Written by Sarah Calise, graduate assistant
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
No, not Christmas. I’m not even talking about Halloween. It’s election season, and, yes, it is wonderful.
Exercising your constitutional right to vote is one of the most critical ways to participate in the United States government. Voting empowers citizens; it gives the people a voice in local, state, and national issues in hopes of better shaping communities and lives.
The League of Women Voters (LWV), founded in Chicago in 1920, is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that strives to educate citizens on the power of voting. The local Murfreesboro chapter seeks to be “a voice for citizens, a force for change.” The LWV values informed citizens and provides unbiased information on political candidates, which means their programs and publications are useful tools for cutting through the jargon during election season.
On November 4th, Tennesseans will have a say in four state constitutional amendments. The League of Women Voters of Tennessee developed a guide to understanding all positions of each amendment for the upcoming ballot. Guides such as this cut the core of the LWV’s primary role in educating voters. Often, voting can seem intimidating or overwhelming due to difficult and convoluted issues, so the League aids the public in preparing for election by providing these simple yet informative guides.
The LWV also conducts studies on various topics, such as: public education, poverty, housing, equal rights, environmental issues, healthcare and reproductive rights, and much more. These studies influence advocacy and evaluate the problems that communities currently face, which better informs the changes that need to be made in policy and government.
The Albert Gore Research Center houses several boxes containing League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro material, including correspondence, reports, membership lists, clippings, minutes, surveys, and other documentation of the last fifty years in Murfreesboro. The collection primarily documents the activities of the local league from the organization’s founding in 1957 to the 1990s. The papers highlight significant political, social, and economic issues of past decades, and help us understand how the LWV and our country have evolved over time.
One aspect that has not changed, however, is the League’s insistence on voting. No matter what certain news stations may tell you, voting is an important right and practice for citizens of all genders, races, ages, and levels of socioeconomic status.
Get informed and go VOTE!
If you need to register to vote in the state of Tennessee, then visit this website: http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/registration.htm