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The League of Women Voters of Asheville and Buncombe County announced today that it has scheduled candidate forums on four consecutive Monday nights in September and October. Three forums will coincide with the newly drawn State House/Buncombe County Commission districts, and one will include candidates for state and local offices who are running county-wide.
According to League president Karen Oelschlaeger, “The need for so many public forums is critical this year. In 2012, for the first time in its history, Buncombe County voters will not vote for an entire slate of County Commissioners, but will elect commissioners by district instead.”
Under a newly passed state law, the county now has three commissioner districts, and voters will elect two commissioners for their own district; the commission chairperson will still be elected county-wide.
Oelschlaeger pointed out, “County Commission districts 1, 2, and 3 correspond with NC House districts 114, 115, and 116, so each district will have its own forum.”
All the forums are on Monday evenings.
The first forum, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at Ferguson Auditorium on the AB Tech campus, will offer voters a chance to see and hear candidates for Buncombe County Commission Chair and for the county Board of Education. In addition, county-wide candidates for Register of Deeds and the Soil & Water Conservation District, as well as State Senate candidates, have been invited to set up information tables for a “Meet & Greet” before the forum.
On Oct. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. candidates from the downtown area (County Commission District 1 and State House District 114) will meet the public and discuss issues in Lord Auditorium at Pack Library, at 67 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville.
On Oct. 8, candidates from east-side District 2 and District 115, running from Weaverville in the north to Fairview in the south, will face the public at the Black Mountain Library, 105 N. Dougherty St., from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
On Oct. 15, District 3 and District 116 candidates, from the west side of the county (Leicester, Candler, Enka, Biltmore Forest, Arden, Skyland) will participate in a forum at the Skyland Volunteer Fire Department at 9 Miller Road (at the intersection of Hendersonville and Long Shoals roads).
When the legislature redrew district lines earlier this year, the county and state House districts were designed to coincide. As a result, many residents are no longer in the same House district as they were in previous elections. Voters who are not certain which district they are in can visit the League’s one-stop election information website, at Vote411.org, where by typing in their street address they can learn exactly which districts and offices they will be voting in this fall. This knowledge will be especially useful because state Senate districts have also changed, as have Congressional districts; while, for decades, Buncombe County was the heart of the 11th Congressional district, in the 2012 redistricting Asheville was moved out of the 11th district into the 10th, based in Gastonia.
For more information about the League of Women Voters and its fall forums, visit the League website at ablwv.org or call 828-258-8223.
Calendar of League of Women Voters Forums, Sept-Oct. 2012
Sept. 24 6:30-9:00 p.m. County-wide
Ferguson Auditorium at AB Tech, 340 Victoria Rd.
Meet & Greet for countywide offices -- Board of Education, Register of Deeds, Soil & Water Conservation District board -- and for NC State Senate. Q&A for Board of Education. Forum for Chair, Buncombe County Commission
Oct. 1 6:00-8:00 p.m. District 1 & 114
Lord Auditorium Pack Library, 67 Haywood St. downtown Asheville
Candidates for Buncombe County Commission Dist. 1, NC House Dist. 114
Oct. 8 6:30-8:30p.m. District 2 & 115
Black Mountain Library, 105 N. Dougherty St., Black Mountain
Candidates for Buncombe County Commission Dist. 2, NC House Dist. 115
Oct. 15 6:30-8:30 p.m. District 3 & 116
Skyland Vol. Fire Department., 9 Miller Rd. (where Long Shoals meets Hendersonville Rd.)
Candidates for Buncombe County Commission Dist. 3, NC House Dist. 116