League of Women Voters of the Mt. Pleasant Area provides helpful resources to local residents

With election time quickly approaching, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by unfamiliar names on the ballot. The League of Women Voters of the Mt. Pleasant Area provides a solution to this dilemma, offering to help educate and inform residents, encouraging an educated, active participation in government. The unbiased nonpartisan organization presents information about elections, the voting process, and current issues. Their goal is to empower voters and defend democracy.

The League was founded in 1920, and is a grassroots network and membership organization with over 750 leagues across the country. The local league started in 1969, and is part of the larger national organization. 

League of Women Voters of the Mt. Pleasant Area spokesperson, Theresa Turner, has been volunteering with the organization for around 30 years. 

“I joined mainly to be involved in order to effect positive changes within the community, registering people to vote, and actually informing people on the importance of their individual votes,” Turner says. 

The local league participates in a variety of programs within the Mt. Pleasant area, including planning and zoning with the city, housing code, city charter, juvenile services, public transportation, school budget process, county district library, recycling, and more. They provide studies and reports on zoning, charters, and millage support in order to inform residents of public policy issues through education and advocacy. 

Turner says the organization is very busy around election time publishing information on voting, but that they are active all throughout the year. 

“We never support or oppose any political party or candidate,” she shares. “We hold candidate forums where we invite candidates who are running for office to participate in a forum—where we ask questions, and the audience is invited to ask questions of the candidates, so voters can have a good idea of who they’d be voting for, and get an idea of where the candidates stand on different positions.”

The League of Women Voters of the Mt. Pleasant Area also publishes an online and print voter guide to inform voters on the names they’ll see on the ballot. 

In an increased effort to educate local residents, the league also reactivated Observer Corps, where league members attend various commission and board meetings. Observer Corp members provide a summary report to the public.

“We published that report a couple weeks ago, and it’s at the Veterans Memorial Library, and people can get a copy,” Turner explains. “We’re hoping to have other news outlets publish the summarized version of the observer report.”

Turner’s favorite parts about volunteering for the league is the voter services aspect and helping the public be aware. 

“I know it’s daunting for some people when they go to vote, see the ballot, and don’t know who these people are,” Turner says. “It’s very important the public know who they are voting for, and what that person stands for.”

Throughout the years, Turner has enjoyed seeing increased access to voting at the polls, with early voting times and absentee ballots making it easier to get a good turnout. 

Those interested in learning more about the organization or becoming a member can visit their website. Volunteers can help with voter registration, candidate forums, distribute the voter guide, staff a table at community events, help with email management, newsletters and publicity, or help coordinate events.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.