Community forums to address nonpartisan elections

Nonpartisan Elections Citizens Committee is planning two forums to help educate local voters.

The Nonpartisan Elections Citizens Committee is planning two community forums that will focus on the question of whether Hopkinsville should switch to nonpartisan city races. 

Committee members worked through some of the forum details during their regular monthly meeting Thursday night at the Memorial Building.

The first forum will have several speakers from outside Hopkinsville. They will likely include two political science professors, someone from the Kentucky League of Cities and representatives from two cities that have partisan elections and two cities that have nonpartisan elections. Local residents who attend the forum will be able to submit questions for the panel of experts. 

The goal is to have speakers who can help educate the public in a “non-biased manner,” said committee chairman Rich Maddux. 

In the second forum, local residents will be able to share their views about the pros and cons of partisan and nonpartisan elections. 

Maddux said the committee will try to get the first forum scheduled before Thanksgiving, but the members conceded the holidays could cause scheduling delays as organizers try to find a date that suits several participants who will need to travel to Hopkinsville. 

Committee member Faye Hendricks said the city needs to make video recordings of the forums to share online as a way to reach more people. However, the members agreed they do not want to stream the forum live on Facebook. They described the comment section on Facebook videos as distracting and counterproductive.

The committee was appointed in April and began meeting this summer. When they finish their work, the members are directed to submit a report of their findings to Hopkinsville City Council.

Mayor Wendell Lynch formed the committee after vetoing a nonpartisan election ordinance the council adopted on July 7, 2020, by a vote of 6-to-5. 

Community forums to address nonpartisan elections

Jennifer P. Brown | Hoptown Chronicle

Jennifer P. Brown is co-founder, publisher and editor of Hoptown Chronicle. You can reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org. She spent 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Kentucky New Era. She is a co-chair of the national advisory board to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, governing board president for the Kentucky Historical Society, and co-founder of the Kentucky Open Government Coalition.