MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK

Our Mission

 

Empowering Voters.

Defending Democracy.

The League of Women Voters of Maine is a public policy organization. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, the League does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Membership is open to anyone 16 years of age or older.

What We Do


VOTER OUTREACH

In 2020, we're going to increase voter turnout by working with marginalized communities, especially young people, immigrants and low-income workers. We will register students and new citizens to vote, canvass through our Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, and publish a non-partisan voter guide that reaches 100,000 Mainers.

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DEMOCRACY FORUM

The Downeast Chapter of the League of Women Voters, in cooperation with WERU FM, produces a monthly radio program on topics in participatory democracy called the Democracy Forum. Broadcasts may be heard from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM on the third Friday of the month at WERU Community Radio, 89.9 FM.

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ADVOCACY

We will continue to fight for election security, meaningful choices, and representation that isn't distorted by big money. We will push for a ban on corporate contributions to candidates so that they represent voters, not donors. We will continue to advocate for Maine to join the national popular vote compact because every vote for a presidential candidate matters.

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Who we are

Gloria

Meet one of our newest members, who joined during our Centennial campaign to reach 1,000 members before our 101st birthday. While we didn't quite make that goal, we do have more members than ever before. That's really saying something — considering the long history of our organization!

Gloria started looking for volunteer opportunities at the start of the new year, specifically related to civic engagement. She wanted to do something that would bring about positive and lasting change. A few google searches later, she came across the League of Women Voters of Maine.


“I googled around and came across this project by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for High Impact Philanthropy. They had basically created a guide for donors on impressive nonprofits that work towards strengthening our democracy. I started reading the guide, thinking it would help me search for similar groups in Maine. But one of the organizations they highlighted was the League of Women Voters Maine — I couldn't believe it. The guide talked through countless examples of the League's impact from restoring same-day voter registration to campaign finance reform to passing ranked-choice voting. I was so fired up after reading, that I paid my membership dues that day.”
Meg

New to Maine in 2014, Meg was looking to get involved in a civically engaged community group and was trying to better understand the local and state political landscape. She picked up a League of Women Voters’ Maine Candidate Guide and the rest is history. She attended the Portland Chapter’s community meeting, and swiftly joined their volunteer board in 2015.  She even got to represent Maine at the National League of Women Voters meeting in DC in 2015 as one of a handful of youth representatives. Simultaneously, she joined Maine Campus Compact as their Program Director. In this role, she worked with campuses throughout Maine in promoting community- and civic-engaged teaching and learning, with a special focus on expanding democractic engagement on Maine campuses. She has collaborated with League chapters all over Maine in this endeavor. There were countless times when a campus approached Meg in need of a last minute student voter registration drive, or in need of League candidate guides, and she was able to call upon the League’s robust network of volunteers to help spearhead such efforts. Truly, she is in awe of the dedication and perseverance of the League’s volunteers.

Meg currently serves as the Maine Director of the Campus Election Engagement Project, as well as the Director of the Maine Students Vote initiative. The objective of both efforts is to expand Maine's youth democratic participation, close the youth vote gap, and instill a lifetime commitment to civic engagement in Maine’s youth. She continues to work collaboratively with the LWVME as they have become a valued partner for both initiatives.

As a member of the League she is committed to increasing voter participation and turnout, and being part of an organization that strives to reach marginalized, underrepresented voters.


“I tell my students time and time again that their voice matters and that their vote matters. But they often don’t believe me. Showing them races where the outcome was determined by hundreds or in some cases dozens of votes seems to resonate, but they need more support. They need trusted nonpartisan voter information, training and leadership development, and an expanded network of students who are leading voter engagement activities in all corners of the state. The candidates and subsequent policies will greatly impact their lives, and we need to provide opportunities for them to get involved and have a seat at the table.”
Ava

We first met Ava back in February during the League of Women Voters of Maine’s Advocacy Day. It was a cold day with a foot of snow on the ground. Ava traveled from Camden all the way to Augusta. We had asked her to participate in our voter engagement panel at the Blaine House, where she was joined by other activists, including Carrie LeVan and Pious Ali. Ava’s perspective was unlike anyone else’s on the panel.

Ava is a young Latina woman, fighting on the forefront of major socio-political movements. She is the epitome of Generation Z, born right out of the Great Recession. Generation Z grew up with technology at their fingertips and is more diverse than any generation.

During our Advocacy Day, Ava spoke about the power of a collective voice and the necessity of involving teens and college students in major political decisions and movements. Her generation has a voice, and they choose to use it. But together, with the strength and talent of all of us, of every generation, anything can happen.

Ava is also a member of our freshly launched Youth Council. The council is open to high school students, and we are looking for members to join. Learn more at lwvme.org/GOTV.


“Youth involvement in any given election could potentially decide the outcome. It’s frustrating that so many young people do not realize the power they have. 18-29 years olds in theory could determine who runs our country, our states, our towns. ”
Chris

When Chris first worked to register voters in 2004, he knew he wanted to get more involved. He learned Maine’s unique history and how the state has paved the way for voter enfranchisement. He’s proud of his state for making democracy accessible to people with same-day registration and prisoner voting. Eventually, Chris became a board member for both Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and the League of Women Voters of Maine.

His mission is to help make democracy function well, especially for everyday citizens. Some states have different voting policies that are regressive and make it difficult to vote, if not impossible, for certain groups of people. Chris wants to educate Mainers that we are a leader in the nation with Clean Elections and Ranked Choice Voting.

Voters from higher socio-economic backgrounds are typically well represented. Chris wants to build equity and better voter representation from all communities. By going directly to marginalized groups, we are working to level the playing field and take away power from Big Money in politics.


“Time and time again. We are the state at the spearhead of making democracy work. And I think it’s something that we should be proud of and should engage more people to take ownership of those ideals.”
Anne

Anne first became involved with the League of Women Voters in 1972 in Philadelphia. She was a young mother, and the ERA had just passed in Washington. On a hot, steamy day, Anne was with her crying baby in the backyard when a neighbor across the fence decided to strike up a conversation. The neighbor was a League member and invited Anne to a meeting. That talk was the beginning of everything.

She joined a local league in Haverford, PA, where older members were gracious and became her mentors. It was not long until Anne took on a leadership role. In a couple of years, Anne would move on to join the state board where she worked for 10 years, four of those years as state president. While there, she worked on policy and welfare reform and assisted with numerous League studies. She also completed four years on the national board of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Anne’s long and deep commitment to the League has been an inspiration to many. She has always felt empowered by the history of the organization and was ready to get down to work. Learning more about what passed suffragists did to complete their goals only fueled her fire.


“We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy. I just love that.”
Micky

Micky comes from a country where voter suppression is real. When you lose the right to vote, she says, you lose your sense of dignity and the ability to vote for what's right. She believes in civic engagement, coming together as many voices, and using that connection to create change.

She wants her community to get involved and learn how to empower themselves. “I just want to let them know the way I feel when I go cast my vote.” As an immigrant and American, Micky wants others to know that they have a role to play in elections.

For immigrants and survivors of refugee crises, language barriers have an impact on a person’s understanding of local politics. She asks the younger generation to think about how they feel about voting, voter suppression, or empowering someone from a marginalized community. She hopes they take a stand and be a voice for their parents. Together, we can help each other translate, explain, and make choices during the voting process.


“I told them, if they don’t vote, then don’t come and blame. Don’t come and criticize. Because you have a choice. And if your [choice] is not the winner, then at least you tried. And keep on trying -- keep on trying. Don’t stop dreaming.”