Explaining why candidates’ video was abandoned

To the editor:

Responding to Mary McDaniel’s letter to the editor in regard to the video that Oberlin Community Candidates Night planned to produce and air prior to the Candidate’s Night forum itself: The assertion that the project was undone by incumbent candidates’ non-participation is false.

The OCCN committee, in our eagerness to embrace a new idea in a short timeframe, failed to follow best practices of non-partisanship as guided by the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Specifically, the procedure used for the video did not conform to the rules established by the OCCN committee, following best practices of the LWVUS, for conducting candidate forums. (Notifying candidates in writing well in advance of an event, providing each candidate with the exact same information in writing, ensuring that no single candidate is approached individually by a committee member outside the parameters of the written document). Additionally, one candidate was told that he could submit a two-minute answer to the common question (to be read by someone other than the candidate on the video) since he would be traveling and unable to make the scheduled filming times. This violated OCCN/LWVUS policies, in effect, by allowing the candidate to send a representative.

Since so many best practices were not followed, and the appearance of partisanship could not be avoided, the project had to be abandoned.

We look forward to a lively Oberlin Community Candidates Night on Monday, Oct. 26, which will be broadcast live by the Cable Co-op and re-broadcast through the end of Election Day, Nov. 3.

Diana Steele and Elizabeth Aldrich

Co-Chairs, OCCN Committee