League of Women Voters | Rochester Metropolitan Area, Rochester, NY

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Candidate Event Policy

The League of Women Voters organizes and hosts candidate events in order to:

  • Educate the public about the issues in the campaign(s);
  • Provide an opportunity for voters to witness candidates discuss those issues face-to-face;
  • Stimulate public interest, and participation, in the election(s); and,
  • Provide an opportunity for the public to engage the candidates.

The League believes these purposes are best served by adoption of nonpartisan, objective, and understandable written criteria for candidate inclusion. To that end, the League will apply the following guidelines for determining:

  1. whether candidates have the right to participate in League-sponsored events, and
  2. event operating rules.

I. What events are covered by this policy
Any event with candidates present is included in this policy, regardless of what it is called (forum, debate, meet and greet, coffee, etc.)

II. Races for which LWV-RMA will host candidate events
It is at the discretion of the LWV-RMA Board and its Candidate Event Committee to decide for which races to hold candidate events.

A. In a primary election race, an event among one political party’s candidates for a given office is seen as a distinct and separate event.

B. Holding an event for one office does not bind the League into holding an event for another office. However, in a race for an office where multiple parties are each having primary elections to choose their candidates, we will seek to offer all parties the same opportunity to have an LWV-hosted candidate event.J

III. Who shall be invited to candidate events
Only candidates on the Board of Elections posted “List of Candidates” for the relevant election (primary, general, etc.) and office will be invited and allowed to participate. (Office is specific – that is, Rochester City Council – South District.) In other words, a candidate must be on the ballot for the particular office in the upcoming election to be invited.

All candidates on the Board of Elections list for the selected office (and party, if it is a primary) will be invited. We will not restrict the forum to “major” parties or candidates with sufficient rating in polls or by any other criteria.

A. Primary elections
Only candidates in the party and the office for the which we are holding the forum will be invited. 

IV. No “one candidate for an office” event

A. If there is only one candidate running for an office we cannot hold a candidate event.

B. If only one candidate running for an office accepts the invitation to a candidate event, we must cancel the event for that office. (If we are having an event for multiple districts, candidates in the other districts may participate.)

C. A candidate may not have a representative take his/her place.

D. If only one candidate shows up at the event, the event must be canceled.

E.  If more than one party holds a primary for an office and only one party has more than one candidate accept our invitation, we can hold a forum for that party and not for the other parties.

V. Candidates may not refer to prepared notes, whether paper or electronic.
The sponsors will provide paper and pens for use during the event.

VI.  Candidates agree to conduct the debate in a civil, fact-based, issue-oriented manner.
Candidates will not be allowed to question one another.

VII. Campaign materials
No campaign signs, buttons, literature, marked clothing, or any other campaign-related paraphernalia will be permitted to be worn, displayed or distributed inside an event venue, meaning both the room and the building,  whether for one of the event participants or any other candidate for any office. People will be asked to remove hats and buttons and either cover a shirt or go to a restroom and turn the shirt inside out.

VIII. Media releases/social media
LWV-RMA will provide information to the media and public. We may include the names of those who have accepted our invitation, those who declined, and those who did not respond. For those who declined the invitation, we may include the reason offered.

Media releases and other publicity will include the League’s nonpartisan statement and policy against “one candidate for an office” events.

IX. Candidate event co-sponsorship guidelines
It is important that LWV-RMA maintain its nonpartisan position when co-sponsoring a candidate event. The first step in agreeing to co-sponsorship is to review the other organization’s mission statement to ensure that its goals are consistent with those of the League.

Any organization co-sponsoring a candidate event must meet the following conditions:

  • endorse no candidate for any office
  • follow the League’s guidelines for candidate participation
  • agree to accept the League’s standards and guidelines
  • treat the candidates equitably

X.Video Recording
Only those specifically authorized by LWV-RMA may record our candidate events. LWV-RMA owns the content of each candidate event and may post a recording of it in its entirety on League media. Any use of the authorized recording requires the advance approval of LWV-RMA, except that co-sponsors may post

the recording in its entirety on their websites. Only licensed media, including TV, radio and newspapers are entitled to air portions of this recording, in keeping with Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations. Anyone else who airs this recording may do so only in its entirety. No one is permitted to publicly display edited footage.
The candidate will take responsibility for his/her campaign’s actions regarding recordings. 

This recording/taping policy includes live streaming.  Only LWV-RMA can live-stream an event.

XI. Agreement
This policy will accompany the invitation to candidates to participate in a LWV-RMA candidate event. By accepting our League’s invitation for a proposed debate, candidates and their campaigns agree to abide by and support all these guidelines.  All candidates will be required to sign a form stating that they have read and accepted the conditions stated above.


Adopted by the Board of Directors on September 5, 2019

P.O. Box 10573 · Rochester, NY · 14610
585.262.3730 · info@lwv-rma.org