The reflection of flags in the windows of Siemens Hall on the HSU campus on September 20, 2019 | Photo by Thomas Lal

Humboldt Election Forums Are Going Virtual

In order to keep up community involvement, Eureka and Arcata city councils go online.
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In order to keep up community involvement, Eureka and Arcata city councils go online.

There are 32 local races and nine measures that Humboldt County residents will be voting on this year.

With so many decisions to make, it’s important to educate ourselves as much as possible. One easy way to get informed is through forums, which are all online this year. Forums are meetings where people discuss ideas and views on a specific or various issues.

There are 15 community organizations who have come together to host a series of forums, Humboldt Candidate Forum. One of the organizations is Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities. Its Executive Director, Colin Fiske, said, “these forums are important because local elected officials make decisions that can deeply affect people’s everyday lives and our collective futures, but there is relatively little information available to voters in local elections.”

President of Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, Inc. (AHHA), Nezzie Wade said, “The main goal of these candidate forums is to provide a platform so that the voters and our community can learn about the people running for office and their thoughts on issues or solutions.”

Wade added, “The topic AHHA chose to cover with the candidates includes whether they are willing to work with non profits on non traditional options or alternatives for shelter and housing.”

Two forums have passed and both can be found on Access Humboldt’s YouTube channel. The first forum, held on Sept. 18, featured the nine candidates running for two wards for the Eureka City Council. The second forum was held on Sept. 25 and included the 10 candidates running for the Arcata City Council.

The final one will be held on Fri., Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. for candidates from McKinleyville and Humboldt Community Services Districts. The organizations will be asking the candidates questions on various topics. It will be broadcast on YouTube, television Channel 11, radio station KZZH, and Humboldt Candidate Forum’s Facebook page.

David Cobb from Cooperation Humboldt spoke on the significance of this forum, stating “The most important thing about this candidate forum is that it brings together a diverse group of social change agents…who are engaging the electoral process to ensure that our voices are heard.”

To learn more about the candidates running in Eureka and Arcata City Councils and ask any questions, visit Lost Coast Outpost’s General Election Page. You can also read previous questions and answers there and even register to vote.

Information on the nine measures being proposed can be found Humboldt County’s Official, Local Measures page. You can read an impartial analysis for each, as well as arguments in favor of and against. Some include Measure F, a special tax to support the Arcata Fire Department, and Measure B, which would increase the total number of affordable housing units in Arcata, and more.

“We won’t have a voting location on the HSU campus this year, due to COVID, it’s a closed campus,” according to the Humboldt County Clerk, Recorder, Kelly Sanders. Voting Assistant Centers and Ballot Drop Box Locations are still being finalized, and updated information can be found on the Humboldt County official website.

“All registered voters in Humboldt County will be mailed a Vote by Mail ballot to ensure a safe and accessible voting option during the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Sanders “Mailing of Vote by Mail ballots will begin on October 5.”

With the Coronavirus still prevalent, mailing your ballot is the easiest way to vote this year.

Sanders recommended students refer to Humboldt County Qualified Candidates Presidential General Election Page for a complete list of races and the Local Measures page for all measures happening in Humboldt County.

If you are 18 and older and haven’t registered to vote yet, make sure to do so on the official Humboldt County website.

“While national elections get the most attention, local elections are also really important. I hope everyone tunes into the forums, educates themselves on the candidates and the issues, and votes,” Fiske said.

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