Erin Ledwon - Use This One

The election nears (Nov. 5), and with it comes a slew of “meet the candidates” events. These events are integral to the election process, as they allow voters to look each prospective candidate in the eye and ask them the burning question(s) that could decide their vote.

I take issue with the lateness of these events, which are typically held two weeks prior to the election. Why so late?

According to Cape May County Clerk Rita Fulginiti, as of Aug. 27, there were 5,453 mail-in ballot requests: Republicans, 2,383; Democrats, 1,785; Unaffiliated, 1,274; Conservative, 1; Green, 3; Socialist, 1; Libertarian, 5; and Constitution, 1.

The initial mailing of those ballots was Sept. 20. Voters have until Election Day to return them, meaning they can return them sooner.

Why aren’t these events being held earlier, so that those voters can attend prior to voting? If you ask me, they should be held the week that mail-in ballots go out.

Some might say that’s too early, with a lot of folks still adjusting to the new school year, etc. That’s true for some, so consider having multiple events throughout the county to give all voters the opportunity to have their questions answered.

Is one hour-long to two-hour-long event really enough time for voters to ask questions that will inform their vote? I don’t think so.

The Herald plans to cover four of these events within the next two weeks. They are:

* Meet the Candidates Forum and Dinner event, hosted by Middle Township Chamber of Commerce, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23, at the Shore Club, 1170 Golf Club Rd., Court House. Candidates running for Middle Township Committee, along with Senate, General Assembly, and Freeholder candidates will be present. There is a fee to attend.

* 2019 Wildwood Municipal Election Candidate Forum, hosted by Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce, will commence at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24, at the Wildwoods Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood. All nine candidates vying for three seats on Wildwood Commission are expected to attend.

* First Legislative District Senate and Assembly Candidates Forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Cape May County, will start at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28, at the Historic Courthouse Building, North Main Street, Court House. Senate and General Assembly candidates have agreed to participate.

* 2019 Cape May County Freeholder Debate, also hosted by the League of Women Voters of Cape May County, will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 29, at the Historic Courthouse Building, North Main Street, Court House. The four candidates vying for two seats plan to attend.

Herald print readers should be aware that coverage of the First Legislative District Senate and Assembly Candidates Forum and the 2019 Cape May County Freeholder Debate will not appear in print, as they occur past the Herald’s print deadline. However, timely coverage will be published online at capemaycountyherald.com.

We’re all in this together, so let’s work ever better to make sure we’re all informed when we step into that voting booth.

ED. NOTE: The author is the managing editor of the Cape May County Herald.