By the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Debates between local candidates will happen online this week, just in time for the start of Washington’s general election process.
The two days of debates will be Tuesday and Thursday, starting at 6:30 p.m. and going to approximately 8 p.m.
The first day will feature debates between candidates vying for 16th District legislative spots. Two of the three races do not feature incumbents.
In the state Senate race, Democrat and former Sherwood Trust CEO Danielle Garbe Reser will debate Republican Perry Dozier, a farmer and former Walla Walla County commissioner.
In the race for state representative Position 1, Republican Mark Klicker, an agricultural entrepreneur, will debate Democrat Frances Chvatal, a registered nurse. Both candidates are first-time political hopefuls.
For Position 2, incumbent Republican Skyler Rude will debate Carly Coburn, a progressive Democrat, political organizer and activist.
Day two will feature Walla Walla County races.
In the race for Walla Walla County commissioner District 1 seat, Republican Roger Esparza, a real estate agent, will debate Jenny Mayberry, also a Republican as well as a volunteer firefighter and owner of Hot Mama’s Espresso.
For Walla Walla County Superior Court judge Position 1, attorney and Superior Court Commissioner Mike Mitchell will debate attorney Brandon Johnson.
There are two county positions with unopposed incumbents that will not require debates: Republican Todd Kimball running again for the District 2 commission seat and M. Scott Wolfram running again for Superior Court judge Position 2.
The debates will be aired live online for anyone to watch via Zoom, hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce website at wwvchamber.com. Organizers request registering on the website a day in advance, but it is not required.
The debates will also be streamed live on the Chamber’s Facebook page, but questions for the candidates can only be submitted while watching on Zoom. The Spanish translation will also be available on Zoom.
Questions will be fielded as long as time allows.
The forums will be conducted in a debate style with the candidates each having 60 seconds to answer the question with a 30-second rebuttal time.
The debates are being presented by the Walla Walla branch of the American Association of University Women with sponsorship from the Chamber, the Union-Bulletin and the Walla Walla Association of Realtors, in partnership with Blue Mountain Action Council, La Voz, the Whitman College Department of Politics, the Walla Walla Latino Alliance, the Walla Walla County Democratic Party and the Walla Walla County Republican Party.
“A benefit of having the forums online is that it will also be recorded and available to view later if you are unable to participate in the live event,” AAUW Walla Walla President Kathy Jones said.
“You are encouraged to share the link with your friends and family to reach as many voters as possible prior to the election.”
Jones said the mid-July primary forums reached well over 3,000 people, mostly from viewers watching the recording later.
The forums will also be streamed on the branch’s website at wallawalla-wa.aauw.net and their Facebook page.
Early voting in Washington begins Oct. 16. The Secretary of State’s office will deliver ballots via mail at least 18 days before Election Day, Nov. 3.
Ballots must be mailed — or postmarked — by Nov. 3, but the U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing at least a week early, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
According to the website, it is best to ask your postal carrier or local Post Office what time is best to mail your ballot.
However, on Election Day, it is recommended to drop off your ballot at a drop box rather than put it in the mail. Drop boxes will remain open to the public until 8 p.m. Nov. 3.
Drop boxes are located at the Walla Walla County Courthouse, the county Elections Center, Walla Walla Fire Station No. 2, College Place City Hall, Columbia Elementary School in Burbank, Waitsburg City Hall and the Touchet School District building.