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      League of Women Voters to hold candidate forum Thursday

      The Iowa primary election is in less than a week, and the Ottumwa League of Women Voters is giving residents a chance to hear from the candidates of the only contested local race in Wapello County.

      State Senate candidates Steve Siegel and Tom Rubel will be taking questions from citizens at the forum Thursday evening. Siegel and Rubel are both running on the Democratic ticket and the winner of the primary will take on incumbent Republican Senator Mark Chelgren. The elected senator will serve all of Davis and Van Buren Counties and part of Wapello and Jefferson Counties.

      Though there are a few other contested races on the Republican ballot, the League is only hosting a forum for this race.

      "We did not ask any of the other contested races to do a forum because they are all state positions, like governor, and then federal positions and we don't traditionally do forums for that level," said Beverely VerSteegh, President of the Ottumwa League of Women Voters.

      The League is hoping that the forum will encourage all citizens to vote.

      "You will have the opportunity to hear a whole variety of issues addressed by the candidates and that's really what is important," said Jean Dell, Secretary of the League of Women Voters. "Our goal is to educate voters and sometimes you learn from other voters as much as you actually learn from the candidates themselves, so attending is a very, very good idea."

      The forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers of City Hall. Anyone attending can write down questions and submit them to the moderator.

      The Wapello County Auditor's Office is accepting early voting and absentee ballots until Monday, June 2 at 5 p.m. If you have any questions on how to vote before the primary, call the office at 641-683-0020.

      VerSteegh said the League will also hold forums in the fall before the November general election.

      There also has been some confusion over a Voter ID Bill in Iowa and whether or not residents need to show ID when voting. To answer those questions, the League is having Wapello County Auditor Kelly Spurgeon take questions about the voting process on June 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Market on Main.