Colin Rivera, Staff Writer
It has been a century since women were granted the right to vote in the United States. The League of Women Voters (LWV) was established as an activist group and was part of the suffrage movement, and currently has more than 700 leagues across the nation. The LWV of Thurston County will be hosting a community conversation discussing the history of suffrage.
The LWV has been an established group since the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, and are a nonpartisan group with a strong interest in civic engagement within the community. To encourage this, they will host events that are open to anyone, regardless of gender or demographic. They encourage using your voice through voting, and have held activities, such as rallies, to make people more aware of local and federal issues.
The LWV will host a community conversation, titled, “The Vote! Past, Present, and Future.” As advertised by the organization, the event is a call for community members to “help [LMV] create a community of diverse voices, people of all ages and concerns, to address some of the most challenging questions of this decade,” and is sponsored by the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, The Thurston County Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and the Zonta Club of South Puget Sound.
LWV volunteer and Saint Martin’s student, Kelsy Monaco, elaborated on the event in more detail: “The guest speaker (Thurston County auditor, Mary Hall) will discuss the centennial anniversary of suffrage and the history surrounding it.”
Mary Hall was first elected as Thurston County Auditor in 2013, and was re-elected to another four-year term in 2018. Hall is a member of the LWV and Voter Intent, a program as defined by Everett, Wash.’s the HeraldNet, where “election officials will do their best to count each vote cast if the ballots are received in a timely manner and the voter’s intent is clear,” regardless if a voter’s ballot is completed correctly or not.
As described in her biography on the Thurston County website, Hall is “a champion for cybersecurity and a strong advocate for removing barriers to voting. She spearheaded advocacy for new election laws including same day voter registration, pre-registration of 17-year-olds, automatic voter registration and the Washington Voting Rights Act.”
Following Hall’s discussion, attendees will be broken up into groups and will be able to converse with people that hold different worldviews. The LWV believe that establishing links between different people will increase community involvement. The meeting will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Olympia Regional Learning Academy building.