Monday, October 16, 2006

LWV Withdraws Sponsorship from Candidate Debates Withdrawl_Sponsorship_Debates101306.pdf
October 13, 2006

"The voters of New York State deserve better," stated Marcia Merrins, President of the League of Women Voters of New York State (League), in announcing the League's withdrawal of sponsorship from a debate between candidates for the office of Attorney General to be hosted and broadcast by WXXI in Rochester on October 17, 2006. Similarly, the League withdrew sponsorship from two debates to be hosted by WABC in New York City. The first is an Attorney General debate scheduled for October 15. The second is a debate between candidates for the United States Senate scheduled for October 22. All withdrawals were necessitated by League policy, which requires an invitation be extended to each candidate whom the League has determined to be a bona fide contestant. In the case of the US Senate race, the League Board of Directors determined incumbent Senator Hillary Clinton, Republican nominee John Spencer, and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins to be bona fide contestants. Similarly, the League determined Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, Republican nominee Jeanine Pirro, and Green Party nominee Rachael Treichler to be bona fide contestants in the Attorney General's race.

Merrins explained that the League adopted its policy for candidate inclusion in League-sponsored debates prior to commencement of the electoral season to keep debates free from the vagaries of the political process. Merrins noted that the League is committed to maximization of public debate by all candidates for public office. Once a candidate has complied with the League's criteria for inclusion in a debate, the League cannot sponsor a debate from which that candidate is excluded. To act otherwise would violate the League's fundamental belief in the public's right to know.

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