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League of Women Voters ‘help voters wade through noise’


With a national election on the horizon, the fire hose of information has increased, flooding us through our computers, phones, televisions and mailboxes. It is often difficult to separate fact from fiction, particularly when it comes to election security, voting laws, candidate positions and ballot initiatives.

The League of Women Voters of La Plata County strives to be a trusted source of information to help voters wade through the noise.
The LWV is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization working to protect and expand voting rights, and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy.

It empowers voters and defends democracy through advocacy, education and litigation, at the local, state and national levels. We have been the national leader in voter education for 104 years. As a nonpartisan organization, the League never supports or opposes any political parties, factions or candidates. However, we do take policy positions on issues of concern to citizens across the country.
In this, the LWV has two separate and distinct roles.

* Voter Services/Citizen Education: LWV presents unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process and issues through candidate forums, webinars and VOTE411.org (voter resources in English and Spanish). Local forums allow the public to meet and hear from all candidates running for office so voters can make educated voting decisions.

LWV partners with Fort Lewis College students to clarify and explain the ramifications for voting for or against certain initiatives, propositions or referendums. The League’s aim is to help voters understand a wide array of issues that may affect them, their families and community.

* Action and Advocacy: LWV remains nonpartisan, using the LWV’s national positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest. The LWV uses a process that begins at the local level and requires years of study, debate and discussion to reach organizational consensus before it establishes a position. These issues can be national, state or local.

Examples of policy positions may include a citizen’s right to vote, election redistricting, money in politics, climate change, health care, immigration and gun policy.
The LWV’s policy positions are not related to any political party. League positions are meant to enhance the public good.
The LWV takes action on public policy issues, supporting or opposing issues.

Action may include lobbying government officials, petition drives, publishing information for the general public and the news media, and holding public forums.
As an example, the LWV’s national overall goal for health care states that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents. Other U.S. health care policy goals include the equitable distribution of services, efficient and economical delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level for health care.

In the furtherance of these national policy goals, a local project sponsored by the LWV is the La Plata Healthcare Improvement Coalition. The purpose of LPHIC is to understand and promote community decision-making, collaboration and ownership among many different organizations through joint action. LPHIC has engaged these organizations to work together to resolve specific community health care challenges.

The vision of LPHIC is a resilient public health and medical system that collaboratively, effectively and equitably improves the health and well-being of all La Plata County residents.

If you have questions about the who, when, where or how of voting, visit the LWV Website at vote411.org. For local voter and election questions, or to get involved, visit lwvlaplata.org.

For 104 years, the League of Women Voters has been the foremost provider of nonpartisan voter education in our country. Here’s to another 104 years!

Laurie Meininger of Durango is a retired U.S. diplomat and immediate past president of League of Women Voters La Plata County. She has never missed voting in an election.