Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

Voter Services

Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@ aol.com

During the past year, it became evident that past LWVNYS voter guide policy on CANDIDATE NIGHTS needed to be clarified and amended. Leagues were confused as to whether different kind of events, i.e,debates, forums, meet the candidate nights, etc. all needed to follow same rules. Many local leagues had questions and were confused as to the different rules for candidate nights for federal candidates vs other candidates. While we had stipulated that there could be no “Empty Chair” for federal candidates based on FEC and FCC regulations, we had only strongly recommended that all leagues do the same for other candidates. There were leagues that followed our recommendations and there were some who did not. Thus, there was not one format all leagues followed. Inconsistencies can only lead to confusion.

The LWV has always been recognized as being the experts in running candidate debates. Now with the polarized political climate, it is more important than ever that we continue to be the gold standard. The LWVNYS board, after careful consideration of both the intent and wording, has voted unanimously to adopt these two policies.

LWVNYS Policy on Voter Services: Candidate Events and Primaries (adopted July 2017) It is extremely important that all leagues throughout New York state speak with one voice, have clear and consistent policies, and adhere to our nonpartisan policy. Therefore “open or empty” chair candidate meetings will not be allowed at any level of League for any elected position. Any League sponsored public event that invites a candidate for elected office will be considered a candidate meeting. A candidate meeting with only one candidate physically present is an “open or empty” chair candidate meeting.

Any league holding a candidate meeting for a party primary for elected office, must offer to hold a candidate meeting for any party that has a primary for that elected office. This will ensure that the League is not perceived as supporting or opposing a party

About the author