By Allie Justis, Moriah Poweres photo by Taylor Prinsen Photography.
The League of Women Voters has a legacy of empowering voters and defending democracy through resources and education.
The League of Women Voters have been the nonpartisan watchdogs of local and national elections for over a century. Providing important resources, engaging in public dialog and empowering every voter to exercise their civic duty without hindrance.
Moriah Powers, the president of the Austin chapter of the League of Women Voters, hopes to continue this trend. Being a reliable community resource for the 2020 elections happening on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“We are a non-partisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in their government,” says Powers. “We also influence public policy through education and advocacy.”
The Austin League has been around since 1919, and the national League formed in 1920. The League of Women Voters started right in the middle of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement, from which it gets its name. However, it has now evolved into an organization that is open to all voters who need its resources.
The League prides itself on providing plenty of nonpartisan resources such as the Voter’s Guide, which lays out every candidate and their platforms. The League also has recorded videos explaining new topics. For instance, how to use the new voting machines, how to socially distance at the polls and several other topics new to the 2020 elections.
Ultimately, the League wants to assure that people feel comfortable voting even if it looks very different this year.
“We want to make sure they have all of those resources to feel confident enough to get out there,” says Powers. “Historically, women are a big part of that group that feels like they might be lacking in that confidence. So we want to provide these resources so your voice can be heard.
“Misinformation is the biggest barrier for voters this year,” says Powers. “Especially with how wildly skewed news can be depending on the sources they tap into. We’re really trying to put out reliable resources so people know how to confirm what the factual information is.”
One such resource is the Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE). The public can use this number if they see suspicious activity at the polls while voting.
Your Vote Matters
Powers also says most people who feel like there’s no point and their vote doesn’t matter are thinking too big. That oftentimes voters are only thinking about the presidential election come November. However, Powers argues that it’s the state and local government elections that really count.
“There are so many down-ballot races. Those are the ones that are going to really impact your day-to-day life,” says Powers. “These people are making decisions that are changing what’s happening most. Those are also the races that are decided on a smaller margin of votes. So in those cases, your vote certainly does count.
“Just a few votes could be what makes or breaks who’s representing you,” Powers continues. “Definitely get out there and make sure you vote all the way down-ballot. Because it definitely counts on a local level.”
The Austin League’s community relations team also made a Civics 101 series posted on their YouTube page. These videos talk about how local government positions, polling locations and what your local government does for you in between elections.
Powers always uses vote411.org as another resource since you can’t bring electronics to the polls. The League of Women Voters is a completely volunteer-led organization and is funded by donations and membership fees. If interested in joining the League of Women Voters or seeking out all of their resources, check out their website to find more information.