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WKMS Offers 2020 Election Voter Guide

WKMS is offering a comprehensive 2020 election voter guide that can be accessed via the homepage.

With less than two weeks away until election day on November 3rd, WKMS is offering a comprehensive 2020 election voter guide to better educate and inform the general public on information found on this year's ballot. WKMS news director Rachel Collins speaks with Tracy Ross about the new guide.

To access WKMS' 2020 Election Voter Guide, visit the homepage. A link to the voter guide can be found under the top three featured news stories. "Click on the spot that says 'read more,' and it takes you to every article that we as the newsroom have published," Collins explains. "[The guide includes] what's going to be on the ballot...that most of you are actually already voting on. We can't even call it the November 3rd election ballot this season because most of you are already out there voting. We just wanted to make sure that everyone had the information they need in order to make the decision that they feel is best in their communities."

One race covered in the 2020 voter guide is for the Court of Appeals. "Right now, it's held by Chris McNeill. Jenny Hines is running against him," Collins says. "We interviewed both of those candidates and talked to them about where they stand and the various issues facing that office."

"We also put a spotlight on the Marshall and Calloway County Family Court Judge candidates. That's a race that's been talked about quite a bit in the community," she continues. "We dug into what each of the candidates believe and in the duties of that particular judgeship. We tried not to take for granted that everyone who might be casting a vote knows exactly what the job description is and what sort of decisions those candidates might be making. We tried to dig into those things also."

The voter guide explains constitutional amendments found on the 2020 ballot. "What we found when we started digging in and doing research on these is that there were many voters who didn't even realize that these constitutional amendments were going to be on the ballot. One of them is Marsy's Law...and the other is an amendment that seeks to extend judiciary terms and the experience requirements for Commonwealth attorneys and district court judges. We spoke to people on both sides of it -- the people who are advocating for this measure and the people who say voters should proceed with caution," Collins says. 

"We also did a massive, comprehensive piece on the state representative races in our coverage areas," Collins adds. "There are eleven districts in our coverage area, and we reached out to the candidates in all of them. We did receive several responses, which is encouraging. It's always encouraging to me when the people who are seeking elective office reach out and engage the media because we, of course, are advocating or the community."

"One of the things we asked about was police reform, law enforcement reform, and how they felt about those measures. Across the board in every office we've asked, the answer we keep no one supports defunding the police. No one supports bashing police. And no one feels like police overall are doing a bad job.  Everyone does seem to agree that we could do better in requiring mental health care for our law enforcement officers; that's something that came up over and over again. And incentives for racial inclusion training [and] de-escalation tactics that result in less violence within law enforcement agencies. Those are the costs of things that we kept getting by and large across the board: better training, better mental health, and incentives for police departments that behave in 'ethical and nonviolent ways' that are able to manage successfully policing their communities with less violence."

"Each candidate that we surveyed had the opportunity to tell us which issue they felt was the most important for their particular district," Collins continues. "Most, if not all, of those candidates are hyper-concerned about economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. They are concerned about the small businesses in their area...infrastructure...local government. The education system -- K-12, universities, higher education -- has been told not to anticipate as much state funding as they are accustomed to receiving, and that they should already be planning on that cut next year."

"Dr. Jackson [president of Murray State University] told WKMS during a recent interview that was going to equate based on projections to about 3.5 billion dollars in funding cuts just for this one education community. That's a huge amount of money. When we start thinking in terms of smaller communities that were already struggling to find funding for even small infrastructure projects -- roads, bridges, sewers, water lines -- that's going to be a really major issue moving forward. That's something that all of the candidates are worried about: how they're going to take care of their people in their districts with fewer funds than they had before."

"I hope our listeners are able to see all the hard work that we put into trying to ask the tough questions and dig into the issues that we feel are important to you all based on the information and feedback that we receive. I hope you all see how hard we work to try to give you the best information you can order to make the decisions that are important to you. These decisions are important to us as well. We are all part of the same community," Collins concludes.

Find the WKMS 2020 Election Voter Guide here or on the homepage.

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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