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      Ottumwa League of Women Voters to hold forum for school board candidates

      The Ottumwa School Board election is two weeks away and if you'd like an opportunity to meet the candidates for yourself, the Ottumwa League of Women Voters will be holding a forum on September 5 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

      All six candidates will be attending and will have the opportunity to introduce themselves for two minutes before taking questions from the League and the audience. Anyone attending can write their questions down on a paper to be read aloud to the forum.

      Jean Dell of the League of Women Voters said the group is encouraged that so many candidates are running, but hope that eligible voters show up on election day September 10.

      "A lot of citizens blow this one off and they don't vote," Dell said. "Traditionally, it's had the lowest rate of return and I think we need to work on improving that."

      Polls will only be open for voting from noon to 8 p.m. September 10, so those who typically vote before work will not be able to do so. However, you can participate in early voting at the auditor's office in the Wapello County Courthouse, or file an absentee ballot up to 5 p.m. on Friday, September 6. Regardless of how you vote, it is important that you do vote, as this election is as important as any other.

      " The school board election is the most direct form of democracy that we have," Dell said. "The people who serve on the school board are directly elected by the citizens of our community, unlike, for instance, state offices and the national offices, we elect a representative to speak on our behalf. This is direct democracy."

      September 5 is also the day of Liberty Elementary's ribbon cutting and open house, which takes place at the school from 5 until 7 p.m, so everyone who is invested in Ottumwa's education will be able to attend both events. Dell also encourages parents to bring their children with them to polling places when they vote, so kids can learn from an early age the importance of voting.