Election season is here, and in coming weeks candidates for Kokomo’s mayoral seat and its city council will take part in two nights’ worth of discussion about the city’s future.

The fall’s first forum will include the three mayoral candidates vying to move into City Hall’s third-floor office. On the stage will be Democrat Abbie Smith, Republican Tyler Moore and Libertarian Michael Virgin.

The event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 26 at Havens Auditorium on the campus of Indiana University Kokomo.

Similar to this spring – extra seating had to be brought in to IUK’s Kresge Auditorium to handle an overflow crowd there to hear Republican and Democratic mayoral candidates prior to the May primary – the Smith-Moore-Virgin forum is likely to create a spirited atmosphere inside the larger Havens Auditorium venue as voters work to decide who will replace outgoing three-term mayor Greg Goodnight.

Also scheduled to appear that night are candidates for the Kokomo Common Council’s First District (incumbent Democrat Mike Wyant and Republican Jason Acord) and its Fourth District (incumbent Democrat Donnie Haworth, Republican Greg Jones and Libertarian Daniel Purvis III).

A second night of forums will be held from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 3 and will feature races for a total of five council seats.

Included will be candidates for the council’s three at-large positions (incumbent Democrats Bob Hayes and Mike Kennedy, Democrat Matt Sedam, and Republicans Matt Grecu, Kara Kitts-McKibben and Tony Stewart).

The top three vote-getters in November will take over the at-large council seats at the New Year.

Also slated to appear Oct. 3 are candidates for the Second District race (incumbent Democrat Bob Cameron and Republican Lynn Rudolph) and Third District contest (Democrat Cathy Cox-Stover and Republican Ray Collins).

A reception will be held after the October forums, allowing voters to meet candidates in non-contested races who are present.

That includes two incumbent Republicans: the Fifth District’s Cindy Sanders and Sixth District’s Tom Miklik. Neither Sanders nor Miklik will face a challenger in November.

The forums are hosted by the Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo Perspective, Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters.

This year’s general election will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at 13 vote center sites across Howard County.

Early voting, however, will begin on Oct. 8 at the Howard County Government Center, 120 E. Mulberry St., and be held there and at varying vote center locations leading up to the day before Election Day.

Residents, meanwhile, have until Oct. 7 to register to vote.

Voters can register online by visiting www.indianavoters.com. Indiana residents with a valid state driver’s license or state-issued ID card can use the website to submit a new voter registration application or to update an existing voter registration record, according to the Howard County Clerk’s website.

Another option is to mail a voter registration form.

To register or update current registration, voters need to complete and return a voter registration form by Monday. The form can be mailed to Howard County Voter Registration at 104 N. Buckeye St., Room 104B, Kokomo, IN 46901.

Voters can also register in person at the same address or at any BMV license branch if they are conducting a credential transaction, like obtaining a driver’s license, permit or ID card. Another option is to register at a public assistance office if a voter is already applying for service or assistance.

Voters can check their voter registration status at www.indianavoters.com or by calling 1-866-IN-1-VOTE.

George Myers can be reached at 765-454-8585, by email at george.myers@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @gmyerskt.

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George Myers covers city and county government. He joined the Kokomo Tribune on November 18, 2014.

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