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The Cayuga County political machine is in full motion.

As voting day in November looms closer and closer, residents will have the opportunity to get a firsthand look at the candidates' policies on pertinent issues in the coming weeks leading up to the election.

Candidates from a number of contested races within Auburn, its surrounding towns and the county will match wits with their opponents during a number of public forums in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, the IGNITE Young Professionals group from the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce will host a public forum for this year's Auburn City Council race as part of their IGNITE the Vote! campaign for the 2013 political season.

All five City Council candidates — Terry Cuddy, Chris DeAngelis, Bill Graney, Debby McCormick and Matt Smith — have confirmed plans to take part in Tuesday's IGNITE the Vote! forum at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn.

Attendees will submit their questions prior to the event, and the organization will see to it that as many questions as possible are answered.

IGNITE had opened up a related online survey for interested parties weeks before the forum, where participants also submitted questions to be answered by the candidates.

More than 70 inquiries were submitted through this survey, which staff members will have to sort through before Tuesday's forum, according to Dan Lovell, IGNITE chairman.

"Our goal is really to create the most informed electorate as possible," Lovell said.

Many of the questions people have for the candidates have to do with economic development strategies, quality of life issues and public safety concerns, especially with the city's fire department, Lovell said.

The event 's moderator will be communications professional Greg Munno, president of the Newhouse Doctoral Association at Syracuse University.

As it is only a two-hour forum, not every question will be read and duplicates will be condensed into single, comprehensive inquiries, Lovell said.

The chairman said the forum is a good opportunity for people to meet these candidates in person to see just how they handle and react to various questions and concerns about the city's future.

"These candidates will probably go from home to home to meet people one-on-one, but they probably won't get to meet everybody," he said.

The 2013 IGNITE the Vote! Auburn City Council forum will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 74 State St., Auburn. The event is free and open to the public. A cash bar will open at 5:30 p.m. preceding the event.

Another council forum is planned next week by the Wednesday Morning Roundtable, a group of area business and community leaders that meets monthly to hear presentations and discuss local issues. That forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Cayuga Community College is also hosting a number of televised forums in October not only for the council race, but also for contested races on the county Legislature and town supervisor races in Sennett and Owasco.

The televised forums, which will also be posted to auburnpub.com, have been tentatively scheduled to start in the second half of the month, with the Auburn City Council forum scheduled toward the end of October.

As of Monday, Cuddy, DeAngelis and McCormick confirmed plans to take part in the televised council forum at CCC. Smith and Graney have not yet responded to the invitation.

For county Legislature races, Keith Batman and William Heary have confirmed they will participate in a debate for the District 7 seat, while Tim Lattimore and Susan Marteney have said they will take part in a District 13 TV forum.

In the race for the District 3 seat, David Axton has confirmed he will take part but Benjamin Vitale has not as of Monday. Steven Barski has agreed to participate in a District 11 forum but Frank Reginelli has not said if he will attend.

Both candidates for Owasco town supervisor, Ed Wagner and John Socci, have agreed to a TV debate. In the Sennett supervisor race, Jeff Herrick has said he will participate while Thomas Gray has not responded.

A complete schedule of the TV debates is expected to be released later this week.

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Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or greg.mason@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

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