The entire House of Representatives and dozens of US Senate and Governor’s races will be decided by voters on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4. The candidates for these offices – and thousands of others – are asking for a shot at the job of representing you. The decisions they make in office will influence public policy for years to come.
And guess what? Each of us gets to decide who gets the job!
The League of Women Voters has a long history of hosting nonpartisan candidate forums and educating the American people. Every election season, Leagues across the county hold hundreds of candidate debates and forums to help voters learn about the candidates on their ballot. Attending or watching a candidate debate is one of the best ways to prepare for casting your ballot. As a core feature of U.S. politics, candidate debates help voters learn more about a candidate and his or her stance on key issues. What’s more, debates can be fun. Here’s why you should attend a local candidate debate!
1. Candidate debates help us get informed and learn more about the candidates.
You’d never hire someone for a position without interviewing them first, right? Candidate debates let you to do just that! Debates help voters cut through the noise and get the facts by hearing firsthand about a candidate’s views and plans. Research even shows that attending a debate can impact your vote, and that Americans are more likely to vote when they feel informed about the candidates. Attending a debate is a great step to getting ready to vote! Learn more about how to evaluate a candidate.
2. Debates provide us with an opportunity for us to ask the hard questions.
Debate moderators often take questions from the audience, which means that you have the chance to ask candidates – publicly and on the record – about the issues that matter most to you. Voters deserve information from candidates. If a candidate decides not to attend a debate, it’s the voters that are harmed. We have a right to have our voices represented in government, and candidate debates help us ask the questions to determine the candidate that best reflects our concerns and values!
3. Democracy works best when we engage with it!
Our democracy thrives when all of us are engaged. Attending or watching a candidate debate is a great way for you to empower yourself and do your civic duty for our democracy, while also serving as a role model for your family and community. When you watch a debate and discuss it with the people around you – including coworkers, classmates, friends and family – you’re helping foster important dialogue about the issues that affect our lives. Hosting a debate watching party is a fun way to see how your views compare with others and to get a range of perspectives on the issues. Candidates are also often active on social media, which offers another level of interaction. Voters can live tweet debates, or follow debate hashtags to engage in deeper conversation with fellow voters and even the candidates themselves. You want to able to chime in when your coworkers are talking about last night’s debate at the water cooler – don’t miss out!
4. The candidates that we vote into office will make important decisions that affect you, your family and your community. We all must weigh in!
With hundreds of congressional seats and others up for grabs this year, the people we elect this November will make decisions that affect issues like the economy, education, security, health care and more.Election Day is just around the corner; now is the time for all of us to get the information we need to cast a ballot on November 4.
Want to attend or watch a debate in your community? Enter your address at VOTE411.org to find upcoming events and voter information in your area!