- Contact someone at City Hall for space and KTOP: pick many more dates than needed, locate alternate videography if necessary (ask Ekka, Xpressions College), explore YouTube use of our videos: how, who, length, etc.
- Emails and follow-up letter (texting helps also) to each candidate (can't do until the filing deadline; need list of offices up for election plus candidates. Registrar of Voters had SOME candidates listed but not immediately.) When finalize dates, have each candidate sign a form agreeing to no campaigning and no campaign literature inside each venue. May need phone calling to get all candidates on board. For finalizing dates, if major candidates say yes, and all candidates have said yes for at least one forum, then OK not to have lesser candidates sometimes.
- Create excel file/google doc for dates/candidate availability.
- Contact potential volunteers and ask for availability on all dates; add which role they prefer to have: needs are 2 question sorters, 2 timekeepers, 1 question collector. Be very clear between asking about availability and assigning them a date/role; be sure to confirm whether they are needed or not. Always have at least 2 question sorters. If you are short staffed, coordinator can be a question sorter. Solicit plenty of volunteers to choose from.
- Contact potential moderators early (before other volunteers; they can do other roles but not vice versa) and ask about availability dates . (If experienced, they will come with their script. If new, send them a script if they need it.) If we are co-sponsoring, the moderator is the best contact with the group or at least a good person to be in the loop.
- Utilize separate online Doodles to schedule volunteers and moderators.
- Gather supplies 2 weeks ahead of first forum; be aware to replenish supplies (eg. water, cups) if necessary. Be sure LWVO badges are available and banner. Paddles, pencils, 2 timers, 3x5 cards, name tags for candidates (need to print names on computer, attach to cardboard tents in the box), water, cups, spare moderator script, bring whiteboard to write a schedule of evening to place outside the door.
- Solicit questions early from every direction; have a stockpile in case audience questions don't work. We have old questions in forums box. Have at least 5 cards written out ahead for each forum.
- Have a point person for each event.
- When we are contacted by a group to co-sponsor their forum, they are responsible for the location and contacting the candidates. If they ask just for a moderator, they are wrong; they are really asking for everything (? sorters, paraphernalia, etc.) They are responsible for space, publicity, candidates, videotaping (if desired)
- Candidates need to agree in writing that they will not use any or all of videos in their campaigns. Problem in the past: be sure to get candidate signoffs that they agree to no candidate literature, no campaigning inside the venue.
- Communications committee needs to be told dates, candidates, etc for all forums so they can publicize. Do this with as much lead time as possible.
- Have at least 2 main coordinators; works well to have one do steps I-V and other do actual forums, although if number of forums is large, a 3rd person would be best: 1 candidate contactor, 1 volunteer contactor, 1 coordinator of events would be a fair division.
- All of the viable candidates for the featured office will be included.***
- A format will be chosen which will give each of the candidates a chance to speak with time limits and which will be fair to all of the candidates.
- There will be a timekeeper to monitor time limits. The timekeeper will raise a card when the speaker has 30 seconds left, and a card when time has lapsed. Upon time limit expiration, candidates will relinquish the floor.
- Candidates who choose not, or are not able, to participate in the forum may not send a substitute, but may submit a brief statement, which will be read by the moderator.
- Written questions from the audience will be screened by a question sorting committee
- The people who serve as moderator, interviews, question sorter, etc., will have no connection with the candidates or with issues that any of the candidates are strongly identified with.
- No candidate literature/paraphernalia will be displayed or distributed in the meeting room. This means that candidates and their supporters will be asked not to wear any campaign badges, tee shirts, etc. during the forum. After the forum, candidate literature may be placed on the tables provided outside the meeting room.
- In forums in which the League is the lead sponsor, we reserve the right to have the final say on ground rules. In those initiated by other organizations where the League is a co-sponsor, we reserve the right to publicly disassociate ourselves with any forum that is not non-partisan.
*** Candidates not adhering to the forum ground rules will be considered out of order. Penalties may include immediate loss of microphone privileges and exclusion from future League sponsored forums.