If you’ve been out and about at a community event lately — the Busker Fest, the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships or maybe just visiting the Lawrence Public Library — you probably have seen some people from the Lawrence League of Women Voters of Lawrence/Douglas County.
Between now and Oct. 16, you’ll probably see them again — maybe more than once. Oct. 16 is the last day voters can register to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, and the League of Women Voters wants to do everything it can to make sure as many people as possible get registered and vote.
The League is a nonpartisan political organization with both male and female members. According to its website, its mission is to encourage “informed and active participation in government.” The group’s members sometimes do that by studying issues and taking positions on particular public policies, but they never support or oppose a political party or candidate.
Perhaps the group’s most recognized role in the community, however, is acting as an advocate for voting, preferably informed voting.
To that end, League members set up a table at many public events and locations in the weeks leading up to most elections to register people to vote and provide information about voting deadlines, district boundaries and other questions voters may have. Voters also can register online or in person at the Douglas County Clerk’s office, but sometimes the LWV table is just the nudge they need to register now and not put it off.
A new state law that goes into effect Jan. 1 will require people registering to vote in Kansas for the first time to provide proof of their citizenship. The law will add another step to the registration process, and it is uncertain whether the League of Women Voters will be able to continue its voter registration tradition. The League is dedicated to this part of its mission, and state and local election officials should help them continue this service.
Voting is the bedrock of our democratic society, and the League of Women Voters deserves the community’s thanks for the work it does to educate voters and increase voter participation.