Don’t tell anyone, but there might be some local election momentum building.
The proof won’t materialize until sometime late Nov. 6 or early Nov. 7, of course, when Kootenai County voters’ ballots will be tallied. Yet there’s a good feeling that the abysmal turnout of May’s primary might really be a thing of the past.
Part of the credit goes to the League of Women Voters, who orchestrated a fabulous pre-election event this week and are working hard to convert bystanders into active citizens. Like speed dating, the LWV hosted something called “Candidating,” where 16 candidates were paired with small groups of citizens in five-minute spurts. We heard from several candidates and a bunch of citizens that the intimate opportunity was extremely valuable. How much can you learn from a candidate in five minutes? Maybe not a lot, but certainly more than you’d learn in zero minutes. And in some cases, prospective voters said they left the event with a different mindset than when they entered. That sounds like a success to us.
Last week, Kootenai Environmental Alliance hosted a forum featuring candidates for county positions, and on Sept. 25, the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast forum on health care. In mid-September, The Civic Engagement Alliance’s first Civic Action Festival attracted more than two dozen candidates and political groups, a major victory for organizer Jessica Mahuron and the community at large.
With the election just three and a half weeks away, there’s more in store.
On Oct. 20, The Press will publish its Voters Guide. The guide will go to all subscribers and to everyone who purchases a copy of that day’s paper in grocery stores and elsewhere.
On Oct. 23, The Press is sponsoring a forum at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m. that is expected to feature all of the local candidates for legislative seats from Districts 2, 3 and 4. The only likely exceptions are Ron Mendive, a Republican who is unopposed; Democrat Pat Lippert, who acknowledged this week that he had his name added to the ballot as a “placeholder” and is not a serious candidate; and Alanna Brooks, who is listed on the ballot as a Democrat but whom the Democratic Party is calling a fake.
The Coeur Group is also planning a forum for county office seekers Oct. 25 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the library. More on that when details are finalized.
National midterm elections might be all the rage, but the decisions most likely to affect your day-to-day life are much more likely to be made by the candidates featured in these local forums. We encourage you to attend as many as you can so you can vote as wisely as possible.