Empty Chair Policy

League of Women Voters of Larchmont/Mamaroneck
“Empty Chair” Policy Governing Candidates’ Forums

Adopted September 2017

 

Federal Office:

Unopposed Candidates:  Due to FEC and FCC laws, an unopposed candidate for Federal office may not appear at a candidates’ forum.

Contested Elections:  When more than one candidate for a Federal office appears on the ballot and only one candidate appears at the LWV L/M forum, then no candidate for that office will be permitted to participate in the forum. If there are more than two candidates for a Federal office, the forum may be held as long as there are at least two candidates present to participate.

Cancellations:  In the event that a forum must be cancelled, the moderator can and should make a statement in the beginning of the event explaining why the specific forum was cancelled, citing the reasons given by the absent candidate(s). If no reason is given, the moderator should simply state that the LWV L/M was told by the candidate or his/her campaign that the candidate would not be appearing, or that there was no response to the invitation to participate. The moderator can then introduce the candidate(s) in the audience whose forum(s) was (were) cancelled. The candidate(s) can stand and be recognized and, although not allowed to speak at that time, can speak individually to the voters following the formal part of the event. Additionally, the moderator may read a brief statement submitted by the candidates as long as at least two candidates have submitted statements and those statements comply with time guidelines within the discretion of the LWV L/M.

State and Local Office:

Unopposed Candidates:  Unopposed candidates for State or Local office may be allowed to appear at a candidates’ forum, at the discretion of the LWV L/M.

Contested Elections:  When more than one candidate for a single State or Local office appears on the ballot, the forum may be held as long as at least two candidates agree to participate.

If there is an at-large election for more than one of the same position in a Local election, the following policies apply: if there are two at-large positions, a forum may be held if three candidates agree to participate; if there are three at-large positions, a forum may be held if four candidates agree to participate.

Notwithstanding the above, if, after agreeing to participate, one or more candidates pull out of a forum, and, in the discretion of the LWV/LM, rescheduling is not feasible, the forum may be conducted with fewer candidates or only one candidate. If the forum is conducted, a statement by the candidate(s) who pulled out will not be read. However, the LWV/LM may also choose to cancel the forum

Cancellation:  In the event that a forum for a particular office must be cancelled, but there are forums occurring for other offices at that time, the moderator can and should make a statement in the beginning of the event explaining why the specific forum was cancelled, citing the reasons given by the absent candidate(s). If no reason is given, the moderator should simply state that the LWV L/M was told by the candidate or his/her campaign that the candidate would not be appearing, or that there was no response to the invitation to participate. The moderator can then introduce the candidate(s) in the audience whose forums were cancelled. The candidates can stand and be recognized and, although not allowed to speak at that time, can speak individually to the voters following the formal part of the event.

Additionally, in the event of cancellation of a particular forum, and in the sole discretion of the LWV L/M, the moderator may read a brief statement submitted by the candidates as long as at least a minimum number of candidates have submitted statements and those statements comply with time guidelines within the discretion of the LWV L/M. The minimum numbers shall be as follows: two candidates in a race for State office; two candidates in a race for one position in a Local office; three candidates in an at-large race for two Local positions; four candidates in an at-large race for three Local positions.

 




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