Making Democracy Work

Election 2018 Candidates Forums

This page provides the schedule of forums organized by LWV ABC the ground rules provided to all candidates who accept invitations, and an invitation template sent to the candidates.

SCHEDULE OF FORUMS ALPHABETICAL BY OFFICE

This lists Candidates Forums sponsored by LWV ABC. Invitations to participate are sent to all candidates. Different levels of government elections with overlapping boundaries are typically scheduled for the same date and location. For example, the forums for Columbia Heights mayoral primary and County Commissioner District 4 primary are on the same date of July 18 because District 4 includes the City of Columbia Heights.

Members of the public may submit questions to the candidates in writing at each forum. To submit a question in advance of an individual forum, use this link to write and submit on-line.

Similar questions will be compiled into one question. LWV ABC maintains full authority on which questions which will be asked.

Links are provided to provide the political boundaries for city wards, county commission districts, and state representative districts.

Recorded forums available online are indicated with an asterisk (*) in the Election Type column.

Click here for a downloadable schedule for forums

To review candidate filings for each office, use this link to access the information at the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.

See also on this website the sections Voter Registration and Voter Services to learn about, among other information, registering to vote and voting locations.

OFFICEELECTION TYPEFORUM LOCATIONTIME & DATE
Andover MayorGeneral Election*Andover City Hall7 p.m., September 5
Andover City Council At LargeGeneral Election*Andover City Hall7 p.m., September 5
Anoka City MayorPrimary*Anoka City Hall7 p.m., July 23
Anoka City MayorGeneral Election*Anoka City Hall7 p.m., September 12
Anoka Council At-Large - 3 seatsGeneral Election*Anoka City Hall7 p.m., September 12
Anoka County Commissioner District 4Primary*Columbia Heights City Hall7 p.m., July 18
Anoka County Commissioner District 4PrimaryFridley City Hall7 p.m., August 8
Anoka County Commissioner District 4General ElectionFridley City Hall7 p.m., August 30
Anoka County Commissioner, District 4General ElectionColumbia Heights City Hall7 p.m., September 20
Anoka County Commissioner Districts 4,5,7General Election*Sandburg Education Center, 1402 2nd Ave., Anoka7 p.m., September 6
Champlin MayorGeneral Election*Champlin City Hall7 p.m., August 29
Champlin Wards 1 & 2General Election*Champlin City Hall7 p.m., August 29
Columbia Heights MayorPrimary*Columbia Heights City Hall7 p.m., July 18
Columbia Heights MayorGeneral ElectionColumbia Heights City Hall7 p.m., September 20
Columbia Heights Council At-Large - 2 SeatsGeneral ElectionColumbia Heights City Hall7 p.m., September 20
East Bethel MayorGeneral ElectionMajestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE, Ham Lake6:30 p.m., October 11
East Bethel Council At-Large - 2 SeatsGeneral ElectionMajestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE, Ham Lake6:30 p.m., October 11
Fridley City Council Ward 2 (two candidates) and Wards 1 & 3 (one candidate in each)General ElectionFridley City Hall7 p.m., August 30
Ham Lake MayorGeneral ElectionMajestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE, Ham Lake6:30 p.m., October 11
Ham Lake Council At-Large - 2 SeatsGeneral ElectionMajestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE, Ham Lake6:30 p.m., October 11
Ramsey MayorPrimary*Ramsey City Hall7 p.m., July 25
Ramsey MayorGeneral ElectionRamsey City Hall7 p.m., September 18
Ramsey Council Ward 4Primary*Ramsey City Hall7 p.m., July 25
Ramsey Council Wards 1,3,4 & at large General ElectionRamsey City Hall7 p.m., September 18
Soil and Water Commissioner Districts 2 & 3General Election*Sandburg Education Center, 1402 2nd Ave., Anoka7 p.m., September 6
State House District 31AGeneral Election*Andover City Hall7 p.m., September 5
State House District 31BGeneral Election*Andover City Hall7 p.m., September 5
State House District 31BGeneral ElectionMajestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE, Ham Lake6:30 p.m., October 11
State House District 35AGeneral Election*Anoka City Hall7 p.m., September 12
State House District 35BGeneral Election*Andover City Hall7 p.m., September 5
State House District 36AGeneral Election*Champlin City Hall7 p.m.,August 29
State House District 36AGeneral ElectionCoon Rapids City Hall7 p.m., September 13
State House District 36BGeneral ElectionCoon Rapids City Hall7 p.m., September 13
State House District 37AGeneral ElectionCoon Rapids City Hall7 p.m., September 13
State House District 37BGeneral ElectionCoon Rapids City Hall7 p.m., September 13
State House District 41AGeneral ElectionFridley City Hall7 p.m., August 30

CANDIDATES FORUMS GROUND RULES

Approved by the League of Women Voters ABC Board on April 23, 2018.

1. League of Women Voters (LWV) is a non-partisan organization which promotes the active and informed involvement of citizens in the voting process. LWV does not support or oppose political parties or individual candidates.
2. LWV sponsors candidate forums to give the voters the opportunity to hear and compare candidates' stands on issues. All events are free and open to the public and the media. Questions will be gathered from various sources. As many questions as possible will be asked within the time limits.
3. In order to be invited to appear in an LWV ABC forum, a candidate must have publicly announced his/her intention to run, be eligible to hold the office and be qualified to be on the ballot. Write-in candidates for local offices may be invited if they have made a substantial showing that the candidacy is bona fide. (Bona fide might include campaign speeches, distribution of literature, press releases, issue papers, a campaign committee, website and/or headquarters.) Write-in candidates who have been eliminated in a primary are not eligible to appear in a general election forum.
4. The order of speaking will be determined by drawing numbers and the order will alternate or rotate thereafter. Occasionally the order will be randomized.
5. LWV ABC encourages members of the public to submit questions to candidates before or during the forum. Questions should strive to accomplish one or more of the following purposes:

A. Define a candidate's position on issues concerning the office to which she/he seeks election.
B. Ascertain the process or method by which a candidate has formulated positions and/or would make decisions if elected.
C. Explain the reasons for past actions or positions taken by an incumbent candidate (with opportunity for non-incumbent candidates to explain what they would do on the same issue.)
D. Determine a candidate's knowledge, background, and skills related to the office to which she/he seeks election.
6. LWV ABC reserves the right to screen questions. Our intention is, in good faith, to select questions that represent the interests expressed by the members of our audience and those who submit questions. Questions will not be asked if they are:
A. Illegible
B. On personal matters unrelated to the elective position
C. Unclear
D. Inappropriately hostile/antagonistic/belligerent or friendly/supportive/gratuitous.
E. Submitted for the purpose of making a statement rather than gaining information.
7. Questions on one issue or similar issues may be consolidated and rephrased.
8. All written questions become the property of LWV ABC.
9. If any listener feels an issue has not been adequately addressed, we urge that listener to contact the candidates directly.
10. Time limits on responses will be strictly observed. Timekeepers will hold up a card to indicate when you have 15 seconds remaining and when you must STOP.
11. A table outside the forum hall will be available for distribution of campaign literature.
12. If an invited candidate is unable or unwilling to appear on the day of the scheduled event, the forum will still be held. The remaining candidate(s) will have an opportunity to express their positions on issues in their opening and closing statements and in response to questions submitted by the audience and read by the moderator. Unopposed candidates may appear alone.
13. LWV ABC will announce to the audience the candidates who are unable to or choose not to appear.
14. No substitutes or stand-ins for the candidates will be allowed. Under extraordinary circumstances, the moderator may read a statement from a candidate.
15. Candidates are asked not to endorse another candidate during the course of their comments.
16. No statements of a personal nature about another candidate will be tolerated. A person's public record, not her/his character may be examined.
17. Candidates may bring speaker notes to remind them of key points to make, however, briefing books are not permitted. Display props are not allowed.
18. No applause or outbursts from the audience will be tolerated. The moderator has the authority to terminate the forum if warranted.
19. If seating space is a problem, each candidate will be requested to ask their supporters to yield their seats to undecided voters.
20. No campaign signs (including buttons or t-shirts worn by anyone attending) will be permitted in the forum hall. However, a table outside the forum hall will be available for distribution of campaign literature.
21. Cable TV will be taping the forum and it will be available online on Facebook, cable websites and/or YouTube and broadcast several times on appropriate cable stations. Candidates should also expect that local media and audience members may also record the event.

CANDIDATE INVITATION TO FORUM TEMPLATE

August 2018

Dear [Candidate's Name]

The League of Women Voters ABC and (co-sponsors, if any) invite you to participate in a Meet the Candidates Forum for the [elected positions], on [Date and time]. The forum will be held at the [location] and >(if appropriate) recorded and broadcast by Television Cable Company] and available online at the websites of LWV ABC and the cable company.

It is our purpose to provide voters with an opportunity to hear the candidates discuss the issues of importance to them in this election. The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose political parties or candidates for office but strives to help citizens become informed voters and advocates for important issues we have studied.

We hope that you take this opportunity for voters to get to know you and to hear your stands on issues. In order to respect the time and interests of voters and candidates who attend, even if only one of the candidates in a contested race is in attendance, that candidate will still be allowed to present their views to voters. We will conduct the forum in a manner that is neutral to all candidates. Order and approximate time of forums if more than one election forum will be featured on this date and location.

Rather than opening statements, we will start by asking these questions, for which you can prepare answers.

1. Describe your background and community involvement. (One Minute)
2. What are your qualifications and why are you seeking this office? (One Minute)
3. What are your short- and long-term goals for the future of [political boundary of elected position] future? (One Minute)

Candidates will answer questions on a rotating basis with responses of up to one minute. The LWV moderator will ask questions based on those submitted by the audience, covering as many areas of interest expressed by the audience as possible. Each section of the forum will end with one-minute closing statements.

A table will be provided for distribution of campaign literature in the entryway.

Please respond by [Recommended Date] concerning your availability for the forum. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[Name of Forum Organizer] [Name of Political Area for the Forum]
LWV ABC Voter Services
[Telephone Number]
[Email Address]

Attachments:

What to Expect at an LWV Candidate Forum
LWV ABC Candidate Forum Ground Rules

WHAT TO EXPECT AT AN LWV CANDIDATE FORUM

The following is information that is sent with an invitation to a candidate to participate in a forum.

Why participate in LWV forums?

  • League of Women Voters forums are well known for fairness and nonpartisanship and are a trusted source for voters for balanced information on candidates.
  • As a candidate you can count on LWV to treat you fairly without bias or favoritism.
  • Voters expect candidates to participate in LWV forums.
  • LWV forums are a great way to get your message out to the public as many are taped by local cable stations, aired multiple times before the election, and are available on YouTube.
  • Preparing for LWV forums can help you campaign more effectively by helping you to think through issues.
  • Exposure and name recognition is the name of the game.

How do I prepare for a forum?
  • Prepare opening questions and closing statements. Practice them with a stopwatch before a mirror so that you can present them without reading.
  • Prepared opening questions include why you chose to run, what your qualifications are, some background information about you, and what your priority issues are.
  • Closing statements often include thanking citizens for their interest, why voters would choose to vote for you, and reiterating your highest priority issues.
  • Questions from the audience, to a certain extent, can be predicted. Hot and emerging issues might be suggested by:
    a. Listening to citizens as you door knock and talk to voters.
    b. Attending meetings of the board or council you are running for.
    c. Reading the minutes of past meetings.
    d. Asking elected officials, staff, and involved citizens.
    e. Research various points of view and determine your position.
    f. Prepare talking points to use if the issue comes up in the forum.
    g. Watch an LWV ABC candidate forum from the past.

How will the forum be run?
  • Your invitation to participate in the LWV forum will spell out the specific format including timing of opening questions, audience questions, and closing statements.
  • The moderator, who comes from outside your district, will have you and your opponent(s) draw numbers to determine seating and question order. The first speaker will rotate for each response. If there are multiple candidates, order may be randomized.
  • The moderator will give an introduction to the forum and then call on you to give the answer to your prepared questions.
  • The live audience will write questions on cards and hand them to an usher.
  • LWV members will organize and consolidate the questions and give them to the moderator who will read the questions.
  • A timer will sit in the front row and hold up a "15 second" card when time is running out and a "Stop" card when you must quickly complete your sentence so the forum can move on. You will hear a "beep, beep" when time is up.

At the end of the forum the audience and LWV will applaud you for your honesty and willingness to serve.