The American Democracy Project chapter at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith has scheduled a series of voter information forums that will include candidates in a city race, a statewide race, and a conversation with the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas and the Republican Party of Arkansas.
Each forum will be held on the UAFS campus and are “part of the organization’s efforts to boost civic engagement on campus and in the community,” according to the UAFS. Dr. Williams Yamkam, assistant professor of political science and chair of the UAFS American Democracy Project, said such forums directly connect candidates and political leaders with voters.
“These town halls constitute a platform for the candidates to share their respective vision with the voters, and for the voters to get to hear directly from the candidates without any biased filters. It is good for the candidates, the voters, our campus, the community, and democracy,” Yamkam said.
The first forum is set noon, Oct. 8, at the Windgate Art & Design theater, and will focus on the Arkansas House District 77 race. Rep. Justin Boyd, R-Fort Smith, Libertarian Stephen Edwards, and Democratic challenger Luke Pruitt are the candidates. The three candidates participated in a Sept. 17 forum in which school safety, gun control and government corruption emerged as the key topics.
Also on Oct. 8, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Windgate Art & Design theater, Fort Smith Board of Director – At-Large, Position 5 – candidates Robyn Dawson and Sam Price will meet with voters. On Aug. 14, Dawson, Price and Libby Piatt faced off in a primary election. None of the three were able to break above 50% of the vote, with Dawson and Price being the top-two vote getters. Dawson’s final numbers were 3,660 votes or 49.22% to Price’s 2,545/34.23% and Piatt’s 1,231/16.55%. Director Tracy Pennartz, who is not running for re-election to the seat, has endorsed Dawson.
Two of the three candidates for Arkansas Attorney General will meet with voters at noon, Oct. 11, in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Center. Libertarian candidate Kerry Hicks and Democratic candidate Mike Lee will attend. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, is not attending.
On Oct. 15, at noon in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Center, Democratic Party Chairman Rep. John Michael Gray, D-Augusta, and Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb will discuss party roles in the election process.
Sebastian County Judge candidates will participate in the final forum to be held at noon, Oct. 31, in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Center. Democratic candidate Mosie Boyd and Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, a Republican, are scheduled to attend.
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9. Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election begins Oct. 22.