also allows that a candidate, who committed to attend, and advises our League in writing, that he/she is unable to appear due to extra ordinary circumstances, and at the discretion of our League’s Board, may then submit a written statement to be read by the moderator equal in length to the opening statement of the candidate or candidates present on the panel for that office.
The LWVLA makes every effort to choose dates that are agreeable to candidates and not in conflict with other public meetings or events. Our League will work to avoid any appearance of treating a candidate unfairly or in a partisan way. Protecting our non-partisan status, and treating a candidate in a fair way was paramount in developing this policy and will be part of the decision making process if we are presented with a circumstance that is not covered in this policy.
In adopting this policy, Mary Zimmerman, president of the LWVLA, explained that voters want to have the opportunity to hear the candidates who will be on their ballots address the issues they are concerned about, and have an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. Zimmerman also commented that local Leagues in other parts of the country are adopting these new rules to ensure that voters have access to the people running for elected offices. Linda Harris, Voter Services chair, echoed Zimmerman’s statement by saying, “The League envisions a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate. This policy change goes a long way to get the candidates in front of the voters to answer questions.”
The League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse or support any candidate or political party. You can contact the League at 570-524-4439 or at http://lwvlewisburgarea.org/ with any questions you may have.
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