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League of Women Voters to discuss aims, goals, purpose at March 28 forum at library

On March 28 at 7 p.m., the Haymarket/Gainesville Community Library will host a meeting in the Mary Jo Rigby Community Room entitled, “An Introduction to The League of Women Voters and its Work,” The LWV of the Prince William Area’s presentation is free and open to the public. 

Speakers will include, Carol Proven, current president of the LWV of Prince William Area, Carol Noggle, president emeritus, and other attending local LWV members. They will address the history of the League, its origins and where it is going in the future. There will be a Power Point presentation about the role of these suffragists throughout American history.

“If you open a newspaper and look at the issues that it raises, we’re involved in virtually all of them,” said Barbara Amster, V.P. of League of Women Voters of the Prince William Area.  The LWV lobbies at every level regarding voting issues, and therefore donations are not tax-deductible.

“We are prepared to continue as long as the audience wants to ask questions or discuss the program, but in ample time for the library’s purposes,” said Amtser, who will attend the meeting.

The session will address noteworthy historical efforts of the League of Women Voters, starting with when it was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt on Feb. 14, 1920, during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.  This was six months before the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. It will continue to cite up, until the present, the League of Women Voters’ role in many historical voting milestones, that include voting for minorities, elderly, students and those in rural America.  LWV now includes men as members.

It has grown as a grassroots organization that believes in informing citizens to play a crucial role as voters. The National League of Women Voters mission statement says the organization is, “A nonpartisan political organization [that] encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues`` and influences public policy through education and advocacy.”

Amster added, “We are national, statewide, and local, with hundreds of LWV’s across the USA, and we are known and widely respected for our non-partisan nature. We never support or oppose an individual or a party, but we do conduct thorough studies to reach consensus on positions reflecting timely issues. Then we lobby for or against legislation that reflects that consensus .

“We have a “Round ‘Em Up and Get ‘Em to Vote Squad,” Amster said .Squad members take voters to the polls who cannot get there on their own. Of the 90 LWV of the Price William Area members, a half-dozen or so are men.  There is no local office, so those in the LWV of Prince William Area meet in living rooms and public buildings.

During election periods, Amster said, “We list every elected office that affects Prince William residents and the incumbent, with office addresses, phone numbers, and other contact information.  Currently, we have plans to expand the outreach into Fauquier County, as our membership there is growing.  We also maintain a presence online in several forms, ranging from our webpage, VOTE411, which is a question and answer forum established by LWV with substantive questions for all declared candidates for offices.”

LWV makes available a booklet, “They Represent You,” which includes vital information on voting and every elected official in Prince William County, including federal, state, county, public schools and cities’ and towns’ representative. A smaller publication, “Top Ten,” includes deadlines to register and where to vote among its ten things to know and accomplish regarding elections.  LWV also distributes them in local events throughout the year.

Current new members are encouraged to attend this presentation at the Haymarket Gainesville Community Library, where the LWV of the Prince William Area will also be registering voters and enlisting new members. More information is available by calling 703-753-3329 or on its website, http://www.princewilliamlwv.com

Light refreshments and bottled water will be available.

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