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Local debates see higher attendence

More Indiana voters are turning out for candidate debates this primary season.

After more than 450 people showed up for the  debate between the Democratic candidates for the second congressional district in South Bend, organizers moved the final debate from the IUSB Elkhart Center to the Lerner Theatre. More than 350 came to the debate in Elkhart.

Organizer Elizabeth Bennion said usually only the candidates core supporters show up. In the 18 years the League of Women Voters and the American Democracy Project have hosted the debates, she said they haven’t seen this many people.

“This is a huge number of people who are turning out and this is the first time I’ve seen that level of interest and involvement during a primary season.”

Bennion said she thinks a lot of people are participating out of anxiety or fear. She said that not really a good thing, but it is getting people involved and she says participants seem to feel like they can make their voices heard.

“It does wake people up, make them pay attention and mobilize them toward action and I think that’s some of what we’re seeing this year.”

Bennion says they will hold more debates after the primaries. She says they’re planning on booking bigger locations to fit all the participants.

The organizations have have one final primary debate between the candidates for Elkhart County prosecutor Wednesday at 6:30 at the IUSB Elkhart Center. There is a final meet the candidates event on April 24 at the St. Joseph County Public Library main branch.

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