by President Kathy Chiron
Our first kick-off event, a Snappy Hour on September 12th, was good fun! Delicious food and delightful company with participants’ ages spanning almost 8 decades - what an amazing League we are!
Voter registration continues to be a major focus of what we do. First, I’ll let Kathy McGuire report about our night with the Nats on National Voter Registration Day. (We still have visors for sale at $5 each. Contact Linda Softli.)
Also, on NVRD, Gwendolyn Reece, a League member and librarian at American University, organized and supervised an all-day effort to register students to vote and to apply for absentee ballots. With supplies and snacks provided by AU, Gwendolyn, and eight other Leaguers, assisted 1,005 students from 51 states with those tasks, and gave them information about the Vote411.org. This was quintessential League, life-affirming day and a program that should be replicated across the county.
Finally, we are pleased to report that we have been successful in getting access for a League spokesperson on the program at the monthly Naturalization Ceremony at the U.S. District Courthouse.
Getting out the Vote
We have started a partnership with two nonpartisan organizations: OneWomanOneVote Festival 2020 and TheatreWashington, to promote Get Out the Vote (GOTV) for 2020. We tested one of our ideas last month at Woolly Mammoth. They inserted a Vote.411.org business card in each program, and volunteers from DC, Maryland and Virginia were at the theatre three nights each week to help people register to vote. From this experience, we learned: that a flyer would have been better than the business card; and that the location of the table with voter registration forms (DC, MD, VA and national) is critical to the visibility and success of the effort. We also need to fine tune the volunteer sign-up process.
Arena Stage caught wind of this and let us know that they wanted in. So, in less than 24 hours, we arranged for volunteers to help with voter registration, and Vote411.org information, at eight shows. Stay tuned for more opportunities to go to the theatre and promote Vote411.org during the 2020 election season.
Understanding low voter turnout
We are also working with the non-partisan Research4Impactgroup to help us fine-tune a GOTV message for 2020. We are concerned about the historically low voter turnout in Wards 7 & 8 in DC, so we will create a couple of focus groups, and then test two strategies in two precincts for this November’s election with an eye toward 2020.
Upcoming Forum on Health Care
For something more immediate, our Health Committee is hosting a Health Care Forum with the theme, Care After Treatment. The forum will cover what one needs to know about getting long term care after an illness or accident. It is an important question for people of all ages. The forum will be held Tuesday, October 16th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street, NW. Featured speakers include Vincent Gray, City Councilman and Chair of the Council’s Health Committee; Judith Feder of the Urban Institute, plus a representative of the DC Health Care Finance Administration. They will tell attendees how government, nonprofit and private organizations help DC residents who need extended health and personal care.