I’m afraid that Mr. Simonetti doesn’t understand what the Shelton Voters Network voters’ guide is for — and it’s not to print letters; that’s for other media. What any branch of the League of Women Voters does in its guides is to ask one or more straightforward questions and let the candidates answer as well or as badly as they can, unedited (except sometimes for length). I don’t believe that an outside reader would ever be able to tell the political affiliation of the League member or members who develop the questions or compile the guide. Nor should they.
It’s true that there are SVN members who are working on campaigns. In the parent League (LWV of the Bridgeport Area) we’ve even had members who have run for office in their own right. We don’t ask our members to abandon their political beliefs. However, when the League does voter service, we do ask those who are campaigning or working on campaigns to drop out of active participation, and that’s what the SVN did here.
By telling his candidates to refuse to participate in the SVN voters’ guide, Mr. Simonetti was depriving them of a no-cost opportunity to get their views to the voters; and he is depriving the voters of an opportunity to compare his candidates’ answers to those of their opponents. This is sad, because his people have a right to be heard, and the voters have a need to hear them. I was pleased to learn that not all of his candidates followed that advice. But I’m left with the question: just what is he afraid of?