This week, another mass shooter terrorized a US high school, this time in Santa Fe, Texas. Again, thoughts and prayers poured into the victims’ families. I’m afraid that after a few days of tears, we will too easily move on, decrying Congress’ inaction on many issues, not just gun safety.
I’m not sure what the young leaders of the March for Our Lives are doing now. I hope they are pressuring candidates in local elections to commit to gun safety legislation. Their greatest influence could come from the new voters they encouraged to register at hundreds of events last March. About 4 million young Americans are expected to turn 18 years old by the November election, and when added to 46 million eligible 18-29 year olds in the US, the voting power of young people is certainly enough to influence the vote in many jurisdictions. But will they turn out on election day?
While the League has perennially been known for registering voters, it’s apparent that our task heading into the future will be turning out the vote rather than registering. As we in California have added DMV as well as election-day registration, and are moving toward 100% vote-by-mail balloting in 2020, getting voters to submit their ballots is paramount.
Next month, a LWVF delegation will attend the LWVUS Convention in Chicago. There, at the direction of our Fresno members, we expect to join other local Leagues in a call to add gun safety to the LWVUS 2018-2020 priorities for action. We agreed that the League’s national recommended program, “Making Democracy Work”* should be continued, but with the addition of advocacy for gun safety legislation. Additional requests from our members to the national body are for infrastructure improvement to mitigate climate change andplanning for climate-related emergency services.
We welcome new Board members, Marie Slater, Secretary to the Board, and Liz Shields, VP of Voter Services. Reluctantly, we say farewell to Mary Savala. Though Mary will no longer serve as a Director on our Board, she will continue to represent the League on natural resources issues including land use and transportation.
*”Making Democracy Work” is the LWVUScampaign, adopted at the 2016 bienniel convention, that directs Leagues to work to engage more voters in the election process and strengthen the laws that govern money in politics, redistricting and voting rights so that it is free, fair and accessible to all.