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Strong growth leads to award for League of Women Voters

By Robin Y. Richardson
Aug. 26, 2013 at 10 p.m.

They are credited for originating candidate forums on the local level, having the first male president of any local chapter of the Texas League of Women Voters and for keeping their supply of free, non-partisan Voters Guides in high demand during election time.

Now, the members of the League of Women Voters of Marshall-Harrison County are celebrating another milestone - gaining national recognition for increasing its membership by more than 11 percent in 2012.

"Their commitment to strengthening the league is critical to our mission and our democracy," a certificate of special recognition signed by Elisabeth McNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, says.

According to Anne Schink, chair of the membership and league support committee of the LWVUS board, the local league was one of nearly 150 leagues across the country to grow its membership by 10 percent or more last year.

"We're honored and we acknowledge the hard work," said Linda Adler, president of the local league.

Ms. Schink thanked the local league for all of its efforts to not only fulfill the organization's mission as a whole, but to grow the organization as well.

"Such substantial growth is very exciting and important to the success of the league," Ms. Schink said. "It is what has ensured our place as one of America's most trusted organizations for more than 93 years."

And as it celebrates its laurels, the Marshall-Harrison County league is currently preparing to participate in National Voters Registration Day for the first time locally. The local league will observe National Voters Registration Day on Tuesday, Sept. 24, by hosting a voter registration drive from noon to 6 p.m. at the 1901 historic Harrison County Courthouse. The group will be set up at two marked entrances of the historic courthouse.

"We would like to remind graduating high school seniors that as they turn 18 this is a special opportunity," said Ms. Adler.

The league of women voters is a nonpartisan political membership organization that doesn't tell voters how to vote, but equips them with the information they need to make their own informed decision.

"We're affiliated with the National League of Women Voters, which is 93 years old," said Ms. Adler. "While we were formed to teach women how to vote during the suffrage movement, we welcome all genders."

She said the local league has had three male presidents, one of which, the late Dr. Greg Beil, was the first male president of any local chapter of the Texas League of Women Voters. Ms. Adler said the league is very proud of that undisputed fact.

Additionally, the local League is credited for originating candidate forums as a platform for voters to learn more about the candidates running in local elections.

The League is also notable for making available the free, non-partisan Voters Guide, funded and published by the League of Women Voters of Texas Education Fund to help citizens cast an educated vote in state and national elections. The guides highlight candidates, asking them questions on various issues in which they respond.

Ms. Adler said a general meeting for the late September is in the planning stages for the local league. She urged anyone interested in membership or donating to the organization to contact Julia Williams, local treasurer, at (903) 930-5547.



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