Voters have a chance to hear from candidates in county and state House races during a public forum at Sedalia City Hall.
The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Sedalia-Pettis County, is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Sedalia City Council chambers and will feature all candidates for eastern and western county commissioners and the District 51 and 52 Missouri House of Representatives races.
Mary Merritt, League co-president, said the group has changed the format for this year’s event, with candidates receiving three questions prior to the event. Additional questions may be submitted by audience members during the forum, which will then be read by Merritt.
“One of the major functions of the League is to try to send an educated voter to the polls,” Merritt said.
“After the candidates have answered questions we will have refreshments and an opportunity for people and candidates to stay around and talk one-on-one.”
Kathleen Boswell, the League’s other co-president, told the Democrat the forums are a way to gauge candidates’ ability to think on their feet and demonstrate an understanding of the issues.
“I feel like sitting and listening where you can see them is one of the best ways to get a sense of how astute somebody is. People can look really good on paper where they can spell-check their words, but when you hear them in person, you get a better sense of who they are,” Boswell said.
Both women agreed there was strong interest in the general election, both on the national and local levels, though Merritt said, “the thing we hear the most is that people are tired of all the campaign ads.”
In addition to the forum, the League has generated a printed voters’ guide detailing the Missouri constitutional amendment and three propositions that will appear on the November ballot. Copies of the guide, which include ballot language and basic pro and con arguments, will be available at the forum.
In lieu of a full printed voter guide, the League this election season paired with election website vote411.org. The website breaks down races from U.S. president down to local levels, and it contains biographical information on candidates as well as their stands on certain issues and submitted responses to a candidate questionnaire. Visitors to the website can localize their candidates by entering their street address. Merritt also thanked Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada for assisting the League in putting together information for the site.
“Not all of the candidates answered, but those that did, their responses are there,” Merritt said.
Boswell said she hopes the guide will help appeal and encourage participation by younger voters.
“We hope that by catching them young and getting them in the habit of voting that it is something they will continue to do for the rest of their lives,” Boswell said.
Both women stressed that, regardless of an individual’s political leanings, voting remains an important civic duty.
“We all sit around talk and complain, but the ballot box is where we have our power. That is where we have the say as to who we want to represent us,” Merritt said.
For more information on the League, contact Merritt at 826-2793, or 826-9357, or email her at email@example.com.
Candidates to appear at forum:
•Gary L. Grigsby, Democrat
•Dean A.Dohrman, Republican
•Bill Wayne, Libertarian
•Phyllis Sue Domann, Democrat
•Stanley Cox, Republican
•Earl Luebbering, Democrat
•Brent Hampy, Republican
•Gregg Foster, Independent
•Randy Dillon, Democrat
•Jim Marcum, Republican