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Council Discusses Candidate Debate During College Park Election

At last night’s meeting, the Council had a discussion with Jack Robson, Chief, Board of Election Supervisors about what the City’s and the Board of Election Supervisors responsibilities should be in respect to debates between candidates for Mayor and Council. 

During the 2015 city election process, the City’s civic associations planned to host a debate between the two candidates for Mayor.   The Leagues of Women Voters was contacted and asked to moderate a debate. 

The Leagues of Women Voters agreed to moderate, however, at the last minute the moderator stated they could not proceed unless the debate was being organized /sponsored by the City or the Board of Election Supervisors.  Fortunately, Calvert Hills and Old Town did sponsor a candidate night which included a debate between the mayoral candidates, moderated by a Yarrow resident.  

Mr. Robson recommended that the Board of Election Supervisors not be involved and that a City workgroup be formed to establish a procedure for handling debates.

Moving forward, it would be beneficial to have a procedure in place for handling debates between candidates for elected office in the City.  The City’s Charter and Code do not address the issue.  The City Clerk conducted a survey of how other municipalities handle candidate.   

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