The League of Women Voters will be hosting an election forum at the Manhattan Public Library this Sunday for candidates running for the Manhattan City Commission and the USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden Board of Education.
The city-commission candidates’ forum will be from 1:30 to 3:30 PM and the school-board candidates’ forum will be from 3:45 to 5 PM.
League of Women Voters leadership-team member Cathy Hedges said that while each candidate will be answering questions chosen by the LWV, audience members will also have a chance to submit questions they want answered.
“We’re very careful to pick issues that we think are important to the community,” Hedges said. “And that’s also why we have our audience participants.”
Each candidate will have two minutes for an opening statement, one minute and 30 seconds to answer each question, and a closing statement. The candidates will take turns being the first answer questions.
The forums will consist of questions pre-selected by the LWV and questions submitted in writing by the audience.
According to Hedges, the LWV does not lean in a particular political direction and and that the forum will not be a debate.
“The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan group,” Hedges said. “We never support or oppose individual candidates or political parties but we love to study the issues and we love to have our informed voters to join us in this powerful democracy.”
There are currently eight candidates running for three open Manhattan City Commission seats.
These candidates are Aaron Estabrook, Mark Hatesohl, Kaleb James, Linda Morse (incumbent), Maureen Sheahan, Mary Renee Shirk, Sarah Siders and Vincent Tracy.
The two candidates with the highest amount of votes will receive four-year terms. The candidate with the third highest amount of votes will receive a two-year term.
There are currently five candidates running for four USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden Board of Education seats.
These candidates are Kristin Brighton, Joseph Dasenbrock, Darell Edie (incumbent), Curt Herman and Brandy Santos.
The forum is sponsored by the American Association of University Women. It can be attended in person or listened to on News Radio KMAN and newsradiokman.com.
In addition to putting on these forums, the LWV will be acknowledging a milestone in the relatively near future.
“The league has been around for, it will be 100 years in 2020,” Hedges said. “We were the Suffragettes and when the women got the right to vote, we became the League of Women Voters. And actually, the first League of Women Voters group was in Wichita.”
With election season right around the corner, Hedges wants voters to be informed when it comes to voter registration.
“If you have moved or you’ve changed your name, you have to re-register to vote,” Hedges said. “If you have not registered to vote, you need to get that done because otherwise, no matter how much you plead, you cannot vote and your vote won’t count.”
She points out that when people actually go in to vote, they need to be sure to have a government-issued I.D. with them. For students, this means that while a public-school I.D. will work, a private-school I.D. will not.
Hedges also says a resource people can use to be sure they are informed on where candidates stand on certain issues is vote411.org.
“For people who aren’t able to attend a forum but want to have one perspective of where the candidates stand, that is a good place for them to look,” Hedges said. “And again, that’s www.vote411.org. That’s also a good site to register to vote or find out where your polling places are.”
People can also register to vote at the Riley County courthouse or through websites such as rileycountyks.gov or voteks.org.
The deadline for registering to vote is Oct. 15th. The first day for advanced voting or submitting mail-in ballots is Oct. 16th.