Celebrating its 97th year, the League of Women Voters (LWV) has been busy. Whether it is registering people to vote, advocating to protect the right to vote, or working with officials to improve elections on a local level, LWV has a deep history of empowering individuals to see how their votes make a considerable difference in their lives.
Maggie Bush, Programs and Outreach Director at LWV, is helping drive work with more than 300 volunteer teams in communities across the 50 states to get people registered to vote before their states’ deadlines in the fall. September is National Voter Registration Month and September 26 is National Voter Registration Day. Independent Sector and the LWV are both partners of National Voter Registration Day, a 50-state holiday–held on the fourth Tuesday of September, where thousands of organizations and volunteers organize to ensure members of their community including family, friends, and neighbors are registered to vote.
Maggie said that personally asking the people in our lives about whether they are registered to vote or to update their voter’s registration, “has a major effect.”
As a nonprofit, LWV also understands the power of partnership with other nonprofit organizations, particularly those providing direct services to ensure more people have the opportunity to cast their vote.
“The role of our sector cannot be understated when it comes to voter access,” said Maggie. “The people nonprofits work with are often the least likely to have been asked to register and vote, and most likely to be caught up in laws that make voting more difficult. Our sector is vital especially in today’s environment.”
LWV grew out of the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century but has seen renewed interest in its work since the presidential election in 2016. Maggie said that they have welcomed the enthusiasm and have continued their long tradition on protecting every citizen’s right to vote. While a legacy organization with deep roots in communities through the affiliate network, LWV welcomes collaborating regularly with organizations and activists new to the voter rights’ space. Maggie said they are thrilled that there has been increased grassroots enthusiasm and a national spotlight shown on these issues.
When it comes to encouraging people to get engaged in advocacy on this issue, Maggie said that the key is to ensure that people see the connection between public policy, voting, and daily life.
“Our fundamental challenge is to connect the dots between the act of voting and how it affects the inner workings of our daily lives,” Maggie said, “We believe as an organization that when our electorate looks like the communities we live in, when it reflects the diversity and wide range of interests in our communities, we’ll have better representation and better public policy.”
To learn about LWV’s voter engagement resources, visit vote411.org.