On the Road to the Election 2012

This fall, as the candidates are crisscrossing the country, I, too, am on the road. My mission is different: My focus is on powering voters for Election Day, ensuring that every eligible voter is prepared and able to vote. The League is committed to this goal, and our election website, www.VOTE411.org, stands ready to provide voters with the important information they need to get ready for November 6.

My travel will take me to as many as 10 states to see the work our Leagues are doing to prepare voters for Election Day. I am also taking this opportunity to meet with some of our partner organizations, local media, and elections officials - collaboration is critical to making our work and Election Day a success. To date, I have been to Ohio, Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, and I write now from North Carolina. I'm about halfway through; I want to take a moment to share some of my experiences.

Leagues across the country continue their efforts to protect voters from restrictive tactics, including limiting early voting, photo voter ID, citizenship concerns and voter roll purges. Some of the Secretaries of State I talked with are well aware of the League's concerns on these issues and its commitment to protecting voting rights. We remain worried, however, that some voters will be confused. The good news is that local election officials are dedicated to their work on behalf of voters. They are doing what they can to provide up-to-date and clear information about all changes to the voting process and are making sure that the election workforce is trained to give voters the correct information. And, Leagues, in collaboration with officials, are educating voters and helping to minimize voter confusion.

We, and our partners nationwide, are working to protect voting rights, register new voters, inform voters and turn them out to the polls. It has been exhilarating to be a part of this over the last month. In Colorado, our partners are working on voter registration and get out the vote efforts through the Women's Collaborative. In Lansing, Michigan, I participated in an energetic League-sponsored rally on the steps of the capital with speakers from our partner organizations speaking out against voter intimidation tactics. In Ohio, the Voters First Coalition, which the Ohio League is a member of, successfully put a constitutional amendment on this November's ballot to reform Ohio's redistricting process through the state's referendum process.

The most encouraging thing I've seen on my travels so far, is the way the League is stepping up to make sure that every eligible voter has an equal opportunity to register and vote before the voter registration deadlines hit early this month. At local high schools and colleges, community centers, bus stops and just about anywhere we can set up a table or hold a pen and forms, look for the League. Two hundred and forty-nine Leagues registered voters as part of the highly successful National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) last week; many of the League volunteers were at more than one venue in their communities. In Missouri, a visit to Center High School in Jackson County for a presentation on empowering the youth vote served as a kick-off event of sorts for the NVRD efforts in their community.

This road trip has given me greater confidence that this November, voters will be armed with the information they need to turn out at the polls. This is possible because of the committed League volunteers across the country and our partnerships with local organizations and elections officials. It has also allowed me to share and promote our work with great pride and appreciation. In the greatest democracy in the world, the League of Women Voters is demonstrating, once again, that protecting voting rights is protecting American exceptionalism.

Through our hard work and the League's national election website, www.VOTE411.org, we're sure voters will be empowered to make responsible informed decisions. Visit Vote411.org for a presidential candidate voter's guide along with local and state information on early and absentee voting, candidates and issues, registration deadlines, and more. With so much at stake in this November, we must make certain that all citizens who want to cast their vote can and elections are free, fair and accessible.