GUIDELINES FOR QUESTION SORTERS

 

1. Try to have at least 2 Sorters.  Any co-sponsor may be invited to have a representative. A league member must serve as a Sorter. There must be at least one experienced member who should lead the Sorters if possible.

2. The Sorters may meet before the candidate forum. If Sorters are experienced, the procedure may be explained at a short meeting immediately before the forum. Every Sorter should receive a copy of these Guidelines.

3. At the forum, Runners may distribute cards to audience for questions before and during the forum. Cards may be 3x5". (Have pencils, too.)

4. Be prepared with several questions on the issues. If you do not have valuable general questions from the audience when the meeting reaches the question/answer period, use the prepared ones for starters. 

5. Each Sorter should take a number of questions. Read through them and divide by: 

  • Inappropriate questions.  Put aside but do not let them look abandoned.  Throw out questions that are personal attacks, that are irrelevant to the office for which candidates are running, ridiculous, or not clearly stated. 
  • Good general questions. 
  • Good questions to specific candidates. (Some Leagues do not permit questions to specific candidates to prevent unequal time for any candidate. We strongly recommend that each question be answered by each candidate.) 

Then combine the above categories:

  • Best general questions on top. 
  • Avoid duplication of questions. Questions may be combined if they are asking the same question in a different manner.
  • Select a variety of subjects/issues.
  • Do not avoid controversial issues.

6. Ideally, questions are sorted so that the best general questions are first. Enough should be taken to the Moderator to fill the time.   As soon as the Sorters have three to six questions, they should be taken to the Moderator so the meeting flows uninterruptedly. The Moderator will only accept questions from the lead Sorter so that no "bogus" questions slip past the Sorters. Continue sorting. 
Do not take inappropriate ones, but the Moderator should be told if any are being withheld. Return all questions to the Moderator at the close of the forum.

7. Include issues/ questions of local concern for county, state, and federal candidates. 

8. Include "good government" questions and fundamental questions such as "How do you see the job of representative of the people?" 

9. Where possible, convert questions for one candidate into a question for all candidates.

10 Rewrite questions that are barely legible so the moderator can read them without a struggle!! 

11. Make sure microphones near you are OFF. (The card shuffling and whispers between sorters as they work through the questions can disturb the proceedings).

12. Maintain a neutral demeanor. (Watch facial expressions. Keep whispers between Sorters to a minimum).

13. Keep an eye on the clock.  Try to determine which question will be the last one and mark "LAST QUESTION" clearly on that card.