THE LEAGUE’S ROLE IN MODERATING CANDIDATE FORUMS
Part of the Voters Service mission of the League of Women Voters is to conduct and moderate Candidate Forums. The forums serve voters because they give citizens a means of forming first-hand judgments about the candidates. The forums also serve candidates because the contenders have an opportunity to present their views directly to citizens of varied political affiliations.
These forums are not classical debates, but the format we use is somewhat formal. Candidates start by making opening statements. The moderator then asks the candidates a series of written questions collected from the audience, giving all candidates an equal opportunity to respond. In addition to the audience questions, the League and meeting sponsors may also pose questions. It is the responsibility of the moderator to see that the questions reflect the issues of greatest interest to the entire community, cover a broad range of topics, and are worded to elicit the political philosophy of each candidate. The moderator also screens out “soft ball” or inappropriate questions submitted by the audience. Finally each candidate makes a closing statement. The time allowed for a forum depends on the number of candidates present.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, volunteer, political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. The League does not support or oppose political parties or candidates. We look forward in future election seasons to working with non-partisan community groups who take their civic responsibility seriously by volunteering to sponsor Candidate Forums.