The League has a tradition of organizing candidate forums at which the general public can ask candidates about issues of concern. Usually these forums are held in public places and questions can be asked face-to-face, although televised forums are also presented. This year the website YouTube is offering a variation on this formula, and perhaps the League could learn from their experiment. They have opened a category of questions to be asked of candidates at the Democratic presidential candidate forum to be held on July 23 on CNN. Questions are posed in videos and cover topics including health care, global warming and Iraq. Most of the questions are serious, although not all. Ordinary citizens show deep concern about the government issues that affect their lives. For the televised debate, CNN will chose some of the questions posed. Even though this is a limited experiement, the technique shows promise for the future. Why couldn’t the League invite videotaped questions for local candidate forums? Not everyone can attend public meetings, and this technology offers a way for a wide range of interaction between citizens and candidates who might not otherwise get to know one another. It’s well worth taking a look at some of the videos. Many of them offer a heartening glimpse of how serious and concerned many people are about how our government is working.
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