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Founded in 1920, the League of Women Voters has an unique grassroots network of volunteers and activist in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Indiana is home to 24 local Leagues. The Montgomery County League, formed in 1947 has more than 160 members and is the second largest local League in Indiana. As a political organization, the LWV is non-partisan and encourages informed and active participation in government. All local league members are automatically a member of the LWV of Indiana and LWV of United States.
The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles: voter service and program study and action. This column will address voter service which is to present unbiased, nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process and the issues. The LWV works to encourage Montgomery County citizens to be registered, informed about the elections and to vote.
In 2018 a special active voter services committee, chaired by Myra Dunn Abbott, has implemented additional plans to promote voter registration and support ways to increase number of voters participating in the election process. A mobile unit with all the needed equipment-tables, chairs, signs, card holders and forms was created and set up at monthly Lunch with the League to garner support from League members. The active voters service team can been seen at local events with tables, blue tablecloth, signs, brochures, Focus on Montgomery County, Political Directories, voter registration forms and recently added temporary vote tattoos. A new LWV informational card was created listing all voting information and highlighted the specific areas on voter registration form that are required information. This makes it much easier to fill out and helps to ensure that all the necessary information is completed.
In 2018 and throughout 2019, the active voter service committee focused on three groups of citizens: senior citizens, seniors in high school and everyone else. For senior citizens, the committee helped them get registered and vote by coordinating with Meals on Wheels, the Sunshine Van, the Paramedic program and senior communities. For seniors in high school, the committee contacted all three high schools in the county, connected with government teachers and also registered students to vote during their lunch hour. Dozens of students were registered.
For the general public, League efforts were divided into: registering people to vote and encouraging them to actually vote. Registering to vote has a deadline and it is always prior to early voting. The committee set up a booth at many events throughout the county. Registration forms were then hand-delivered to the clerk’s office at the courthouse.
The committee works closely with Karyn Douglas and Alexa Richardson at the courthouse. Once they receive the voter registration forms from the LWV, they issue and mail a voter registration card to the person who filled out the form. If missing information is noted, the clerks make a concerted effort to locate the person and get the required information. This success has registered more than 550 people. Of all the men and women eligible to vote in Montgomery County 60.5% are now registered to vote. But efforts will continue to reach out to those who have not yet registered.
A future LWV column will feature League efforts to increase voter participation.
For more information about the League, visit the website www.lwvmontcoin.org or send a message to LWV, P.O. Box 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.