Forum led by Black leaders in Roanoke will cover candidates, positions, and early voting

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday night, the Roanoke Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated is teaming up with the Roanoke Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to host A Political Affair: Pre-Primary candidates’ forum.

Around a dozen candidates plan to attend and participate in the forum on the state, regional, and local levels.

Organizer, Ora Dickerson with The Roanoke Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, explained why this event needed to happen now.

“Civil rights are being attacked once again. So it’s very important that the citizens of Roanoke have an opportunity to see who is going to represent them.”

Dickerson says she expects a huge turnout, emphasizing the event’s value.

“It is so important that we get the word out and that we allow our candidates to present to the citizens of Roanoke what it is that they are really about and what they want to do to improve our area,” Dickerson said.

“Get your information and get out and vote, because change doesn’t happen unless we vote,” she emphasized.

According to Richard Tremaine, a man WFXR News caught up with while he was early voting, “I think it’s important to get the people you want into the primary and through the primary into the main election and the only way to do that is to vote.”

Director of Elections and General Registrar for Roanoke City, Andrew Cochran, says 71 voters showed up for the first day of early voting on Friday, April 23.

“This is the first primary that we’ve had in a while where we’ve had local candidates as well as the state-level candidates. We do have governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and the only local office for Roanoke City is sheriff,” Cochran said. “But I think that that variety of offices is what’s pulling voters out.”

The “No excuse early voting” ballots have contributed significantly to the increase in voter interest, he believes.

“For the presidential election, we sent out over 12,000 ballots, so obviously not as many as we had for then, but still that’s a pretty big number compared to the legislation that was passed,” said Cochran.

Just under 700 ballots were mailed out for people to complete for “No excuse” voting by mail.

This event is not the sorority’s first attempt at educating others about politics. This is just the latest, and the sisters are encouraging others to get registered. The final date to register is May 17.

WFXR News’ Alexandria Savage will emcee the event.

You can watch the forum here starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27.

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