Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: League of Women Voters of Thurston County

Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Deborah Vinsel sat down with President Sandra Herndon, and Board Directors Gail Wrede and Carol Goss of the League of Women Voters of Thurston County.

The League of Women Voters of Thurston County is part of the League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Washington State. Started in 1920, the original League was about women’s suffrage, hence the name. Today, however, the different Leagues work on everyone having a voice. The League of Women Voters of Thurston County was founded in 1961 and continually works towards its vision statement: “We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate.”

“The purpose of the League is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government and to act on selected government issues,” says Herndon. The League is nonpartisan, meaning they do not support or oppose candidate or parties. They do study and take positions on issues.

Herndon goes on to explain that they study issues thoroughly and come to a consensus. “If we don’t have a consensus, we don’t have a position,” she explains. When they do have a consensus, then they advocate.

About half of the League’s work is voter services, including encouraging people to register to vote as well as getting the vote out. One of their recent projects was a video on how to vote that was geared toward younger voters, showing how simple it is to vote. It’s now being adopted by the State League. Finally, they also work on voter education: getting information to voters so they can make knowledgeable choices. “In our county, a lot of people are registered, but not so many vote,” says Wrede, who is the voter services chair. In local elections it’s about 30-40 percent and for national elections its 65-75 percent.

Not sure if you are registered to vote? You can contact the Thurston County Auditor’s office or visit the League’s online voter guide.

Currently, the League has 150 members, says Goss, who is the membership chair. “anyone over the age of 16 can join the League, and as Sandra mentioned, it’s not just for women and we want to be active in involving and engaging younger members as well and especially those that have been underrepresented and have been marginalized in the past,” she continues.

Along with getting out the vote, the League also hosts events to engage people who are concerned with issues like environmental, gun control, etc.

For more information, watch the above video and visit the League of Women Voters of Thurston County website. For information on voting, visit the League’s online voter guide.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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