Interested in knowing what the local League does? This list of activities over the past year will give you an overview of our work.
We have continued to build relationships with Holland area community groups. We provided materials for a neighborhood canvassing effort. The materials listed "5 Things You Need To Know on Election Day" with the League logo and VOTE411.org information. This was printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other. Population statistics for Holland indicate we now have over 24 percent of the population listed as Hispanic. Bookmarks advertising the League's VOTE411.org website were distributed at numerous events which provided candidate and ballot proposal information for the November election.
Thirteen volunteers took poll watching training and observed at 11 polling places. This activity provides our organization with information on difficulties voters may be experiencing. We did find that there are people who still don't understand they must register before voting. Language issues also present barriers to voting in our community. In continuing voter education campaigns, there are needs to explain the voting process to students to prepare them. Encouraging the use of absentee ballots and understanding how to get them may benefit the elderly and language challenged residents. We thank these volunteers for their willingness to participate in this important project.
Our relationships with the Clerks has helped us understand and identify problems in the registration process and voting. We learned that registrations for some residents living in transitional housing have been returned to the Clerk's office as undeliverable. The Post Office has a policy which doesn't allow an address change for a person living in a shelter. Shelters are considered a corporate entity and not a residence, and if the company (shelter) hasn't moved, the post office does not recognize a resident's change of addresses. This issue was referred to a legal team working with the League.
VOTER GUIDES Using the information submitted by LWVs around the state and responses from candidates, the LWV of Michigan printed Voter Guides for distribution state-wide. We placed ours in public libraries and added additional information on local races as an insert. This was a supplement to the online voter guide VOTE411, which provided polling locations and personal ballot information for Michigan voters.
VOTER PROTECTION PROJECT The LWVHA also participated in an ongoing grant project to identify problems voters might have at the polls. (See the section on "Voter Protection" for more details.) We had many volunteers as election observers in precincts. These poll watchers insured that the voting process was smooth and that voters were able to vote easily and without challenges of access to locations or photo ID requirements.
VOTER INFORMATION Our website and Facebook page provided timely information on voter registration deadlines, dates for forums, voter registration events and links to regional and state voter information.
A new series of free educational events called "Living Sustainably along the Lakeshore" kicked off on Monday, November 17 with a session called "Sustainability 101: Your Role." Paul Lilly, Chair of Holland's Sustainability Committee opened the event with an overview, followed by the opportunity for people to speak with area organizations involved in the environmental sustainability movement. This series is sponsored by the City of Holland's Sustainability committee, Herrick District Library, the League of Women Voters, Hope College, and the Meijer Campus of Grand Valley State University.