The League of Women Voters celebrates the 94th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote (August 26, 1920). Marring the celebration, however, is the one year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder case. That decision gutted key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and opened the door for discrimination to gain a better foothold at the ballot box.
Early in 2014, the League was hopeful when a bipartisan group of legislators introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) that would modernize the election process and protect voting rights against discriminations. The U.S. Senate also held a hearing on voting rights and discrimination. Hope of achieving a legislative fix was dashed, however, when Congress failed to move the legislation forward.
In a few short months, voters will be heading to the polls and will do so without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. The League will do everything it can to ensure that eligible voters exercise the important right of voting. On September 20, in collaborations with the Bureau of Elections and other community organization, a Voter Registration Fair will be held in Young Park from 10:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m.. The League will conduct three Candidates Forums to be held on September 9 (candidates for Attorney General and Public Regulations Committee), October 7 (candidates for county positions), and October 14 (candidates for NM Legislature). The forums will be held in the City Hall Council Chambers from 6-8 p.m. and televised live on the city's TV channel, CLC-TV, Comcast cable 20. Voter registration closes on October 7, the same day that Early Voting and begins at the Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd. A Voters Guide of information about candidates and ballot issues will be available before Early Voting starts and during the period leading to the November 4 General Election.
All elections are important. Recent election vote counts showed how important one or a few votes can be in electing or disappointing candidates. Women struggled to gain the right to vote for 72 years (1848-1920); it is a right that will not be given away easily. For helpful voting information, please contact the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections, 647-7428, or log onto the League's web site, www.lwvglc.org.
Erika Graf-Webster, President
League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces