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Candidates’ forums will highlight an active year for the League of Women Voters

LWV_logoFor the League of Women Voters, election time is an exciting and busy time of year.  The election ballot will include more candidate races and ballot measures. Take your time voting to ensure you vote for all races and ballot measures.

New Election Cycle
Election 2014 begins with a new election cycle for most local communities. Municipal elections were previously held in March and May. Beginning with the 2014 election, municipal elections held in the same year as state and national elections will be held at the same time as those elections — the primary election will be held on Aug. 26 and the general election on Nov. 4.

The League of Women Voters’ election season begins with registering new voters and re-registering voters who have moved or changed their names. Throughout the state, we are planning voter registration events at many different venues — libraries, farmers markets, fairs, retirement centers, college campuses, etc. Also, you easily can register to vote online at servicearizona.com/Voter Registration or get a mail-in form at post offices, libraries, Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) offices and Department of Economic Security (DES) offices. The last date to register to vote for the primary election is July 28, and for the general election, Oct. 6.

Primary Elections
Primary elections are for political parties to choose their candidates to run in the general election. Each party therefore has its own ballot. In Arizona, voters registered as “independent” or “no party preference” can vote in a primary, but they only can vote one party’s ballot. Voting in the primary election does not change their “independent voter” status.

The League of Women Voters of Arizona has produced a public service announcement focused on “independent” voters that will be aired on local broadcast and cable stations, radio stations, and YouTube throughout July. Spread the word! Those registered to vote “independent” or “no party preference” can vote in the primary election.

If you have any questions about registering to vote, call your county’s elections department or contact the League of Women Voters of Arizona at 480-966-9031 or at www.lwvaz.org.

Informed Voters
Being an informed voter is a key tenet of the League of Women Voters. And the best way to know about the candidates is to ask them questions about issues important to you, the voter. Candidates’ forums and debates will be hosted by the League of Women Voters in many communities throughout Arizona. Forums may include races for state representatives and senators or local races for mayors and councils. Attendees at forums can present questions to the candidates, learn about their key issues, and about why each candidate is running for office.

You also can inform yourself about the candidates by reading the sample ballot you receive in the mail or by reading the newspaper. Discuss choices with your family and friends. Read the publicity pamphlets on candidates and issues mailed to you by the Secretary of State’s Office and the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. Read voter guides published by the League of Women Voters and other organizations you trust. Watch a variety of news sources on televisions or listen on the radio. Go to each candidate’s website to read his/her positions on the issues.

Candidates’ Forums
For the primary election, Arizona Public Media, in partnership with our league in Tucson, will be taping a candidates’ forum for Republican candidates running for governor. The forum will be held on July 30 in Tucson. Broadcasts of the forum will be aired throughout Arizona on local public broadcast TV and radio stations, local cable stations and YouTube. A list of times for the broadcasts will be available on the league’s website at www.lwvaz.org after July 30.

For the general election, Arizona Public Media and the League of Women Voters will be taping — for broadcast — forums for candidates running for the Arizona Corporation Commission, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction and secretary of state beginning Sept. 16 through Oct. 14. A forum for candidates running for governor is scheduled for Oct. 9. Again, these forums will be available statewide through local public TV and radio stations, cable stations and YouTube.

Voter Guide
Also, the League of Women Voters will produce a Voter Guide for measures on the general election ballot. This guide presents an easy-to-understand analysis and background on the ballot measures along with the “pros and cons.” The guide will be available in print or online as a downloadable document on the League of Women Voters website.

The League of Women Voters was founded by activists who secured voting rights for women in 1920. We believe that every citizen has the right to vote. We work to protect and enhance voting rights for all Americans and to assure opportunities for citizens to become informed voters.  Remember — Voting is Your Right — Use it or Lose it.

— Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer is president, League of Women Voters of Arizona.

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