People have been expressing their disappointment over the League’s cancellation of the US Representative Districts 19 and 25 candidate forum. We share your disappointment. Open dialog and exchange of ideas and opinions are key to our democracy and we were looking forward to providing Collier County citizens with the opportunity to hear from all candidates in these races.
In May we began contacting all candidates prior to the Primary to “save the date” for a forum on September 17th. Communications over the summer led us to be optimistic that candidates would be available. However, we were wrong.
One of League’s core missions is to encourage voting and educating on issues. However, we also do not support a candidate or party.
Over many years, the League at the national, state and local levels has developed best practices and guidelines for debates and forums:
For Federal races (U.S. House, U.S. Senate) an empty chair debate (where only one candidate is present) can NOT be held as it can be considered an “in-kind” contribution or providing “something of value” to a federal candidate by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and thus subject to the contributions or expenditures limitations, reporting requirements and prohibitions of federal election laws.” (Source: FAQ’s Candidate Forums – Debates)
The League encourages voters continue to learn about the candidates through www.VOTE411.org and www.BeReadyToVote.org. Upcoming forums hosted / co-hosted by LWVCC are on its website.