Online Voters’ Guide Wins Big in General Election
We know that 65 percent of Johnson County’s 419,403 voters turned out for the midterm election. So where did some people go for candidate information? LWV’s online voters’ guide, Vote411.org. Why online? Because printed voters’ guides have become too large and costly.
Vote411.org has been around for several years. In 2018, nearly 37,000 Kansans visited the website in 48,384 sessions. More than 2,000 people printed their ballots.
Candidates were asked to answer questions created by local leagues. For example, LWVJoCo sent five questions concerning the Board of County Commissioner races.
Statewide, about 60 percent of candidates in contested races posted answers on Vote411.org. “Each candidate received three e-mails for the primary and another three for the general election, in addition to being called to participate,” said Vote411 chair Carole Neal of Wichita LWV.
Vote411 also provides answers to FAQs and registration status verification. Grants to the League of Women Voters of Kansas totaling $6,000 paid for the software license from LWVUS and some keyboarding expenses.
What comes next? LWVK will get local league input for using Vote411.org in 2020. Hats off to Carole Neal, Jacqueline Lightcap and others at LWVK for their hard work!
Board Focuses on Post-Election Priorities
LWVJoCo is halfway through its 2016-2020 Long-Range Plan (LRP). For 2018, top priority went to empowering voters for the midterm elections. But what happens after 11/6/18? We’ll be targeting one or two items in each of the five LRP goal areas, specifically:
Membership: Solicit opinions and ideas from new members. Methods include an online survey and committee chair annual plans.
Visibility: Partner with new groups. Methods include attending events and meetings organized by other organizations, such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Latina Nuestra awards.
Education: Engage youth voters. Methods include creating new programs as well as voter registration in high schools and colleges.
Political Action: Add “What can YOU do” events after monthly Saturday meetings. Methods include postcard-writing campaigns and petitions.
Infrastructure: Inform members that our League sends $50 of the individual $60 membership fees to state and national Leagues. Methods include fundraising letters and VOTER/website articles.
As we pursue these goals, please let us know how we are doing. We’ll discuss our progress at our board meeting on February 12, 2019.
Questions, concerns? Just let me know.
Ellen Miller, LWVJoCo president
From the Rosedale Farmers Market in Wyandotte County to the Olathe YMCA, wherever crowds gather, you’ll find our Voter Services folks. Since March, this team of dedicated volunteers has registered 1,172 people at schools, colleges, churches, clubs and senior living communities. Leaguers have helped over 100 people apply for an advance ballot and provided information about voting to hundreds more.
This year, technology has simplified our voter registration efforts. The website SignUpGenius.com allows our 80+ volunteers to sign up for shifts and even reminds them of their shift via email the day before.
Increasingly, voter registration itself is also done online with ksvotes.org and Vote411.org. Paper forms still outnumber online registrations 2 to 1, but online registration is growing. Online registration saves registrants’ time, and it doesn’t require us to deliver a paper document to the Election Office.
For National Voter Registration Day, co-chairs Becky White and Julie Lester broke their “personal best,” orchestrating five voter registration events that day and one the day before and one the day after. Since March, there have been 111 such events.
However, the race is nearly over. The last day for voter registration is October 16. “We have a lot of great volunteers,” Becky said, “but I think all of them will be glad to see October 17!”
Here’s a huge shout out to all of you Voter Services volunteers – you’re doing an outstanding job!
—Ellen Miller, President
Put Signs Out & Sign Up
The election finish line looms. Until November 6, we need max LWVJoCo visibility and impact. How? Via max member action.
It’s your choice — just do it!
√ Display “Your Vote Matters” yard signs. Contact Ann Norbury to order or buy one at the September 8 meeting.
√ Register voters until registration closes October 16. Contact Becky White.
√ Educate voters by inviting our Speakers Bureau to speak to your club or group. Contact Candy Birch.
√ Attend and promote three Johnson County Board of County Commissioners candidate events .
Hang on to this fast ride, folks. We’re helping people find their Voice, which is their Vote.
Questions, concerns? Just let me know.
Watch Your Optics!
Sure, we say we’re nonpartisan. But how does that translate into everyday life for our members? Remember three huge facts:
√ Perception is reality.
√ Photos and audios can go viral in minutes.
√ Mixed messages are interpreted as being partisan.
What’s OK for Leaguers:
- Displaying “Vote! It Counts” car magnets.
- In your front yard, displaying either “Your Vote Matters” OR candidate signs (but not both because it sends mixed messages).
- Giving out voting information.
- In your front yard, displaying two signs — ours that says “Your Vote Matters” AND another that says “Vote for Susie Q” (or endorses any candidate or party).
- Saying, “I’m from the LWV AND please vote for Susie Q.”
- On your car, displaying both LWV “Vote! It Counts” magnets and “Susie for Senator” stickers
How to avoid mixed messages? Just remember the four League basics:
Nonpartisan. It’s our rock upon which all is built. We do not support or oppose any candidate or party, period. We must be diligent; no “ifs, ands or buts.”
Our work. At every level — national, state and local — LWV fights for voter rights year-round. Locally, we do this by registering voters, informing voters ahead of elections and helping turn out the vote. LWV Kansas advocates with elected officials and reports on legislative actions. LWV of the United States lobbies Congress for our positions on policy issues.
Local issues. We advocate for or against key public issues with city, county and other leaders. How? By using our carefully researched, member-approved official positions, which you can view on our website.
Women’s action. We encourage women to run for public office and to advocate with
local officials. We partner with many groups, including Mainstream Coalition, Women’s Equality Week, and the NAACP in Kansas.
LWVJoCo in the Media
Watch President Ellen Miller speak to Johnson County’s vote counting issues in the primary election.
Staying ‘In the Know’ with LWVJoCo
Busy Days, Busy People. That was my daughter’s favorite book 40 years ago. It totally applies to LWVJoCo today! How can you keep up?
- Start with our calendar of events. That’s where you’ll find details for the informal “How to Reach Underrepresented Voters” in a member’s home. You’ll also find details about “Lessons from the Local Campaign Trail” on July 19, which features the experiences and insights of three newly elected council members of area cities.
- Visit (and like!) our Facebook page.
- Go to our YouTube channel to learn how to combat climate change in your own backyard and see other informative presentations from our monthly programs.
- Watch for our the weekly e-blasts for the latest news, voter registration events, and links to other organizations. (If you aren’t receiving them, sign up here.)
- Check our website to find out more about what’s ahead.
We’ve also been working with other organizations to make voting easier and to encourage more people to vote. At our request, the Johnson County Election Office posted the federal voter registration form on its website. In return, we posted the election office’s plea for more election workers in the June VOTER and on Facebook.
Once again, we’re part of the metro area Women’s Equality Week, hosting a lunch-and-learn event, “Saving Democracy: It’s OUR Job,” on August 22. Our voter services team has also been partnering with the Rosedale Development Association as well as the ACLU’s Voter Registration Project and Mainstream Coalition’s Voter to Voter initiative (more details below) to register more voters.
As you can see, you are part of a very committed group, working on several fronts to protect voter rights and our democracy. We hope to see you at one of our many events this month.
Working Hard for Johnson County Voters
Who said LWVJoCo takes the summer off? Not anymore! Your new board has been running hard since being elected on May 5.
- Voter registration in new places—Lenexa Public Market, Cross-Lines Community Outreach and Downtown Overland Park’s Third Friday, to name a few.
- “Ways to turn out the primary election vote” and dialogue sessions at members’ homes.
- Summer indoor picnic from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on June 26 at the Matt Ross Community Center.
- “Lessons from the local campaign trail” at 7 p.m. on July 19 at the Matt Ross Community Center.
- Annual preview party at 7 p.m. on August 23 at the Olathe Community Center.
Less visible but essential are infrastructure changes.
- The communications team now has its “board-approved communications strategy” for 2018-19.
- The 2020 committee organized to plan the centennial celebration of the League and the 19th Amendment held its first meeting. (Donna Lauffer, chair; Susan Horst; Candy Birch)
- The board now meets every second Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Members are always welcome!
Best of all, we now have 274 members—welcome!
It’s time to rejoin. Memberships expire June 30. Renew online—it’s fast and easy.
Photos from May 2018 Breakfast and Annual Meeting