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October 30, 2013


Election Shenanigans

We were told one town board candidate asked an organizer of an upcoming debate in Springs for a list of the questions she would be asked in advance. Apparently, this practice is fairly commonplace. The CCOM has long been suspected of packing the audience with people who ask loaded questions. The League of Women Voters approve questions to be asked in advance, or at least they did when they asked our editor to be a moderator years back. We said no, we'll ask our own questions, thank you. Our elected officials need to act in real time there is no time for rehearsals. Keep that in mind when choosing which candidates to vote for.

Illegal Campaign Contributions

Last week the East Hampton Republican Committee accused the East Hampton Conservators, a political action group, of illegally buying ads for local Democratic Party candidates. During the summer, the Democrats accused Republican Dominick Stanzione of not disclosing the source of revenue used to but political ads. The Office of Congressional Ethics reported Congressman Tim Bishop changed the dates of the name and donor of a $5000 contribution. And Linda Kabot has accused Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst of misfiling several times.

What do all of these incidents have in common? Nothing meaning the Board of Elections has done nothing about any of them. In fact, over the years we can't recall the BOE ever doing anything about these kinds of accusations.

We have no way of knowing if violations did occur, but we know one thing it's easy to accuse anyone of anything. What's for sure is that as long as the BOE sits on its hands, these perceived violations will occur more and more frequently, as will accusations of wrongdoing, even if they have no foundation in fact. If the BOE isn't going to enforce its own regulations, what is the point of having them?

  1. print email
    LWV Hamptons Debate Practices
    November 05, 2013 | 11:29 AM

    This letter is in response to the recent editorial in The Independent which criticizes two alleged debate practices: giving candidates questions ahead of time and having a large group of audience members asking pre-planned, skewed questions. Your editorial states: “The League of Women Voters approve questions to be asked in advance….”
    The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons agrees that candidates need to respond in “real time” as you state. Our questions, therefore are never given to the candidates beforehand, nor could they be since they are chosen at the time of the debate itself.
    As for approving questions in advance, the League during the debate, i.e. “in real time”, asks the audience to submit questions and a panel vets those questions to avoid repetition, to select ones with more general interest and rarely to simplify or clarify.
    There are three sources of the questions at a League debate: the audience, the League and invited media members. The media representatives come with their own questions which the League has no knowledge of prior to the event and only confer “in real time” with other panel members so that each asks different ones, reflecting the vetting standards.
    This has been the practice of the League for at least ten years. We regret the fact that the representative of The Independent misunderstood these practices and, as a result, declined to participate in our important, respected and well-attended debates.


    Carol Mellor
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