LWV takes a harder line on political debates

A small, but significant announcement in Winona this week could start to stem the tide of politicians calling the shots when it comes to debates.

The League of Women Voters’ Winona chapter, with permission of the state chapter, announced that if a candidate backs out of a debate, the debate will go on anyway, the Winona Daily News reports.

For years, if a candidate didn’t show up at a debate, the debate was canceled. This allowed the LWV to maintain some display of impartiality in not favoring one candidate over the other. But it also gave too much power to manipulate public information to the candidates, demanding concessions in exchange for their appearance.

“It is unfair to voters for any one candidate or party to deprive voters of the opportunity to hear first-hand where candidates stand on issues important to them,” Stephanie Nutall, the Winona chapter’s president, told the Daily News. “This policy change respects the time and interests of voters and candidates in attendance.”