Making Democracy Work

Because Democracy is not a Spectator Sport

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Making Democracy Work Award Call for Nominations

The League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area invites you to nominate a person for the annual League of Women Voters Making Democracy Work Award, which will be presented at our Fall Friend-Raiser.

The Making Democracy Work Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to our community through the advancement of democracy and civic engagement. The award is open to women and men at least 16 years of age residing in the League's membership area, which includes St. Joseph and Marshall Counties. Nominees may apply themselves or be nominated by a friend or colleague.

To make a nomination, please use the online form you will find here.

All nominations must be received by May 27, 2017 at midnight.

We invite you to share information about the Making Democracy Work award with members of your organization and others in the community.

Please contact Geri Pawelski ( with any questions.

Lunch with the League Welcomes Lisa Harris, LWV Lake Michigan Region

May 12 at noon
South Bend Chocolate Cafe
122 S. Michigan
South Bend

Lunch with the League Welcomes Lisa Harris, League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region, on May 12 at noon to talk about environmental issues related to the Lake Michigan region. LWV Lake Michigan Region is an Inter-League Organization, made up of 48 local Leagues of Women Voters within the Lake Michigan watershed and regional planning areas, along with the four state Leagues. It is an integral part of and operates under the Natural Resources position of the League of Women Voters of the United States. Lisa serves as Treasurer of the LWV Lake Michigan Region and is also a member of LWV South Bend Area, where she serves as Environment Chair.

Speaker begins at noon.
Come as early as 11:30 to purchase lunch.
The event is free and open to the public.

Citizen's Guide Online Now

Citizen's Guide

Print copies are available at library branches.

SHAMEFUL! Redistricting Bill Denied a Vote

HB1014 Denied a Vote.

After having to move to the House Chambers to accommodate the large crowd gathered in support of HB1014 and listening to over 90 minutes of testimony from Hoosiers across the state, House Elections & Apportionment Chair Milo Smith did not take a committee vote on HB1014.

Please call Rep. Smith (and your legislator) to demand a special committee meeting before Monday so that HB1014 can receive the vote it deserves.

Milo Smith - 317-232-9620 1-800-382-9841

If you Tweet about this issue use #inlegis and tag your legislators.

Please also contact YOUR Representative. Reach them all at 800-382-9841, emails below: Here is how each responded to this question in the 2016 VOTE411 Voter Guide:

A committee of the Indiana General Assembly is studying redistricting reform for Indiana. Do you support establishment of an independent (non-partisan or bi-partisan) commission to establish voting districts for Indiana? If so, why? If not, why not?

Timothy Wesco Indiana Assembly, District 21
I have supported such a redistricting commission in the past because Republicans and Democrats alike have abused the redistricting process throughout the years. When I first ran for office, the shape of my district resembled a little dog. An independent commission, if established, should be required to draw lines that make sense and keep districts relatively compact without taking into consideration past political data.

Dale Devon Indiana Assembly, District 5 No Response

Pat Bauer Indiana Assembly, District 6

Yes. A process called 'packing' was used when drawing many districts. An over abundance of Minorities are packed into single districts.

Joe Taylor III Indiana Assembly, District 7
In our case I would support a non-partisan commission to establish our voting districts. in my opinion that's the only way both parties would ever consider it to be a fair non-partisan affair. Hopefully both sides could agree on who this non-partisan group faster than they would if we decided to do a bi-partisan group. Lastly I would hope that would eliminate some of the controversy that comes with this task.

Ryan Dvorak Indiana Assembly, District 8
Partisan gerrymandering has obviously created a massive and unrepresentative legislative imbalance in Indiana. I fully support the work of the redistricting study committee, and look forward to reviewing their conclusions.

LWV Indiana also encourages you to draft a letter - TONIGHT - to draft a citizen letter to the editor to your local paper. We need bright public attention on redistricting reform immediately to keep hope alive. Committee reports are due Tuesday and legislators typically do not work on Fridays. Time is running out.

As always, be respectful but firm in your position: Redistricting Reform NOW!

Interested in the League?

Join the League! Welcome! Please take a look around our website and also visit our Facebook page. For more information, please write to

Contact Your Legislators - Quick Reference

Quick reference for contacting your legislators. More great information in the Citizen's Guide, which will be updated soon.

Indiana General Assembly

Indiana General Assembly Portal

South Bend Area Legislators - 2017 Committee Assignments and Email Addresses

Indiana Senate Members: 800-382-9467

Indiana House Members: 800-382-9841

United States Congress

United States Congress

Videos (with transcripts) about federal legislative process

United States Senate

United States House of Representatives

Senator Joe Donnelly
Washington, DC Office: 202-224-4814
South Bend Office: 574-288-2780
Email and Other:

Senator Todd Young
Washington, DC Office: 202-224-5623

Representative Jackie Walorski
Washington, DC Office: 202-225-3915
Mishawaka Office: 574-204-2645
Email and Other:

A Step Closer to Redistricting Reform in Indiana

At its final meeting on October 17, 2016, the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting passed a recommendation by a vote of 8 to 3 for the establishment of an Independent Redistricting Commission. While the final recommendation is not everything hoped for, it is a strong beginning and sets the stage for legislation in the 2017 General Assembly.

You will find more information, including a PDF copy of the Interim Study Committee on Redistricting's Final Report and a copy of the resolution adopted by the South Bend Common Council in support of redistricting reform here

Check back for information on next steps . . . coming soon.

Reform Recommendations of Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting

Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting Makes Its Recommendations

On September 19, the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting, of which the LWVIN is a co-founding member, presented its recommendations to the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting. Key recommendations include:

  • Indiana should establish a citizen-led redistricting commission every 10 years consisting of 9 members: 3 Republican, 3 Democrat, and 3 unaffiliated.
  • All Hoosiers are eligible, but must apply for service.
  • Qualified candidates should be selected by lottery with efforts made to reflect the racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of the state.
  • Redistricting criteria: Districts must be substantially equal in population, contiguous,comply with the U.S. Voting Rights Act, when possible they should not divide communities of interest, and the home addresses of incumbent elected officials should not be considered.
  • Recommendations by the commission should require an affirmative vote of at least 6 members and are subject to legislative approval.
  • Legislative changes, however, can not exceed 2% of the total population of a district and must be accompanied by a narrative explanation.

For more information on Redistricting Reform, visit LWV Indiana

Half-Price Student Membership

Join the League! LWV South Bend Area now offers a student membership rate of $25.00! A student is defined as an individual who is enrolled either full or part-time in an accredited institution.

Consider a gift student membership - you will be opening the door to lifetime of Making Democracy Work.

Did you know . . . The LWV South Bend Area

★ Visits area high schools to register voters - 1077 in 2012!
★ Registers new voters at schools and local events
★ Sponsors candidate debates and forums before every election
★ Organized and cosponsored B Green to Save Green, an environmental education program for low-income families
★ Hosts Lunch with the League, a monthly public event featuring a talk by local leaders, followed by discussion
★ Provides voter information at the community events such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration and Michiana Monologues
★ Sponsors public forums on topics of community interest such as the Property Tax Cap Constitutional Amendment, Redistricting, and Economic Development in our area

Want to learn more? Contact us at today.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm at St Joseph County Public Library, Main Street, Downtown South Bend. Free Parking. Guests are welcome.