• February 8th, 2023
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Vote Your Values on November 8


 

Christina Manthey

 

The League of Women Voters recently celebrated 100 years of advocacy and nonpartisan voter education in 2020. Officially founded in Chicago in 1920, approximately six months before the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified and women won the vote, the League was formed by suffragists and designed to support and encourage over 20 million American women as they settled into their new role and responsibilities as American voters.

 

Aside from playing a large role in establishing women’s right to vote 102 years ago, the League fulfilled major roles in moving America into the modern era — a few highlights include:

 

  • Under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman the League worked to ensure the creation of the United Nations and ensure American participation.The League continues to maintain its official observer status.
  • In 1957 the League established the League of Women Voters Education Fund to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in government, policy and politics.
  • In 1972, after Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, LWV initiated a campaign to ratify the ERA that spread across the nation and lasted for over a decade.
  • In 1976, LWV hosted the first televised presidential debates since 1960, subsequently winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Broadcast Journalism.
  • During the 1980 and 1984 Presidential Elections, LWV hosted primary and general election debates focused on nonpartisan issues, with the goal of informing voters about candidates and their plans if elected. As candidates began demanding increasingly partisan conditions for their debates, LWV withdrew their sponsorship of the debates, and began holding their own forums and debates around the nation, which is a practice that many Leagues continue to this day.
  • The passage of the National Voter Registration Act happened in 1993, partially thanks to the League’s grassroots efforts around the bill.
  • After the 2000 Election, LWV helped draft and pass the Help America Vote Act, which was responsible for establishing provision balloting, requirements for updating voting systems, and the Election Assistance Commission.

In 2006, LWV launched VOTE411.org. Today, VOTE411 provides both general and state-specific nonpartisan resources to the voting public, including a nationwide polling place locator, a ballot look-up tool, candidate positions on issues, recorded LWV forums, and more.

 

Over the last century, The League has fought for election protections, empowered all voters, and worked to defend America’s democracy. We have done all of this while maintaining a staunch commitment to nonpartisanship and fostering an informed electorate. As we look towards our next 100 years, we continue to build power for the next generation of women and LWV leaders.

 

Most recently, in support of the 2022 election, we’ve hosted multiple candidate forums throughout Colorado, published bipartisan analysis of ballot issues, and held dozens of voter registration and education events.

 

We cannot become victim to the lie that our votes do not count — an idea that has been pushed by those who do not wish for us to unlock the true power of mass voting.

 

As we look forward, we encourage all to carry on these League traditions and vote your values in the upcoming Nov. 8 election. In America, elections need to be a way of life. We cannot maintain a strong democratic system without voters fully understanding their rights, our political systems, and their vital role and responsibility as a voter. For our democracy to remain successful and intact, we must take it upon ourselves to participate in a meaningful way in the democratic process, and be well-informed by casting our ballots based on educated decisions and personal values.

 

As a woman in America and the president of the Jefferson County League of Women Voters, I have personally seen the critical role that voter and civic education has had in enhancing participation in elections, particularly for women. Our nation is facing serious challenges when it comes to women’s rights at the moment. The responsibility has fallen upon us to ensure that our leaders will stand up for women across America, as it did for the founding League members and as it always will — and we can only ensure that by making our voices heard at the polls.

 

The voting booth is one place where everybody becomes equal — all votes are equal. We cannot become victim to the lie that our votes do not count — an idea that has been pushed by those who do not wish for us to unlock the true power of mass voting. It is up to us. It is up to me. It is up to you. All votes count. On Election Day, we must honor those brave women who came before us and sacrificed everything to give us the vote — by educating ourselves on the issues and candidates before us, getting to the voting booths, and voting in conjunction with our values.

 

Christina Manthey joined the Jefferson County League of Women Voters in 2012. This article is republished from Colorado Newsline under a Creative Commons license.

 

 

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