FACT SHEET FOR CANDIDATES’ FORUMS WORKERS
MODERATOR(S): The moderator sets the tone and gives directions to the candidates and the audience. The moderator is also responsible for the speaking order.
QUESTION SCREENERS: Usually we have two or three League members to look over the questions submitted by the audience and review them for duplication and balance. It is important to avoid personal attacks on candidates. Questions screeners may have to rewrite some questions so that they make sense. In many cases, question screeners have had to generate questions themselves when they have asked all of the audience’s questions and there is still time left in the forum schedule for questions.
TIMER: The timer must be able to use a stop watch. The timer holds up a STOP sign when time is up for the candidate to speak and may hold up a 1 minute or 30 second sign as a warning if the time frame warrants it. It is very important that ALL candidates have the same amount of time for speaking and/or answering questions.
SUPPORTERS: Two to four helpers from the League or the other participating organizations hand out and collect index cards and pencils so audience members can write out their questions.
The forum format is always the same for each candidate, and the script, which is provided to the moderator, does not deviate from accepted League procedure.
Generally, candidates will have an opening and closing statement and a set number of minutes to respond to each question. Times are determined by the moderator and forum planners depending on the number of candidates and the time allotted for the forum.
The speaking order for the candidates is done by either the flip of a coin or a drawing of straws. Opening and closing statements are done in reverse order so whoever opens first, closes last. If there are over three candidates, once the opening speaker has been determined, questions are answered by candidates in alphabetical order, rotating first responses to questions among the candidates.
It is extremely important that all League members remain totally non-partisan during candidate forums. No comments of a partisan nature, even to other League members, should be made.
*SPECIAL NOTE: If taping occurs during a candidates’ forum moderated by The League of Women Voters of Volusia County, it is announced to the candidates and the audience that any such recording MUST be shown in its entirety and nothing in the recording is to be construed as being endorsed or promoted by the League of Women Voters of Volusia County. We pride ourselves with being a non-partisan organization with a rich history that endorses neither candidates nor political parties.