The "Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy." Awards reflect the Leagues' vision for a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate.

Applications were reviewed by a panel of LWVUS staff and finalists were selected in each category. Voting is now open and the winners will be announced at on June 30 at the Convention banquet. 

Effective Member Engagement and Recruitment — This category is for democracy-building and voter empowering programs and activities that are innovative and have been successful in gaining visibility and recruiting new members.

Finalists - VOTE HERE

LWV of Hudson (OH)

The LWV of Hudson has the largest Observer Corps in the state. In the last three years they have actively recruited new members to become engaged in issues by having them trained in Sunshine Law, LWV positions and best practices, and how to report what is happening at public meetings. This program has allowed: immediate involvement of new members who can quickly learn what is happening in Hudson, confidence in people who have not been active before, a League presence that is inspiring greater openness on the part of our political bodies, and new people willing to apply to be on volunteer committees and commissions when there are openings.

One-fifth of the League's membership is involved in Observer Corps. The board has been notified when issues are being considered that League positions might have an impact on. The League testifies more often, are known for their positions, and are now looked to in terms of well researched opinions. They were even consulted on the revisions of our local land development code.

Due to the state League being the leading voice in Ohio's redistricting efforts, most of the League's new members came on as active petitioners for an end to gerrymandering. The League went from 33 members to 61 members as a result of the presence and activity around these issues and attracted millennials and students who are looking to network and learn skills to become more active.

LWV of Metro St. Louis (MO)

The LWV of Metro St. Louis planned several new events/groups to engage current and new members, as well as, reach out to non-members - New member orientations, Townhall meeting, Rally Night, Postermaking party, Postcard party, Civic Cocktails, three new county unit meetings, and two new study groups. Since last April, the League has grown from almost 300 members to more than 380 members. 

At the new member orientations people talked about their desire to be actively engaged and their passion to connect to make a difference as well as their hesitancy to engage because they feared their information was deficient. The League assured them that they were a place to help with that. At the Town Hall meeting and Rally Night, the League efforts were to discover the specific topics that were most important to those attending. To create an outlet for the energy of new people, the League added advocacy parties, Civic Cocktails, new units, and study groups to keep the discussion going. The Poster-making party was the event that many attending the STL Women's March were looking for!. This outlet to express frustrations and hopes creatively was inspiring to everyone who attended. A Postcard party brought attention to the upcoming MO legislative session and the advocacy that any and every Missourian can do. The League furnished topic information to the postcard writers so that they gained confidence to speak out, and they learned that they can ask the League for real information. Civic Cocktails attempts to bring civil, civic conversation to the ordinary places where people hang out.

The STL League presents ourselves as a safe place to talk about political topics. Several members were interested in policing after the deaths of some black young men at the hands of local police, so they started a policing committee. The state of MO has an initiative effort to increase the minimum wage so several members (new and experienced) took on a study. The League also promotes unit meetings as a safe place to learn and discuss. The three new units are nighttime meetings in new places in the STL area near their neighbors and can serve a younger population that is often working in the daytime.

LWV of Miami-Dade County (FL)

The LWV Miami-Dade participated in Give Miami Day, an annual charitable giving program conducted over a 24-hour period sponsored by Miami Foundation. LWVMD developed a unique campaign strategy that combined key League components, Membership, Development and Voter Services, to involve the LWVMD membership and community in a development initiative to support our LWVMD Education Fund that would finance our 2018 Election Team (Voter Services) activities. The initiative was grounded in a robust communications platform and unique event branding. The project served a diverse Miami-Dade population, a literal Miami snapshot, of every race and ethnicity, across all genders and ages. The participants, from the community at large and our LWV MD membership represented the unique diversity that has come to define Miami.

The Development Membership Voter Services Initiative had two primary target groups: 1) the Miami-Dade community who supports the League of Women Voters specifically and/or the work we do to empower voters and defend democracy; and 2) existing members to create a direct, personal connection to the LWVMD. The LWVMD accomplished it objectives and secured the participation of 54 members. 55% of donors were LWVMD members of which 30 had never before made a charitable contribution to the LWVMD, having only paid annual dues. The League secure 5 new members of which 2 have since been appointed to the Board; and the robust communications platform combined with creative branding that drew in the community and members to connect to LWVMD, reminding them of all their work that goes into improving our democracy.

LWVMD developed artwork of modern Lady Justice, brandishing both the "scales of justice" and her famous Sword of Athena standing over to protect Miami's democracy. Her dark hair and complexion served to evoke many ethnicities, including the predominantly Latin component of our community. The brand energized not only members but many others to donate, join, and connect on an ongoing basis with the LWVMD.