The Macon County News is teaming up with the Smoky Mountain News to host candidate forums and meet and greets this election cycle at the Macon County Public Library. 

With no formal agency or organization in Macon County, such as the League of Women Voters, existing in the county today, both news publications believe it to be imperative to host forums and public events for voters to have the opportunity to get to know candidates. 

For the first of a series of forums, candidates who will have a primary election this May will be the focus. For Macon County, that means Macon County Commissioner’s District I, incumbent Commissioner Jim Tate and challenger John Shearl, as well as Democrats vying for the United States Congress District 11 seat. The forum will feature questions from event moderators as well as a public questions and answer session. This event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Macon County Public Library. 

Because this will be the first in a series of forums, and the first opportunity voters will have to meet several of the candidates who will appear on the November election, all candidates in the November election, for all offices, have been invited to attend the forum for the candidate meet and greet at 5:30 p.m.

Early voting for the Tuesday, May 8 primary kicks off on Thursday, April 19. From Thursday until Saturday, May 5, voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots ahead of Election Day. Voters heading to the ballots will be given the ballot for the party in which they are registered. Unaffiliated voters will have the opportunity to pick either a Republican or Democrat ballot in order to cast their votes.