League welcomes more than 1000 members to Illinois
Wheaton, Illinois – The League of Women Voters of Wheaton was represented by LWV board member and League delegate Liz Albert at the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) 53rd National Convention held June 28 – July 1 in Chicago, IL. Several LWV Wheaton members also volunteered their time at the convention throughout the four day event, as well. The Convention was hosted by the Leagues of Women Voters of Illinois and Chicago. The event kicked off a two-year celebration of the coming 100th Anniversary in 2020 of women gaining suffrage and the establishment of the League of Women Voters.
Founded in Chicago in 1920, the League of Women Voters is active in all 50 states with more than 750 chapters across the country. More than 1,000 League leaders from 49 states and the District of Columbia attended leadership workshops and heard from guest speakers about League priorities.
“We all want to see a League of Women Voters that’s suited to meet 21st-century demands, that works hard to court a new generation of leaders and activists, that looks like the people and communities for whom we so fervently advocate,” said Chris Carson, LWVUS president in her opening remarks to the Convention delegates and attendees.
The Convention kicked off with A Conversation on Redistricting where attendees heard from Ruth Greenwood and Nick Stephanopoulos. Greenwood served on the legal team for the plaintiffs in the United States Supreme Court case Gill v. Whitford which the Court decided in June.
“Partisan and racial gerrymandering is a huge problem in this country, and the League is fighting to make sure the voters elect politicians who truly represent their interests, rather than elected officials picking their constituents,” said Liz Albert, Get Out the Vote Committee Chair and Board member for LWV Wheaton. “The League continues to fight back by working with the Change Illinois coalition to pass legislation for a better redistricting process in Illinois.”
Over the four-day Convention, delegates voted on the priorities that the national organization should focus on for the next biennium. The Campaign for Making Democracy Work® includes ensuring a free, fair, and accessible electoral system for all eligible voters by focusing on Voting Rights, Improving Elections, and advocacy for the National Popular Vote Compact, Campaign Finance/Money in Politics, and Redistricting. The League will prioritize legal arguments or defenses necessary to ensure ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution, which after Illinois’ successful ratification this Spring, only requires one more state.
Attendees also heard from Elaine Weiss, author of The Women’s Hour, at a banquet where Leagues were recognized with awards for their work. The League of Women Voters of Naperville was awarded the Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy Award in the Community Connection category. The award recognized the “Stroll to the Polls” project which the League spearheaded with Waubonsie Valley and Metea Valley high schools in Aurora. Voter turnout in targeted precincts doubled thanks to their efforts.
“Attending this national conference and meeting members from all over the country really reminded me how important the League of Women Voters is to this day,” said Albert. “The number of women in elected offices do not reflect the demographic makeup of women in our communities. This is an important midterm election year and the League is committed to making sure the voters in the DuPage County area have the resources they need to participate in November.”