We are once again in the election season.
The League of Women Voters has a long history of sponsoring non-partisan candidate debates on both a national and local level. Our local League continues that tradition by sponsoring debates in local election races. This year, the LWV of Larchmont/Mamaroneck sponsored debates between the two candidates for Mayor of the Village of Mamaroneck, and also for the candidates vying for the two open positions on the Mamaroneck Village Board of Trustees.
In a departure from prior practices, we took an additional step this year and also invited those candidates in uncontested races to respond in a public forum to questions from our League and the community. The candidates for Town of Mamaroneck Supervisor and Town Council, as well as for the County Board of Legislators, accepted our invitation and had an opportunity to respond to questions raised by the League and members of the community.
The decision to invite candidates in uncontested elections to participate in a public question-and-answer period stems from our dismay over the lack of contested elections in our community, a situation which we believe results in a diminution of civic dialog and participation by voters.
Our concern is not intended to disparage the hard work and commitment of those who serve in public office. Rather, it is an acknowledgment of the importance contested elections have in stimulating debate and conversation within a community. Election season affords a community the opportunity to explore the diverse and changing needs of the various segments of the population and to consider how best to utilize limited funds and resources.
Also, and not insignificantly, contested elections encourage participation by the community in the most cherished civic right of voting.
While the League cannot manufacture candidates, we have attempted to provide a forum for all candidates, including those running in uncontested elections, to exchange ideas with the voters. We encourage our community to participate, engage and, most important, vote!
Nina Cuddy and Jerri Lynn
Co-presidents of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck League of Women Voters