Tag Archives: democracy

5 Things You Can Do Today to Improve our Democracy

At the League of Women Voters, our work does not end after Election Day.

Here are five things you can do today to influence the future of our democracy. Let’s get to work!five-things

  1. Sign up to receive our emails: You will receive information about taking action locally and nationally, and nonpartisan educational materials designed to increase public participation and civic engagement.
  1. Join the League of Women Voters of New Jersey  because:
    1. You want to be politically informed. League members study, discuss, and debate policy issues and legislation that directly affects their communities.
    2. You want to help others become informed and active. League members provide New Jersey voters with the information they need to get to the polls and make informed decisions on election days.
    3. You think government needs a watchdog. Together we can improve transparency and prevent corruption.
    4. You want to shape policy. Our nonpartisan grassroots membership works to influence public policy at all levels of government.
    5. You want to lead. Through a variety of leadership workshops and other opportunities, the League gives you the tools to become an effective leader and community organizer.
  1. Influence Public Policy: The League will be here protecting voting rights and civil liberties, fighting for women’s rights, protecting our environment, demanding an open and accessible government, ensuring that all of our voices are heard and that your representatives represent YOU. Our six statewide policy committees work on public policy and are looking for new members. If interested in learning more about joining a committee listed below, email jburns@lwvnj.org.
  • Education
  • Natural Resources
  • Women and Family Issues
  • Government/Voting Rights
  • Immigration
  • Fiscal Policy
  1. Get Out the Vote: 2017 is an important election year in New Jersey and we need help improving New Jersey’s dismal voter turnout. We are looking for people interested in becoming League moderators, planning voter registration drives, creating nonpartisan material, and more. Email jburns@lwvnj.org if interested in doing nonpartisan voter engagement work!
  1. Give a Gift. The League of Women Voters relies on donations to carry out this work. Gifts to LWVNJ support our advocacy work and are non-tax deductible. Gifts to LWVNJ-EF support our voter service work and are tax deductible. You can donate online to LWVNJ or LWVNJ-EF or you can mail a check to 204 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608. Thank you!

 

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Why I vote.

This is a guest post written by LWVNJ intern, Emily Garland.

When I was younger and had off from school on Election Day, my aunt would watch my sister and me. Part of that day off meant going to the polls. My sister and I would gather behind the curtain with my aunt and she would tell us which button to press. When it was time to cast her vote, there would be a slight skirmish between my sister and me over who got to press the red button. After all, an 8 year old’s memory of who pressed the red button last year is not very reliable.  I am very grateful that the right to vote and the act of voting was instilled in me at a very young age. I learned voting is more than just a right, it is also a duty.

 My senior year of high school was a highly formative time for my civic consciousness. I was fortunate enough to take 2 great classes with 2 great teachers. One was Government and Law Related Experiences (GALRE) and the other was A.P. Government. In GALRE, we would have various guest speakers come into our class and talk to us about their jobs and duties. These speakers were an assortment of people that played a role in politics, like councilmen, journalists, lawyers, state senators, and congressmen. Most of our grade was based on the quality of the questions we asked our guest speakers. This really encouraged me to learn about the political arena around me; it made it all the more tangible. I think this is a problem with voter turnout today, the disconnect between voter and those who serve the voter. Many people don’t see how their vote can make a difference, but it can. I vote because I believe it makes a difference.

In GALRE, we were required to work the polls on Election Day, which I still do to this day. Working the polls is another experience that has made the voting process more tangible and more consequential. It has also encouraged me to be informed about each and every election.

More importantly, working the polls has really illustrated to me who votes. These people who vote are the ones being heard and represented. I wish I would see more people like me, young and female, voting. Seeing a young person at the polls is so rare. I vote because I want more people like me to vote and be represented.

In AP Government, my teacher had a way of explaining things to our class in a way we had never thought of before. She told us that those we elect’s jobs are reliant upon those who vote. If you don’t vote, what should someone care about you since you have no say in whether or not they keep their job?

In a perfect democracy, everyone would come together and discuss their wants and needs, and no decision would be made final until everyone was satisfied. In a country that roughly 312 million call home, this isn’t very practical. So instead we have a republic where we choose people to represent our wants, needs, and priorities. I vote because as a young woman who is about to graduate college, I have specific needs and priorities that I want my government to hear and represent.  These include women’s rights, environmental protection and affordable higher education.  Since our country is so large and diverse, not everyone has these same priorities, but voting is the great equalizer that allows all these voices to come together and be heard. I vote because we live in a republic and I want my wants and needs represented.

I want a truly functioning and healthy republic. I believe the best way to accomplish this is to have complete voter participation. Although I am not everybody, I am still part of it. This is why I vote. To do your part, visit the League of Women Voters of New Jersey’s website for more information on voting and how you can register to vote.  Tuesday, October 16th is the last day to register to vote so don’t hesitate a moment longer to play your democratic part!

Register To Vote!

Need to register to vote, change your address, or request a vote by mail ballot? The League of Women Voters of New Jersey will be out in communities around the state  registering voters and answering questions! The deadline to register to vote for the November General Election is October 18th.

Find a drive near you (listed by county):

Bergen

September 17-18 – LWV of Ridgewood will be registering voters at the Ridgewood Town Fair.

Camden

September 10 – LWV of Camden will be registering voters at the Cherry Hill Mall from 10am – 5pm.

Essex

September 10 – LWV of Montclair will be registering voters at the corner of Church Street and South Fullerton Avenue from 10am – 3pm.

September 10 – Newark MAL will be registering voters at Mildred Helms Park from 11am – 4pm.

September 17 – LWV of Livingston will be registering voters at the Welcome to Livingston Picnic (204 Hillside Ave) from 5pm – 7pm.

Mercer

September 10 – LWV of Lawrence Township will be registering voters at the Trenton Farmers’ Market (Spruce Street) from 10:30am – 2pm.

September 10 – LWV of Princeton will be registering voters at the Montgomery Farmers’ Market from 9am – 1pm.

September 10 – LWV of Princeton will be registering voters at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market from 9am – 1pm.

September 10 – LWV of Princeton will be registering voters at McCaffrey’s Market in the Princeton Shopping Center from 9am – 4pm.

September 10 – LWV of Princeton will be registering voters at the Kingston Community Picnic at the Laurel Ave School from 3pm – 7pm.

September 16 and September 23 – LWV of East Windsor-Hightstown will be registering voters at the Hightstown Farmers’ Market (Main Street/Memorial Park) from 4pm – 8pm.

October 1 – LWV of East Windsor-Hightstown will be registering voters at the Hightstown Harvest Festival (Main Street/Memorial Park) from 10am – 4pm.

Middlesex

September 10 – LWV of Monroe will be registering voters at the Monroe Township Post Office (1601 Perrineville Rd) from 10am – 2pm.

Monmouth

September 12-17 – LWV of Red Bank will be registering voters at the Monmouth Mall from 10am – 9pm.

September 24 – LWV Township of Ocean will be registering voters at the Township of Ocean Fall Fest at Palaia Park from 9am – 4pm.

Morris

September 10 – LWV Chatham-Madison will be registering voters at the Farmers Market in Chatham (train station parking lot) from 9am – 1pm.

October 2 – LWV of Morristown will be registering voters at the Morristown Festival on the Green.  Time TBA.

Passaic

September 24 – LWV of Wayne will be registering voters at the Stop and Shop in the Preakness Shopping Center (1220 Hamburg Turnpike) from 10am – 4pm.

Somerset

September 10 – Somerset County MAL will be registering voters at the Bernardsville Farmers Market from 9:30am – 12pm.

Union

September 10 – LWV of Union will be registering voters at the Cranford Post Office from 10am – 2pm.

September 10-11 – LWV of Union will be registering voters at the Seabra Store, (Galloping Hill Road, Union) from 10am – 2pm.

October 2 – LWV of Hillside will be registering voters at the Peter D. Corvelli Annual Health Fair (Hillside High School – 1085 Liberty Avenue) from 10am – 2pm.

Not sure if you are registered to vote or need to change your address? Now you can check for that information online!

More drives to be added soon, and don’t forget you can call the League of Women Voters of New Jersey at 1-800-792-VOTE with any of your voting questions!

“Running and Winning”

The following entry is written by Jesse Burns, LWVNJ Director of Communications.

Last week I had to the opportunity to attend my first “Running and Winning” program.  It was organized and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Red Bank Area. “Running and Winning” is an amazing day-long League program that encourages high school girls to consider a political career.

I found the commitment of the League members, other sponsoring organizations, volunteers, female elected officials and political operatives, and the enthusiasm of the student participants extremely inspiring and encouraging. Young women who may have never before considered a career in politics, or who may have thought that a political career was not possible, left that day excited, empowered, and confident in their ability to work on a campaign team or run for elected office.  The young women spent the day interviewing women who have political careers, researching the pros and cons of a policy issue, and working together in teams to prepare and deliver a campaign speech about that issue.

Currently four local Leagues – LWV of Cape May, LWV of Mountain Lakes, LWV of Camden County, and LWV of the Greater Red Bank Area – organize and sponsor local “Running and Winning” programs in their communities. I would like to say thank you to the many people who work so hard to provide this opportunity to high school girls in those areas. All of you are playing a huge role in shaping the future of these young women and working to decrease the gender gap in our political system. As I watched each group of students deliver their speeches I was so very proud to belong to an organization that not only encourages political participation, but also provides hands-on leadership skills to foster our future female political leaders.