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.
Vote 411 - For the first time, the League will provide an online Voter Guide to local candidates for the 2016 elections. If you would like to volunteer for this work group, please send LWVSBA President, Geri Pawelski an email: gpawelski@comcast.net.

Voter Registration Training - February 9 - 6:00 p.m.

Please RSVP today for School and Naturalization Voter Registration training in the Humphreys Multimedia Room in the lower level of the St. Joseph County Public Library, 304 S. Main Street, South Bend.

Both new and experienced volunteers should attend this important training. Training will include a session with Frank Fotia and Mary Beth Wisniewski of St. Joseph County Voter Registration -- plus refreshments and a door prize! Please RSVP today to Susan Fischbach (onefisch@comcast.net).

Lunch with the League - February 12, 2016 at 12 noon

Gabrielle Robinson, author of Better Homes of South Bend: An American Story of Courage, will join us.

Better Homes of South Bend is the story of a group of African American Studebaker workers who worked together to break through the barriers of segregation and build homes away from the factories where they worked.

Gabrielle Robinson is a retired English professor and author of several books on local history as well as a memoir. She was awarded Indiana's highest honor, Sagamore of the Wabash. Gabrielle was born in Berlin and has worked at universities in both the United States and Europe.

South Bend Chocolate Cafe - 122 S. Michigan Street, South Bend, IN

Speaker begins at noon. Come as early as 11:30am to purchase lunch.

This event is free and open to the public.

2016 Legislative Action

This handy reference shows which South Bend Area legislators sit on which 2016 Indiana General Assembly committees. Use it to write local legislators about important issues.

Legislative Contacts with Committees

Positions Studies!

Positions Studies. Our positions studies chairs are preparing to moderate our upcoming discussions, and I hope that you will take the opportunity to participate in these meetings. Our League Positions (local, State and National) form the basis of all League advocacy work and their development -- from the local level -- is what makes us a true grassroots organization.

What do you need to do? Simply read the materials that are provided (see below), familiarize yourself with the concurrence or consensus questions, and come to the meetings for discussion.

All of the materials are available online. Start here: http://www.lwvsouthbend.org/Current_Positions_Studies.html

Please participate -- it's what makes the League your League! RSVP today to gpawelski@comcast.net

Redistricting Reform - Time to Take Back Elections

In 2014, 44 out of 100 candidates for the Indiana House and 10 of 25 candidates for the Indiana Senate had no opponents.

Why? Because the General Assembly draws the district maps every 10 years after the federal census and legislatures draw maps for political advantage -- creating unfair electoral advantage for the majority party. The result? No competition and dismal voter turnout.

It's time to fix this sick system and put elections back in the hand of the voters.

The Indiana General Assembly has created a Special Study Committee on Redistricting that will work until December 2016 to create a reform recommendation for the legislature. We have a real opportunity to effect redistricting reform in our State but we must act now to educate and advocate for an independent redistricting process.

Join the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting email alerts by sending an email to jvaughn@commoncause.org.

More resources on the Redistricting Reform Page

Below you will find a link to the Special Committee's webpage and other to LWV resources.

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/committees/redistricting_special_interim_study_committee_on

Redistricting resources from LWVUS

Volunteers Needed! - chose an opportunity that is right for you...

Youth Voter Registration will gear up after the first of the year and additional volunteers are always needed. Both classroom presenters and support team members are needed. Training will be provided. Volunteers are notified of scheduled presentations and can sign up for those that work with their schedules. Please consider participating in this fun and rewarding program. For more information or to volunteer, please contact either of the co-chairs:

Susan Fischbach (onefisch@comcast.net) - 574-273-3866 Nancy Johnson (npjohnson123@yahoo.com) - 574-273-5071

Citizen's Guide to Representative Government -- If you have an eye and passion for detail, your help is needed as we get ready to update the Citizen's Guide after the 2015 Election. With each update, we review all information in the Guide to ensure accuracy. Our Guide has the reputation of being the most comprehensive and accurate source of government information and contact information for elected officials. Help is needed for this important work!

On-Call Rabble-Rousers! LWV Indiana is looking for interested local members willing to be "on deck" to attend important Indiana General Assembly committee hearings and votes either to simply be eyes and ears in the audience or to read prepared testimony on behalf of an issue advocate who cannot attend. This session there will be a special focus on redistricting reform and other voter-related legislation, but we also have advocates focused on the environment, reproductive rights, gun control, human services, and education who may need assistance. Please let me know if you would like me to submit your name to the LWV Indiana Advocacy committee.

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 local events - at least 40 events since 2008
★ 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
★ Hosts Evening with the League, a monthly gathering of members and friends
★ 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 league@lwvsouthbend.org 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.