The League of Women Voters of North Carolina has a vested interest in promoting and expanding civics education throughout the state.
Why is the League committed to North Carolinians having a more robust understanding of civic issues? A healthy democratic government depends on public participation!
“The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation at all levels of government. … The League has long worked for the public’s right to know and for broad public participation in government as a necessary component of decision-making at all levels of government.”
Four local Leagues – Charlotte Mecklenburg, Wake County, Henderson County, and Orange, Durham, Chatham Counties – presented on their respective civics education programs during LWVNC’s 2022 Council in the spring of 2022. They also recorded their remarks and slides, for the benefit of a broader audience. Watch the YouTube video. (Charlotte Mecklenburg’s presentation can be found from the beginning until 10:20; Wake County’s remarks begin at 10:25 and run until 17:09; Henderson County’s presentation can be found from 17:11 until 20:42; and Orange, Durham, and Chatham Counties’ presentation runs from 20:43 to 29:07.)
If you are a member of a League in NC who would like to make your civics education materials available on this page, please contact communications [at] lwvnc.org. cash [at] lwvnc.org (
RESOURCES – CIVICS EDUCATION FOR ADULTS
Charlotte Mecklenburg League
Civics 101 is an excellent source of comprehensive information about governance structures supporting Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte. The program, which is offered at no charge to all residents, consists of six two-and-a-half hour sessions, one-evening-per-week, covering the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education, the Mecklenburg County Commission, Charlotte City Council, the North Carolina Courts (26th District), and local media. Attendees may participate in-person or virtually, via Zoom.
The program is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Charlotte Mecklenburg, and each session is led by current government officials and employees. Participants get an overview of local government as well as a panel discussion among journalists regarding local issues in the media. Upon completion of the program, participants will:
- Understand how local government works;
- Learn how it affects daily life (where tax dollars go);
- Identify which government departments can help when they need assistance in Mecklenburg County; and,
- Know how to direct their energy to affect change.
Each year, this program is offered during February and March. Those interested may join the waiting list by sending an email to lwvcmcivics101 [at] gmail.com. As soon as dates for the next program are scheduled, everyone on the waiting list will be notified.
Offered since 1995, residents of Mecklenburg County are eager for the information the LWVCM Civics 101 program provides as an introduction to local government for new voters, new arrivals to the county, and even longtime residents. The new hybrid format (in-person and virtual) allows for a larger number of participants.
Civics 101 has several illustrious alumni including former Mayor Jennifer Roberts and State Senator Joyce Waddell. Less than three years after participation in the LWVCM inaugural Civics 101, one participant took his seat as a member of Charlotte City Council. Another participant took an appointment to the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals. And yet another serves on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. All credit the knowledge they gained in the Civics 101 program for “showing them how to get involved in government” and how to make a “positive impact quickly.”
Orange, Durham, and Chatham League
Let’s Talk Civics is a 90-minute virtual presentation hosted by LWV Orange, Durham, and Chatham. About 25 minutes are dedicated to a slideshow on how government works. Then the audience participates in a Q&A for about 5 minutes before they hear from elected officials for about 30 minutes. The discussion among the elected officials is moderated by the League. A 10-minute Q&A between the audience and the elected officials follows. The audience is encouraged to fill out a survey before leaving the virtual program.
Topics have included powers of county versus city government, how the budgets are determined for the city as compared to the county, what powers the state government has compared to the federal government, and how the branches of government operate. Let’s Talk Civics has also covered “special purpose” government, such as metropolitan planning organizations and regional groups.
Watch this YouTube video (from from 20:43 to the 29:07 mark) to hear LWV Orange, Durham, and Chatham's Krishna Mondal speak about Let’s Talk Civics.
RESOURCES – CIVICS EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS
Henderson County League
Created by the League of Women Voters of Henderson County, The Students Voting For Democracy (SVFD) civics program has been maintained and produced during every presidential and midterm election cycle since 2014 with the League's partner and host, the Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS). Each school has an SVFD teacher-liaison who, working with an SVFD District Facilitator, is responsible for coordinating the program with the school’s faculty to hold the mock election. Thousands of K-12 students have voted in these mock elections.
Goals of the Program:
- To enhance the NC civics education curriculum K-12 in HCPS.
- To increase student interest and engagement in the election process.
- To have HCPS students cast informed votes for candidates and issues.
- To increase family interest and participation in the general election.
- To help prepare students for their adult civic responsibilities as citizens.
In January 2022, the SVFD steering committee (composed of LWVHC members, HCPS administrators, and HCPS teacher-facilitators) hired district teacher-facilitators for the elementary, middle, and high schools as well as a digital district facilitator to oversee the 2022 SVFD program in the schools. The stipends for the five facilitators come from a dedicated funding source for SVFD held at the HC Community Foundation.
PowerPoint Election Units are prepared for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 to introduce the candidates and issues to the students to help them be informed voters when they vote during the early voting period.
View the 2020 Students Voting For Democracy Election Units based on the Henderson County official ballot.
Henderson County is also known for the Francee Sherman Student Award. Sherman became the first president of the League of Women Voters of Henderson County in 1963. She left money in her will to create a fund providing money for LWVHC educational projects.
- Purpose: Provide a one-time $500 award to a Henderson County graduating senior who is accepted into a post-secondary education or training program.
- Eligible: Any senior student enrolled in a public school, domiciled in Henderson County, and is on track to graduate in the current school year. An eligible student must provide proof that s/he has been accepted into a post-secondary education program.
- Application Package:
- A written essay (no more than 500 words). What is the role of public schools in supporting our democracy? (2022 topic)
- Evidence of volunteering within the community (e.g., registering people, including peers, to vote)
- A letter of recommendation from a teacher
Henderson County also sponsors an annual Student Video Contest.
- Purpose: LWV goal of engaging young, soon-to-be-voters, on issues of concern, to realize that elections have consequences and can deeply affect their quality of life. 1st prize of $250 ; 2nd prize of $100 (Amazon gift cards)
- Eligible: (2022) Any middle school student in Henderson County
- 2022 Topic: 2-4 minute video explaining how students can help protect the environment in Henderson County
- Judging: Based on rubric: • originality and creativity • accuracy of information • maintaining a nonpartisan stance • attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion • film, audio/video and editing quality
For additional information on these projects, email education [at] lwvhcnc.org.
Learn more on LWV Henderson County’s website.
Watch this YouTube video (from 17:11 until the 20:42 mark) to hear LWV Henderson County’s Ernest Mowell speak about these programs.
Catawba Valley League
In the spring of 2022, the League produced and released a video called “The Teacher & The Director.” The 20-minute video features a local high school social studies teacher and the Catawba County Board of Elections Director. The interview format utilizes questions from Hickory High School students. The purpose is to highlight the behind-the-scenes work of the Catawba County Board of Elections during the primary and general election seasons.
The video was sent as a public service to all high school social studies teachers in Catawba County. View it on the League’s YouTube.
– iCivics.org champions equitable, non-partisan civic education so that the practice of democracy is learned by each new generation. Educators, parents, and students can find games about how county government works, immigrants’ path to citizenship, constitutional rights, and more. Their resources focus heavily on children in grades 6-12, but you will also find some activities tailored to 7-to 10-year olds.
– UNC School of Government’s website offers many resources related to Citizen Academies, from sample agendas and budgets to publicity materials. Add information about your civics education program (or update an existing entry) to the national database of programs by completing this form.