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Candidate forums will be held virtually this season

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As in past years, The Mountaineer is sponsoring candidate forums that will be featured on our website and on the Haywood County government access television channel.

Because of COVID-19 rules, we won’t be able to have an audience or family members at the filming to watch the forum, so all will have to be watched virtually.

We have changed the forum location to the Canton Armory to allow for better social distancing and eliminate the need for sharing microphones. Thank you Canton for co-sponsoring this event and making it possible to allow local political candidates to better share their views during these challenging days of COVID-19.

We will be disinfecting the candidate space between each segment, and there will never be more than 10 people in the building at once, so we feel as if we have reduced the risk to the lowest level possible so candidates can remain healthy and on the campaign trail right up until Election Day.

During the forum, candidates will be given a 1-minute opening to explain why they are running for office and what they hope to accomplish.

In each of the races, four questions will be posed to the candidates. Again, we are inviting readers of The Mountaineer to submit specific questions they would like to see candidates address.

We have arranged for Southwestern Community College to share their debates on candidates seeking the N.C. 11 Congressional District seat, the N.C. Senate District 50 seat and the N.C. House District 119 seat.

The Mountaineer will be filming candidates for the two count commissioner seats up for grabs, the lone 30th Judicial District race where Kaleb Wingate and Justin Greene will square off, the N.C. House District 118 race and the hotly contested school board races.

The forum will be filmed Sept. 9, so be sure to submit suggested questions no later than Monday, Sept. 7.

We are jumping into candidate coverage earlier than usual this year since many voters are applying for an absentee by mail ballot. The actual ballots will be sent out Sept. 4. (Those who think they have received a ballot already have not. These mailings many have received are simply forms to request a ballot.)

By moving up candidate coverage, we are hopefully ensuring voters will have all the information they need to make an informed selection in the races that will count the most — those that are closest to home.

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