Rooted in the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the League of Women Voters has worked to foster civic engagement and enhance access to the vote since its founding in 1920. Our work has evolved to include efforts to ensure that all eligible voters, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, have the opportunity and information they need to exercise their right to vote. This includes first-time voters, young people, minorities and low-income Americans.
Voting Rights. The League works to protect and expand voting rights through advocating for reforms such as expanded early voting and online registration, and challenging efforts to limit the ability of voters to exercise their basic right. It has opposed photo ID laws and barriers to voter registration.
Improving Elections. The League also works to modernize voting systems, streamline the voting process, promote transparent and accountable redistricting and make it easier for all eligible citizens to become active participants in our electoral process. Among other efforts, it works to improve polling place management, expand online voter registration and implement electronic streamlining. We also work to ensure compliance with laws such as the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act.
The League of Women Voters of Virginia participates in these efforts to protect citizens' right to vote, believing that: democratic government depends on the informed and active participation of its citizens and that election laws, regulations and administrative procedures should be uniformly designed and applied and adequately funded to facilitate and increase voter participation throughout Virginia. We have been helped in carrying out both national and state goals in this regard through support provided by the League of Women Voters Education Fund and its PAVP project. Three of the grant-funded projects are described below.
Executive Summary In 1916, Virginia became the first state to allow early voting for civilians residing abroad via absentee ballot. Since then, Virginians in ever-greater numbers have chosen to cast their vote before Election Day. From 1980 to 2012, Virginia has seen a 428% increase in absentee voting. Nationwide, from 1972 to 2012, Americans are voting early by an increase of 700%. Today, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia provide for early voting, while three states conduct all-mail elections. Just as early voting reflected the exigencies of life in an earlier time, 21st Century Americans have grown to expect convenience and made-to-order services that help to fit voting in complex and busy lives. For a copy of the paper, click here.
The panel presentation and Q and A comments were videotaped by James Southworth, executive producer of "Inside Scoop" and a member of the Fairfax Public Access Board of Directors. They can be viewed in total on YouTube.
The June 2015 report to the members about the update study can be found here.