Tonight may prove to be the most watched debate in the history of politics.  People are going to tune in in record numbers, many of whom having never even voted in an election before. The amount of interest being generated  is amazing as everyone wants to hear what their candidate has to say, while hoping that their candidate’s opponent screws up and answers a question incorrectly or embarrassingly.

The Florida Statutes don’t require the candidates that run for the Board in your community debate each other.  At best, in a condominium, each candidate can submit an informational sheet about themselves that gets mailed to the voters along with the ballots.  In an HOA, you often don’t ever get to learn anything at all about a candidate because nominations are usually taken from the floor.

A few months ago, I attended a “Meet the Candidates” night in a large condominium in Aventura where I was also asked to serve as the moderator for the evening.  The candidates were seated in front of a large audience and the audience members took turns asking the candidates questions.  Of course, every now and then, there was some screaming and shouting.  However, on balance, it was one of the best meetings I have ever been to in a community.

Prior and current Board members were held to account for their prior actions and persons running for the first time were asked how they might have handled a situation differently. Everyone running for office was forced to face the questioning and reveal their background and why they think they can handle the job.

Despite the fact that I truly thought it was a very informative meeting, I can count on one hand how many associations have a “Meet the Candidates” night in their community.  Have any of you participated in such an event?  If so, what do you think about them?  Would you like to have one in your community?

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