Making Democracy Work 


The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. 

We are supported by our members and volunteers.

Explore this site to learn more about our core activities in Voter Services and Nonpartisan Issue-Based Advocacy

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  • Upcoming events

    Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 07:00 PM · 71 rsvps
    Virtual

    Represent Documentary

    Democracy on Her Terms. Represent

    Please register to receive a viewing link for the documentary.  

    What: Represent Documentary

    When: Wednesday, February 15th 7pm (virtual)

    Join the League as we view and discuss the Represent documentary. Throughout the documentary it follows three women running in the midwest to the lead up to the 2018 Midterms elections. This is a perfect documentary to exemplify the hard work many League members have been doing to defend democracy and empower voters. This event is free and open to all! We hope to see everyone for engaging conversation. Watch the official trailer here.   

    Meet the Candidates:

     Myya (22) attempts to spark a youth movement and unseat the incumbent mayor of Detroit, MI (Left)  Bryn (33), a farmer and working mother in Granville, OH, runs for township trustee, but, in doing so, is placed in opposition with the only other woman in office (middle)  Julie (47) walks a tightrope between her identities as a Korean immigrant, woman of color, and Republican candidate for State Representative in a liberal Chicago, IL suburb (right)Myya (22) attempts to spark a youth movement and unseat the incumbent mayor of Detroit, MI. 

    Bryn (33), a farmer and working mother in Granville, OH, runs for township trustee, but, in doing so, is placed in opposition with the only other woman in office. 

    Julie (47) walks a tightrope between her identities as a Korean immigrant, woman of color, and Republican candidate for State Representative in a liberal Chicago, IL suburb.

    Please register to receive a viewing link for the documentary.  

     

    Monday, February 27, 2023 at 09:30 AM · $10.00 USD · 51 rsvps
    Virtual

    Legislative Day

    LWVMD Leg Day Feb 27th a4 9:30am Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo, Delegate Moon, Delegate Stewart, Senator AugustineJoin the League on Monday, February 27th at 9:30am for its virtual Legislative Day. Throughout the day League members will connect with Legislators and discuss advocacy efforts, legislation, and more. You will also get to hear from the Department of Legislative Services, Victoria Gruber who will speak on the Maryland budget. Audience members will also hear from our hardworking advocacy team leaders and get an update on all their progress during the 2023 Legislative Session so far. As always this is a packed day with some very special guest speakers. We hope to see everyone virtually!   

    The program will include:

    • Victoria Gruber, Department of Legislative Services
    • Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo
    • Delegate Moon 
    • Delegate Stewart
    • Senator Augustine
    • LWVMD Advocacy Team Leaders
    • And More to Come!

    When purchasing tickets please enter the number of people attending not the amount. Thank you!

    See all events
  • Latest from the blog

    Juvenile Justice 2023 Issue Paper

    Juvenile Justice Reform

    submitted by Kathy Larrabee

    Juvenile justice systems seek to balance the task of salvaging young offenders from a life of crime and incarceration while also protecting the public. Juvenile justice in Maryland can be traced back hundreds of years.

    Stakeholders and lawmakers dedicated to juvenile justice reform (JJR) generally have chosen to address the issues with new laws, while administration officials prefer tweaking the existing system to let it work as initially intended. These philosophical differences were most evident in 2022 legislative session. For the most part, the 2022 bills were based on the recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Reform Council authorized by the General Assembly in 2019. 

    Several 2022 reforms will make sweeping changes, including: raising the minimum age of juvenile court to 13, except for children ages 10 to 12 alleged to have committed the most serious violent offenses; allowing the Department of Juvenile Services greater discretion in areas of diversion and adjustments, and limiting terms of probation imposed by a juvenile court. Importantly, a permanent Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform and Emerging and Best Practices will be established, and the Child Interrogation Protection Act will give more rights to children and families.

    How effectively the new laws will be implemented is the next big step. Supporters of JJR have declared Maryland’s juvenile court system to be among the worst in the country. In Maryland, more than 30 legal charges would make juveniles automatically eligible for transfer from juvenile court to adult court—an estimated 200 cases per year. These crimes range from murder to handgun possession. According to state data, from 2013 to 2020, about 7,800 juveniles were automatically charged as adults in Maryland, and about 80 percent of them were Black. Specifically, Black juveniles under age 13 will benefit most under new JJR reforms given they are disproportionately and disparately impacted by Department of Juvenile Services intakes, dispositions, and placements. Ironically, within 2 months of the new JJR law on minimum age of jurisdiction, a 9-year-old Black boy, from the porch of his home, shot and killed a teen neighbor on the porch of her home in the Baltimore City suburbs. 

    The League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD) began studying correctional institutions and parole and probation procedures in the mid- 80’s after realizing little progress had occurred since its broader, initial studies in the early 70s which included a juvenile corrections study that evaluated the juvenile court system and lead to new policy positions. 

    Specifically, the LWVMD supports:

    Use of specialized judges, counseling services and administration of juvenile cases, all geared to dealing with families, and (1) small, regional juvenile institutions; (2) Individually designed training and treatment programs and local or regional diagnostic services for juvenile offenders; (3) Coordination of programs and services for juvenile offenders provided by the state agencies; and (4) 24-hour supervised residential work and restitution centers with treatment programs available.

    Additionally, the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. LWVMD calls upon every level of government to eradicate systemic racism and the harm it causes.

    Continue reading → See all posts