Any opportunity to discuss the issues that matter most to voters is in the public interest. Cancelling this event is a loss for voters and a missed opportunity for all the candidates. Research conducted on voter behavior and participation shows that, not only does the public expect candidates to participate in voter education activities, but also that voters are more likely to vote when they know who the candidates are and where they stand on the issues. So when candidates choose not to participate, it is the voters who are harmed.
"Just like our elected representatives, candidates for public office should be responsive to citizens," said Jill Ward, President of the League of Women Voters of Maine. "Civil, public discourse is an integral part of our political system. When our leaders - or those who want to be our leaders - won't participate in public discussion, the democratic process is weakened."
Despite this unfortunate development, the League continues to encourage citizens to vote and take part in the political process. And we will continue to reach out to all political parties and work with them on the issues important to Maine citizens.