NANCY MCCAMMON-HANSEN: It’s time to make a difference for voter-participation in Indiana

guest editorial

Indiana, as you likely know, has one of the worst voter participation records in the nation.

It’s time to change that.

It will take a grassroots effort and the work of many hands to make raising the level of voter participation to happen.

We can do it.

The first step is training on voting laws, which includes voter registration as well absentee ballots and early voting. The League of Women Voters is partnering with Allen County Voter Registration and the Election Board on a February 1 workshop directed toward not-for-profits and interested individuals who will work with clients, constituents, friends, neighbors and family to register prospective voters and provide help in getting those persons to the polls or be signed up to receive an absentee ballot.

The workshop will be from 9 to 11 at The Summit at 1025 West Rudisill.

There is no charge to attend but we would appreciate a heads up as to the number attending so adequate materials can be available.

If you think your vote doesn’t count, you can look no further than the recent Virginia election that put the candidates one vote apart.

You can grouse on Facebook all you want, complain to friends over coffee about the woeful state of politics in our country, and all the other countless ways Americans complain but don’t really get involved in working toward positive change.

And positive change begins with informed citizens WHO VOTE!

Organizations such as the League of Women Voters are a good way to be involved because our focus is on voter registration and education. One of the reasons we are offering this workshop in Fort Wayne is to help people become informed and engaged voters. Participating in the process of democracy is so crucial to bettering our country.

What will you learn in our workshop? Among other things:

* How to legally register new voters or update addresses for voters who have moved.

* Who is eligible to receive an absentee ballot and how are those ballots processed. (And, yes, despite what some people think, absentee ballots DO get counted.)

* What are the deadlines for registering to vote?

* What is the State of Indiana doing about purging voter registration.

* What can poll workers do..or not do..legally on election day.

* Where can you get information on voting laws?

* What are the election dates for primaries and the general election and what offices will be on the ballot?

* Where will early voting sites be located?

* What’s the best way to do a voter registration drive?

Please register today by calling 260-444-2045 (and leaving a message). If you have questions, contact the Fort Wayne Area League by sending an email to me via our website at www.lwvfw.org .

Nancy McCammon-Hansen is a convener for the Fort Wayne-area League of Women Voters

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