Fall 2008 Edition
Published December 12, 2008
İ 2008 League of Women Voters of Alabama
Editorial: The League in Politics
Whew! Itıs finally over. Maybe the League should conduct a study on how to preserve free speech while limiting political campaigns to a few months!
Recently the daughter of a long-time active leaguer told of a college student in a class she was teaching, who, after she had mentioned the League, asked, since women got the vote years ago, why there was still a need for a league of women voters. The answer, of course, is in our policy statement: the League promotes the active and informed participation of all citizens in government. A look around the state in this election year shows that Alabama Leaguers take our policy seriously. First, congratulations to Montgomery Leaguer and former state board member Beth Kellum on her election to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Beth holds the highest elective office of any current Leaguer, but she is one of many League members holding office, from Birmingham Leaguers in the Legislature and other judges in the Montgomery League to the sheriff and probate judge of Lee County (both men, incidentally). Numbers of Leaguers have served on city councils and as appointed members of planning commissions, school boards, and other government boards and commissions.
While League board members, who represent the League to their communities, must scrupulously avoid visible partisan activities while they are in office, many “regular members” are active in their parties. A group of Auburn women who went to Florida the weekend before the election to campaign for their candidate included three League members. Get them to tell you their adventures sometime. At least one Birmingham leaguer also campaigned out-of-state.
When a team of three was needed at each large polling site in Lee County to tabulate write-in votes, the probate judge turned to the League to provide the leaders of the teams. The League provided the needed team leaders; the college party organizations, who were supposed to provide the remaining members, came up short! And, as always, there was a generous sprinkling of Leaguers among the poll workers.
In Lee County, in preparation for a record turnout, a large number of first-time poll workers were recruited. When they asked why on earth all those amendments were on the ballot, Leaguers had the answer: It's our constitution!
So hats off to all those Leaguers who stepped up to their responsibility to be active participants in their government, whether they got elected to high office, campaigned for what they believed in, or worked a 14-hour day at the polls!
The Auburn/East Alabama League now has a Washington connection. Robert Gibbs, who was just appointed President-elect Obama’s press secretary, is the son of Nancy Gibbs, who was president of the Auburn LWV in 1979-81.
-- Charlotte Ward
Editor, LWVAL Voter
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