Most local political races will be decided a month from today, as the primary elections will determine the winner of all but two Forsyth County seats.
With the July 15 primary fast approaching, many political and community organizations are holding public forums to introduce candidates to the community.
Several similar gatherings have been held since the end of qualifying in early May.
The Federation of Forsyth County homeowners welcomed the three candidates for sheriff, while the Forsyth County Democratic Party played host to its two candidates for public office.
At least six more events, all open to the public, are scheduled for June, with the hosts Smart Growth Forsyth, the Forsyth County Republican Party and the Republican Women of Forsyth County.
Smart Growth Forsyth County, a community action organization focused on managing growth, is holding a Board of Education forum Tuesday.
The forum, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bridle Ridge subdivision clubhouse, is open to the public.
"This is not really a quote debate," said Jerry Wickliffe, who will moderate the event. "We ask each one of them a question and we ask each one to respond. We try to make sure it doesn't get personal between the candidates."
Candidates have two to five minutes to respond and are limited to the topic at hand.
The forum's purpose is twofold: let the public ask direct questions to potential and current board members, and give candidates an understanding of parents' concerns.
Residents can submit questions only through the organization's Web site. Questions, which must be received in advance, can't get too personal.
"We're not going to get into any, 'I don't like my principal. How can I change my principal?' We're not going to get into those issues," Wickliffe said.
The issues likely will be different at a forum Smart Growth is holding later in the month.
The group has invited all 11 candidates for county commission to field questions from moderators at its event, which is set for 7 p.m. June 26 in the South Forsyth High School performing arts center.
The public can submit questions prior to the debate via e-mail. In addition, there will be a booth at the event where attendees can turn in questions.
Smart Growth also has held "meet the candidates" forums for all election hopefuls this spring.
Organization volunteer Claudia Castro said many of the moderators' questions will be "based on issues specific to each district."
County commissioners and school board members qualify by district, but are elected countywide. Some contests feature three or four candidates. If needed, runoff elections would be held Aug. 5.
"It's open to the public, and anybody who wants to come is welcome," Castro said of the forum.
Eight of the 11 candidates have RSVP'd for the debate. The meet and greet begins at 6:30 p.m.
Perhaps the largest pre-election event will come June 21, when the Republican Women of Forsyth County hold an all-day forum.
The event will run from 9 a.m. until at least 1 p.m. in the Otwell Middle School cafeteria, said Lyn Ward, club president.
"We'll just have to see how many questions there are to know how long it will last," she said.
Each candidate will have five minutes for introductions and one minute for rebuttals. Candidates will then field audience questions.
There is no set schedule for each office, though the event will begin with county commission candidates and end with school board candidates.
"We wanted people to be able to gather in one place and hear all the candidates who are interested in speaking to the public, to come and compare them," Ward said. "I think it's an easier way to do it, rather than going to each individual race."
The Forsyth County Republican Party has planned three separate forums, on June 18, 26 and 30, all of which will be held in the commissioners' meeting room in the county administration building.
All 10 Republican county commission candidates are scheduled to participate in the June 18 event, said Susan Miller, party recording secretary.
District 5 candidates will speak at 6 p.m., with District 4 candidates at 7 p.m. and District 2 at 8 p.m.
The June 26 forum will be a debate between school board candidates, while the June 30 forum will include the races for clerk of court, coroner, probate judge, sheriff, solicitor general and tax commissioner. Both forums will begin at 6 p.m.
Having three separate debates, Miller said, will "give an adequate time for the candidates to really speak."
Miller expects some people who focus on one group of candidates, for example the school board, may attend only one event.
"But I think that for the most part, during an election year, the majority of the candidates hold positions of influence, and they'd like to be informed in all areas," she said.
Staff Writers Lara Moore and Frank Reddy contributed to this report.