[Augusta, ME] The League of Women Voters of Maine re-elected Jill Ward as president of the board of directors during its biennial convention Saturday, May 18, in Augusta. Ward, along with her newly elected directors, is eager to continue the League's leadership role on voter education and advocacy to ensure a Maine where democracy works for all. "I am honored and excited to continue to lead this historic organization into our second century and to welcome the partnership of all Mainers who want to join us in our work to build a stronger democracy."
The event featured a discussion on the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, recognizing women's right to vote, and the movement for universal voting rights today, featuring Anne Gass, independent historian and author of Voting Down the Rose, South Portland City Councilor Deqa Dhalac, and Portland Outright Executive Director Osgood. The day also featured the presentation of the Ann M. Luther Excellence in Volunteerism Award to Peg Balano, retiring state Board member and current co-President of the the League of Women Voters of the Portland Area. Balano has been a leader in voter registration across the state and is credited with dramatically strengthening the League's initiative to register new citizens at naturalization ceremonies statewide.
Since 2017, membership in the League of Women Voters of Maine has more than doubled, and the organization hired its first full-time Executive Director. The League has been instrumental to the implementation of Maine's first-in-the-nation ranked choice voting law, the passage and defense of Clean Elections, and the expansion of civic engagement and voter turnout programs around the state.
In addition to electing a new board, delegates to the convention charted a course for the next two years, including ambitious voter registration and advocacy goals, and ratified Democracy Maine, the League's partnership with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. As part of the approved program for the next two years, the League will take on a new study on non-citizen voting in municipal elections, its history and the considerations today.
In addition to Ward, the League of Women Voters of Maine (LWVME) is pleased to announce the following Officers and Directors for 2019-2021: