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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    What’s Going On: Now it’s time to dive into the Top Five

    The Day’s new election series called Beyond the Polls, which seeks to engage readers in the most controversial issues of the day, will continue over the next couple weeks with meetings in Stonington, Old Lyme and New London.

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    The intent of the meetings is to have residents weigh in on what local citizens identified in our first series of meetings as the Top 5 issues for our readers in this election cycle. The top issues were: protecting democracy, foreign policy, immigration and border policy, the environment and climate change, and the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation.

    Meetings sponsored by The Day will be held during the following dates and times: 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, at New London Public Library; 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in Old Lyme, and 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at Stonington Free Library.

    These free, open meetings will allow the time and space for people to give their points of view about any or all of these important issues that will help identify our next president, as well as informing upcoming elections for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. You may also get a chance to hear viewpoints that are rarely expressed in public and challenge your own beliefs in interesting ways.

    This will be a discussion, not a debate. Ground rules call for speakers, who may be videotaped at their discretion, to address the moderator, not each other, and that crowd reactions are kept to a minimum. Comments will be recorded for use in future articles, and names will be used with permission from participants.

    In addition, we are asking readers unable to attend these meetings to email us their opinions on the Top 5 issues. Please respond to the following questions by emailing your thoughts on one or more to Election2024@theday.com. You can also send us a letter to: Lee Howard Election Series, c/o The Day, 47 Eugene O’Neill Drive, New London, CT 06320.

    Defending democracy can be looked at in many different ways. For some, it could involve expansion of voter rights, worries about threats of violence to election workers, concerns about laws and procedures that make voting more difficult, or worries that people are actively trying to steal elections or won't honor the will of the democratic majority. How do you define the problem, and why do you think it is so important (or not so important) to defend democracy? Who among the presidential candidates, in your mind, would do the best job in defending democracy in the United States and abroad?

    Foreign policy concerns could cover a wide range of issues, including support for our allies, foreign aid, foreign entanglements and support for democratic countries. Hot spots include Ukraine, Gaza and Taiwan. Why do you think foreign policy issues are so important, and what would be your priorities when considering whom to elect for president?

    Immigration concerns and border policy have been in the news lately as a large number of people try to enter the United States illegally or seek asylum from despotic regimes. How should the president handle the overflow of immigrants? Should Congress enact legislation, and what would that look like? Have you felt the effects of immigration locally in some way? Which presidential candidate has the best approach to immigration and border policy, and why?

    Climate change and the environment are near the top of people's minds as the problems now are more broadly recognizable. What are some policy steps that should be taken to help the environment? Are electric cars part of the solution, or more nuclear energy as well as wind, solar and hydropower? Are there local environmental issues you are most concerned with? Which presidential candidate is more likely to deal with climate change and environmental issues?

    Misinformation and disinformation continue to erode our faith in democracy and in each other. Sources include social media, but also some mainstream media outlets. What can be done to ensure that disinformation has less effect on the populace without disturbing the fundamental right of free speech? Are there steps the government should take against outlets that allow disinformation to flourish and, if so, what would those steps be? Which presidential candidate do you believe will take the threat of disinformation most seriously, and what do you base your belief on?

    We hope to see you at one of our voter forums. But if you are unable to be with us in person, please share your views by email.

    Lee Howard is The Day’s business editor and the moderator of its voter forums.

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.