"Suffrage is the pivotal right." Susan B. Anthony
The LWVLA Voter Service Committee has served this year to educate people on voting and elections so people are empowered to exercise of their right to vote, knowing about candidates and issues. We have broadly and enthusiastically engaged in collaboration for this voter advocacy. In the last several months leading up to the General/Presidential Election, Voter Service continues to reach out to diverse groups, from first time student voters to seniors. Our work has been in concert with many community partners and aligned with the National LWV "Making
Democracy Work® Campaign for 2016 Elections
Certainly a Voter Service banner program was the series of voter registration drives. These have been coordinated with a number of partners. A primarily contact was Teri Lehrke, City of La Crosse Clerk, who recently updated the League membership on voting and elections at a Lunch & Learn program. Since August, registration events were held at UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University, Western Technical College, Logan High School, Pride in the Park, and the South Side Neighborhood Center. Student leadership and staff at each of the campuses were instrumental in working through the setup and scheduling of Special Registration Deputies (SRDs) with the Voter Service team. A core group of about 40 LWVLA and affiliate SRDs registered over 1300 people at drives during the course of the year and answered countless voting questions, including legal changes in voting and registration requirements, at all these events. These registration numbers, and many more from SRD registrations at the polls on election day, would not have been possible without the dedication of these SDRs helping "to make Democracy work."
On the voter education front, Ellen Frantz worked with Joe Heim, on three debates League co-sponsored that were held at UW-La Crosse: the 94th and 96th Assembly District races on Oc
tober 25 and the 32nd State Senate race on November 1.
In late summer, the Voter Service Committee
tacted American Association of University Women to share general v
ation and opportunities to serve as SRDs and greeters at the polls and participate in the LWV Election Observation Program. This was disseminated through their newsletter, emails and at an AAUW program meeting on October 8th.
President Peter Nelson with Andrea Kominski LWVWI Executive Director and Erin Grunze, Voter Education Coordinator, orchestrated two regional LWVWI Gear Up to Vote events: one in La Crosse at UWL on October 3 and one in Viroqua held at the Ver
non County Fair September 15. Voter Service Committee members and other SRDs participated. The UWL Student Association and university staff and Vernon County Unit on Aging were local hosts.
The Voter Service Committee has employe
d multiple communication avenues: the robust LWVLA web pages on voting, contact with the print, radio
and TV news media through press releases, interviews (WLSU Newsmakers program on senior and voting), Ugetconnected, a Mobile Meals mailing, and posting of "Are You Ready to Vote" flyers in dozens of locations around the community.
In the final days before the November 8 election, please join with us in spreading the word (including through social media) about where to vote, what's on the ballot, bringing documentation to the polls (voter photo ID and, if registering, proof of residence documents) and the websites that will help lead people to what th
ey need to know: municipal clerk websites, Bring It to the Ballot (bringit.wi.gov), and My Vote Wisconsin (myvote.wi.gov).
As we celebrate League voter service successes in 2016, including wonderful partnerships across our community, we also look ahead to new challenges. With state legislation earlier this year initiating a new statewide online registration system by 2017 that concurrently eliminates SRDs, League will have to redefine its role in voter education, registration and advocacy.
Voter Service Committee: Nancy Danou, Anita Evans, Ellen Frantz, Jan Gallagher, Sheila Hilke, Cindy Killion, Maureen Kinney, Deb Lutjen, Kathy Mulliner, Mary Nelson, Mary Nugent, Sandy Sechrest, Pat Skewes, Kit Thomas, Pam Thiel
|Jacob Schimmel, President, UW-L Student Association & Patrick Brever, Vice President
|President Peter Nelson with Erin Grunze, LWVWI