The local Midcoast chapter of the League of Women Voters deserves credit for its good work this election season.

The League is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that works to educate the voters as to where, when and how they can vote in each election. They also have been very active in creating candidate forums, public events very similar to candidate debates, where members of the public can ask the candidates questions about the important issues.

Recently at Rockland City Hall, the League organized forums featuring Rep. William Pluecker, I-Warren, and Republican challenger Crystal Daggett Robinson of Hope. The race is for the House District 44 seat that represents Hope, Union and Warren.

They also held an event at the same venue for House District 43 in which Rep. Ann Matlack, D-
St. George faces a challenge from Republican Heather Sprague of Cushing.

The League provided printed information about the election process and the candidates. It came prepared with questions on important topics including the economy and allowed questions from the public.

These events are not easy to organize. There are a lot of logistics involved in getting the busy candidates in the same place at the same time and finding a moderator. In addition, people take politics seriously and emotions run high at these events. Both of these forums experienced some disruption from members of the public who were there to attend.

Moderators in these public forums try every year to explain that the goal of a candidate debate or forum is to hear from the people who are running for office. Members of the public want to get up and make speeches, but they are not the ones who will serve in the State House after the election, and so this really serves as a distraction from what the event is all about.

Moderator Ann Luther was patient, followed the rules she set out at the beginning of the event, and kept the debates on the rails. She was a volunteer, but she did this difficult work like a professional.

The thing to remember is that these people are all volunteers. The local folks who work with the League of Women Voters do this as a service to us. They do other things too like make sure that our local election clerks feel valued and help people register to vote.

We would like to say a big “Thank you” to this organization for its leadership and dedication. Here’s to the helpers and the volunteers who give their time and often get little but criticism in return.

We also appreciate the candidates who agreed to participate in these events. While the League wanted to hold such events for all of the local candidates, these were the only two local House races where all of the candidates agreed to participate. In the future we hope to see more candidates talking openly and debating the issues with their opponents.

The Camden Herald editorial board collaborates on a matter of local interest.