League of Women Voters in Flint aims to encourage voter education and participation

FLINT, Michigan — Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary is a little over a month away, taking place on Tuesday, Feb. 27. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or confused by new names on the ballot, specific millages, and potential for misinformation.

The unbiased nonpartisan group, the League of Women Voters of the Flint Area was formed to help defend democracy and provide education and resources to help residents during elections. The national organization, League of Women Voters, founded in 1920, is a grassroots network and membership organization with over 750 leagues nationwide, including the local Flint chapter.

The local chapter is also turning 104 next month, as it came out of the suffrage organization. Their goal is to empower citizens to actively participate in the improvement of their communities, and to encourage informed participation in government. The volunteer-run organization services three counties: Genesee, Lapeer, and Tuscola. 

Pegge Adams is the past president of the Flint Area League of Women Voters and is the current coordinator for the student voter engagement project. Adams says the group does informational presentations and tabling at a variety of community events throughout the community.

On Friday, Jan. 26 at 10 a.m., the League will be at Davison Senior Center, and on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. the League will be at the Flint Development Center. On Tuesday, Feb. 6, they will be at Krapohl Senior Center in Mount Morris at 12:45 p.m.

Adams initially got involved with the chapter when a friend of hers mentioned the kind of work the organization did. She attended a few meetings, helped with the 100th-anniversary celebration, and then stepped up to take over the presidency for a two-year term. Adams says the particular cause is an important one to her.

“Everything comes down to voter rights,” she says. “Everything that is an influence in our world, whether it’s a big thing like the climate, or a small thing like a local ordinance, your ability to weigh in – in terms of selecting people to represent you on some very important decisions that can affect your life is just critical. That’s the core of what democracy is.”

Saturday’s free presentation at the Flint Development Center will last about an hour, discussing the recent Prop 2 of 2022 ballot changes in the legislature, and informing the public.

Some changes that will be in effect for the 2024 elections include early voting, a permanent mail ballot list, improvements to absentee voting, election integrity, and voter ID. Attendees can get help registered to vote as well if they bring their ID and the last four digits of their social security number. 

“There are a lot of ins and outs and questions that people might have, so we want to make sure the public is informed so they can take full advantage of the new rights that they have,” says Adams. 

Adams and other members of the League are hoping to see more voter participation and excitement in the younger generations. That’s why they started the Genesee County Student Voter Engagement Coalition, which includes representatives from several local colleges and state organizations.

They also provide outreach to local high schools as well, informing students about primary elections and how to vote in them. 

“We need to cultivate a whole new tier of leaders in the younger age groups,” Adams says. “A lot of us have gotten kind of up in years, and we’re still trying to do the good fight. We need to make sure young folks are educated on what’s gone before, what the stakes are, and how to move forward in terms of making sure that our democracy works for everyone.”

Adams encourages those who are feeling lost, overwhelmed, or skeptical to vote because they feel they might just mess things up, to be diligent. In today’s day and age, misinformation and political scams are abundant. 

“Trying to be informed is tricky and it’s getting trickier with the AI stuff and who you can trust,” says Adams. “We do talk about some things that can be referenced, you can look up things like Congressional records, and you become informed.”

Those interested in learning more about the organization or becoming a member can visit their website. Volunteers can help with voter registration, and candidate forums, distribute the voter guide, staff a table at community events, help with email management, newsletters, and publicity, or help coordinate events.
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.