Published October 21, 2008
Volume 16, Number 10

League of Women Voters Mission: Making Elections Fair and Accessible

Of all the web sites dealing with this year’s elections, the gold standard may well be www.Vote411.org. Launched by the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) in October of 2006, the site is a “one-stop-shop” for election-related information. It provides unbiased information to the public with both general and state-specific information on just about every aspect of the election process, from how to register to where to cast your vote.

According to Mary Beth Acuff, Communications Director for the Livermore-Amador Valley League of Women Voters (LAV-LWV), “the nonpartisan, carefully studied positions of the League are the backbone of individual choice amid the noise of an election year.”
“Our name is slightly misleading. Yes, we began in 1920 as a group of women dedicated to integrating women into the process of governing,” she continues, notes that in so doing, thousands of women have been brought “into the thick of governing. League membership has catapulted women from the sidelines to the center. It is no longer unusual to find a woman at the helm of an American city, a state, and, one day, a nation.”  At the same time, the organization has broadened its membership over the years to include any citizen of voting age who wants to participate in the electoral process.

The LAV-LWV is one of a network of local Leagues united in the goal of making elections accessible to every qualified voter. From the national organization to county coordinating organizations to each individual chapter, the League’s work is “to inform voters about local and national issues critical to a participating citizenry and to encourage that participation by inspiring high school students to take up the mantle of citizenship,” Acuff relates.

In the last three years the LAV League has conducted candidate’s forums in each local community for mayor/council and school board races and has helped the Registrar of Voters collect and certify ballot counts from local polling places on Election Day. As part of its community service on elections, trained members are available to serve homeowner associations as a non-partisan referee for their elections.

“We are always ready to accept an invitation to talk about voter registration and to explain how to make voting more secure and transparent,” she points out.

The LAV has also been very active in studying and providing background on several issues of concern from the local to national level, such as water quantity and quality, immigration reform, and health care reform. “Now we are grappling with open space and agricultural preservation in our area,” comments Acuff, noting other accomplishments: a report on the way local cities deal with growth pressures and housing availability, and help in conducting a civics course at Amador Valley High School, with plans to introduce a similar course in Livermore in the works.

“Because making choices and voting are at the core of a democratic system, the League of Women Voters covers a huge range of civic interests, “ she says. “A League member can offer her energy wherever her interest lies. It is the care with which the League produces its oversight and positions that make it so trusted. The League is an investment that won’t lose value. Bank on it,” she concludes.

For more information about the LAV-LWV, call (925) 443-VOTE or e-mail lavlwv@comcast.net.


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