Get involved ...
Joining the LWV is wonderful support for the organization but personal payback comes from actually participating in the work of the League!
—Judy Johnson, League member since 1975
Candidate forums are an excellent way for the League to further its mission of supporting democracy and educating citizens, so they can be active and informed participants in government. As a nonpartisan political organization, the League is uniquely positioned to facilitate an unbiased platform for candidates to share their platforms and beliefs.
It is important to be well educated on the issues and positions of candidates prior to voting. All audience members are encouraged to participate by submitting questions, either prior to the event or on cards on the day of the event.
Candidate forums have offered a tremendous opportunity to partner with local media and the Lexington Public Library to increase the reach of the forums through live broadcast and social media. Our 2018 Partners included: Lexington Public Library, WKYT, Lexington Herald Leader, WLAP, The Frankfort/Lexington (Ky) Chapter of the Links, Incorporate. For people that were unable to attend, the forums were posted on YouTube. Thousands of citizens were able to become informed by utilizing this access.
The League is hosting many candidate forums this Fall and we need volunteers to staff the registration table, help with audience questions and to serve as timers, in addition to other roles. Get involved– You will serve the community and learn about your candidates at the same time!
Saturdays, Sept 15, 22,and 29
Sunday, Sept 16th
Lexington Public Library
140 East Main Street
The League of Women Voters of Lexington recently hosted a moderated forum to discuss crime and violence in Lexington and some possible solutions. The forum program included a presentation by Genia McKee, Community Outreach Coordinator and a panel, whose members discussed their perspectives on crime and violence in Lexington and what their organizations are doing to make Lexington a safer community. Members of the panel included: Bryna Reed, BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action); Carolyn Dupont, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense; Daniel Whitley, Attorney. Sherelle Roberts-Pierre, Political Consultant, served as moderator. The program included a Q&A session with the audience.
The League would like to continue the Community Conversations programs on important issues for Lexington and needs volunteers to form a committee to create a schedule of these events. This is a great way to make an impact in the community!
Voter registration has always been an important mission of the League. We have been attending local festivals, 5k walks, and various events around town to register voters and to provide information about the voting procedure. We also distribute "Blue Sheets" which have contact numbers for ALL of your elected representatives, from local council all the way to the White House, so you can communicate your ideas with your representatives. Providing your elected officials with your perspective helps them "make democracy work!"
League members have had a lot of fun engaging with the community, learning from citizens how the League can better serve our community. We provide both paper and online voter registration, distribute information on the voting process, how to contact elected officials and also information on restoring felon voting rights. We have several of our information brochures, including the "Blue Sheets" in both English and Spanish. The League needs energetic volunteers to staff registration booths. The process is simple, and the experience is fun and rewarding!
Weekdays and Weekends
Connie Griffith Manor, Roots and Heritage Festival, Latino Festival
The central idea of the LWV Observer Corps is to keep government transparent and to monitor actions related to national, state or local League positions. League members attend government meetings to learn what their government is doing and check whether those meetings are conducted in an open and transparent way, a hallmark of our democracy. Finally, observers monitor actions that are related to national, state or local league positions or programs and report to the League if action is necessary.
Think about a government entity that you would like to know more about. Perhaps Urban County Council, Planning and Zoning, the Fayette County School Board, the Housing Authority, or the Board of Elections. These are just a few possibilities. The League needs volunteers who each select an organization they would like to know more about and then attend the group’s meetings, completing a standard report form after each session.
Several years ago, the Lexington LWV board discussed ways to engage high school students and decided to offer a writing contest which would focus on a different important issue related to citizenship each year. Since then every challenge offered has elicited thoughtful, intelligent ideas. Recent topics have included:
How to Evaluate News & Identify Fake News (2017)
The 2016 Election– Experiences, Issues, Learnings (2016)
Public Policy Issue of Student's Choice– Explain the Policy& Offer Ideas to Solve (2015)
The Surge of Unaccompanied Children Entering the U.S. without Immigration Documents (2014)
Gerrymandering and Ways to Combat its Influence (2013)
The Impact of the Citizen United Decision (2012)
For anyone interested in the writing process and young writers, this project offers an exciting opportunity. People power is needed to generate a timely topic, read and score the resulting essays. The committee then meets to discuss the essays and select winners. Finally, a representative of the League presents the prizes to the students in the classroom. The Essay Committee can always use new worker bees!
Committee Meeting Location TBD
One of the more inspirational events the League attends are the Naturalization Ceremonies at the Courthouse. Quarterly, we witness the swearing in of approximately 50 new citizens from countries all over the world. It is exciting to watch them take their oaths with pride. Towards the end of the ceremony, members of several local organizations, including the League, are given a few moments to address the new citizens regarding their rights and responsibilities as American citizens and to wish them well in their new communities.
After the ceremony, we provide voter registration. We are able to provide online voter registration through the Secretary of State's office, and also traditional paper forms. As during all voter registration events, we also provide general information about voting, information about the League, and "Blue Sheets" so our new citizens will have the ability to easily contact all of their elected representatives. Many League members agree that the ceremony is one of their favorite activities– so many smiling faces eager to engage in democracy!
Friday, Quarterly, 10:30 AM-12 PM
United States District Court
United States Courthouse
150 North Limestone St.
Lexington, KY 40507
Kentucky is one of only four states that permanently disenfranchise persons who have committed felonies. Over 310,000 Kentucky citizens (or one of every 11 citizens) cannot vote because they committed a felony - sometimes many years ago. Among African American citizens of voting age in Kentucky, 26 percent have lost their right to vote. These citizens can apply to have rights restored, but the process is challenging so few apply and governors choose whose rights are restored or not. The Kentucky League has and will continute to advocate for a Constitutional Amendment to allow those who have completed sentencing, to have their voting rights restored.
Redistricting is the process used to define the districts for seats in the United States House of Representatives, in state legislatures and local government seats. Redistricting is done every ten years after the decennial census has been conducted. In 2017 the League of Women Voters of Kentucky formed a committee to study redistricting and create a report to raise awareness of the importance of redistricting and provide recommendations to improve the process in Kentucky at the state level. The state and local Leagues will work to raise awareness of the importance of this issue and will advocate for transparency and citizen input in the process for the next redistricting in 2022 after the final 2020 census data is released.
Once a month a small group of League members meets to discuss a book of interest to League members, relating to national and international history, women, League issues and political science, or our country’s history. Book club members take turns proposing a book to read and leading the discussion. Recent book titles have included:
“The Notorious R.B.G: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
“Grant”by Ron Chernow
“The Weight of Ink”by Rachel Kaddish
“The Accidental President.” by A.J. Baime, about how Harry Truman became President
The Book Club is a great way to get to know other League members! Book Club members report that the book club is fun and that they have read many books that they would not normally read, finding them to be quite interesting and worthwhile reading.
To encourage meaningful discussion and participation, we plan to keep the group small. However, if there is interest, we are willing to form new groups if needed, potentially on weekends or evenings for those who work.
Third Tuesday of the month at 1:30 PM