Comment: Voters must hear from candidates to inform choices

The League of Women Voters wants to hear from candidates and voters during the election season.

By Jeanne Crevier / For The Herald

The upcoming elections in Washington state will reflect newly created voting districts, and there are very real changes to these districts across the state. Within these newly drawn boundaries, we will elect all our state representatives, half of our state senators, our state’s Secretary of State, our congressional representatives, one of our U.S. senators and many of our judges.

There will be new voices and new opportunities for representation. As a voter, where can you find nonpartisan, unbiased information about the candidates running for office? Your county Auditor’s Office publishes a candidate guide which provides good, basic information about each candidate’s background, experience and focus. As the election nears, Votewa.gov and Vote411.org are other sources of information. But we hope and expect to hear from the candidates directly.

The League of Women Voters will hold a series of candidate forums for the primary and general elections with just this intention. Last fall our Snohomish County League took advantage of emerging technology to record 25 forums; thousands of residents watched or listened to those recordings from our YouTube Channel and website.

Hearing directly from candidates matters. I’d like to share with you a comment made by the League’s Jefferson County president, Angela Gyurko: “We take our role in supporting democracy seriously. Being willing to face questions when running for office is a sign of a candidate’s willingness to engage with all constituents while in office. And as all current elected officials can attest, there’s never a time when constituents won’t want to engage with their representatives. The questions asked of candidates in a League forum are a small — some would call them gentle — representation of what a candidate faces when in office.”

We couldn’t agree more!

Our League is building our candidate forum plan and schedule now, and will be partnering with Sno-Isle Libraries, The Daily Herald and others to live-stream selected forums. We will pre-record many others. Today, we want you to know that we will invite all registered candidates to participate in the scheduled forums and hope for a strong response. We’ll post a schedule and list of participating candidates on the Candidate Forum page on our website: lwvsnoho.org.

We will also be reaching out to you to help us craft timely and relevant questions for the candidates. Look for postings on our League’s social media and website, and for communications from our partners about how you can provide input that matters.

To learn more about our forum processes, you can find our board-approved candidate forum policy on our website. The policy details our approach and commitment to nonpartisanship and the full, fair participation of all candidates for office.

Candidates, now that you’ve filed for office, be on the lookout for our outreach emails and phone calls. We are persistent because voter education is the core mission of the League. Please respond and participate.

Our vote is our voice. We want that voice to be informed. Let’s hear from the candidates.

Jeanne Crevier is president or the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County.

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