We are still reveling in this month’s historic Election Day. More, diverse women elected to office than ever before. Record high voter turnout for a midterm election. Voting rights wins across our nation, with redistricting reforms and expanded registration passed in at least four states. It was difficult to narrow down the wonderful progress we saw you, the voters, call for on November 6—but here are a few highlights:
Women Win at the Polls
Women, we made our voices heard big on November 6. The first Muslim and Native American women, the first black women from New England, the first Latina women from Texas—all elected to Congress. It’s not just that women won big this year, but it’s how they ran and won.
"These women are powerful, amazing women who ran strategic, smart campaigns," said our CEO, Virginia Kase, as she joined Good Morning Washington to talk about the historic number of women elected.
She elaborated in this Ms. Magazine op-ed: "When you combine the power of women candidates and women voters, there is nothing we can’t achieve. The 2018 midterms proved that."
Real Stories from Real Voters
Every Election Day, League staff work in the Election Protection headquarters in Washington, D.C., fielding tips and volunteers, advising on issues, and working up litigation when necessary. On the ground, League volunteers monitor polling places, talk to voters about any problems they experience, and report them to the Coalition. In 2018, we saw some of the biggest problems in Georgia, where voters waited for up to five hours to vote.
In fact, within one hour of polls opening in Georgia, the Election Protection hotline received more than 70 calls reporting issues at two polling places in Gwinnett County. The League of Women Voters dispatched a volunteer to observe and report what was happening on the ground. Watch our video to hear voters recount their experience trying to vote on Election Day.
Ballots and Ballot Amendments in Florida
Across the Sunshine State, League volunteers made sure Floridian voters were protected and their voices were heard.
Through Amendment 4, Floridians restored voting rights to 1.4 million people who have served their time for a felony conviction—the most amount of people re-enfranchised at once since the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Additionally, LWV of Florida joined (and won) a lawsuit to combat Governor Scott’s improper request to stop the counting of timely ballots cast during the election. While there is clearly much to improve in Broward County to ensure all votes are counted in a timely manner, this win made sure Floridians who wanted to make their voices heard in this election didn’t do so in vain.
Voters Crack Down on Gerrymandering
In states across the country, the League worked to put the power to draw lines in the hands of the people, not politicians.
Michigan voters used the power of their ballots to pass Proposal 3, transferring the responsibility of drawing districts to an independent redistricting commission, as well as expanding access to the polls.
Coloradoans voted to pass Amendments Y and Z, creating independent redistricting commissions and setting clear criteria that prohibits gerrymandering in the state.
And Missouri passed Amendment 1, which will increase transparency in the legislature, close lobbying loopholes, and lower contribution limits for legislative candidates. It will also ensure that political parties are not given an unfair advantage when it comes to drawing legislative maps through the appointment of an independent demographer.
Our democracy is truly strongest when everyone participates and has their voice heard. On Election Day, voters made huge steps toward full participation. But we still have so far to go. Outraged about voter suppression? This article from Elle.com shares what you can do to help.