League of Women Voters car parade will ‘cruise for voters,’ share info about mail-in ballots
photo by: Contributed image
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts of the local League of Women Voters to inform voters and increase turnout will take a new form, and perhaps greater urgency.
Under normal circumstances, the League of Women Voters of Lawrence/Douglas County registers voters at the farmers markets in downtown and North Lawrence, at both high schools, and at events such as the city’s Earth Day Celebration and Art in the Park. With those activities canceled or moved online, Kristin Salmans, president of the local LWV, said that the league is planning a parade for Monday to spread its message in a format that complies with gathering limits and orders requiring people to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another.
“It’s just kind of a fun thing to stay socially distant but to promote awareness,” Salmans said. She said the league’s goal remains to increase voter registrations and voter turnout, particularly in areas where turnout is typically low.
The league, a nonpartisan organization that encourages civic participation, has partnered with the NAACP and Moms Demand Action for the “Cruisin’ for Voters” car parade through Lawrence, Salmans said. The idea came from a similar parade recently done by the League of Women Voters of Salina. Salmans said the parade will include 20 to 25 decorated vehicles that will drive around Lawrence on Monday. She said the cars will be decorated with posters with information about registering to vote, checking registration and requesting mail-in ballots.
Salmans said requests for mail-in ballots have added importance this year because of the pandemic and concerns about the spread of the virus. She said that requesting a ballot as early as possible will give local elections officials a better idea of how many ballots must be printed and mailed come election time.
“I think people are concerned and somewhat fearful of being in large groups right now, and that may extend to polling places in the election season,” Salmans said.
The last day to register to vote in the Aug. 4 primary election is July 14, according to the voting and elections page on the Douglas County website, douglascountyks.org; for the Nov. 3 general election, the deadline for voters to register is Oct. 13. The deadline to request an advance ballot to be mailed for the August election is July 28. The county’s site also provides information about checking registration and requesting a mail-in ballot.
Apart from the parade, Salmans said the league’s other voter awareness efforts have included a PowerPoint presentation distributed to high school seniors through the school district and informational signs that have been placed around town.
The parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Keller Williams Realty parking lot, 545 Columbia Drive. It will travel east down Sixth Street and then south down Massachusetts Street before proceeding to southeastern Lawrence and through the Schwegler neighborhood. The parade will end in the Holcom Park Recreation Center parking lot, 2700 W 27th St. Salmans said residents are welcome to join the parade.