We’ll be presenting three Making Democracy Work® - For All awards at our National Convention, held in Washington, DC later this spring. The awards seek to highlight the work of state and local Leagues in our quest to make a more perfect democracy across the country and at all levels of government.
The High Impact Visibility award rewards Leagues that effectively use a broad range of communications platforms to reach voters, potential members and partners, the media and the public on priority national and local programs. Visibility is critical to making good programs have a great impact.
The four Leagues that have been chosen as finalists for this award exemplify some of the best ways to use visibility to create more change: the League of Women Voters of Long Beach Area (CA), the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County (IN), the League of Women Voters of Maryland and the League of Women Voters of Texas.
In California, the League of Women Voters of Long Beach Area holds an annual Symposium on Climate Change, Sea-level Rise and Water Conservation to link global climate change with local water shortages and threats to local coastlines. The League partnered with the Aquarium of the Pacific, five leading scientists and water management executives to host an event at the Ocean Theatre of the Aquarium, a leading cultural attraction in their community as well as nationally recognized aquarium. In addition to the record attendance, the event was also live-streamed in its entirety to include interested parties who couldn’t physically attend. Members of the media, who praised the event as an unusual and outstanding public service, and government officials were also in the audience.
The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, Indiana has spearheaded the adoption of voting centers – which replace traditional polling places allowing voters more flexibility and convenience when casting their ballot. The League ran a series of editorial columns in daily newspapers, held speeches, worked with county officials and testified in support of the Vote Centers. They also distributed flyers and promoted the educational material on social media. In addition to making voting more convenient for voters, Vote Centers make election administration more efficient and save Montgomery County money. The League debated and strategized on this issue for seven years until both the County Council Commissioners and County Council unanimously voted in favor of the Vote Centers!
The League of Women Voters of Maryland has been advocating for redistricting reforms throughout the state with their Taming the Gerrymander program. Events have been held all across the state. A forum held at the University of Maryland attracted over 100 people and a three-day relay that traced the boundary of Congressional District 3 garnered a lot of media coverage, including in the Washington Post. The League’s leadership on this issue has paid off; the League was represented on the Governor’s Redistricting Reform Task Force and asked to speak at a press conference when the recommendations were made.
The League of Women Voters of Texas has been a key supporter of implementing online voter registration in their state. The League aims to modernize voter registration in Texas and reduce the barriers to registration while saving the state money. The League has been meeting with legislators to find support and sponsors for an online registration bill, meeting with other organizations such as the NAACP, AARP and the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, and also arranged a well-attended legislative staff briefing with a registration expert from the PEW Charitable Trust. The League has utilized social media as well as placed editorials and done news talk shows to promote online voter registration.
Help us decide which project made the greatest impact with their great visibility work by voting below! Anyone can vote and the polls will close on May 31.