Mid-Shore League: Streamlined and Moving Forward!
The Mid-Shore League has been incorporated since 1968, first as the League of Women Voters of Talbot County, and now as the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Shore. The name change came about after we expanded our membership to include two neighboring counties, Caroline and Dorchester. This expansion has increased our reach while at the same time presenting several challenges.
While our League has many wonderful and inspired members, we have found ourselves facing the challenges of an aging membership in three rural counties more limited than ever in terms of stamina and availability. To reduce the workload and rejuvenate the League, we voted at our April annual meeting to revise our bylaws to support a streamlined league structure. Our new leadership team, composed of a convener, a treasurer, and two other members to share and provide oversight for our website, membership, and voters service management, meets monthly to plan and make management decisions. Two members of the Leadership Team are new to the League giving us the opportunity to incorporate new ideas while sharing the accumulated wisdom of our experienced leaders.
We spent the summer planning how to rejuvenate our league and rolled out a series of six meetings over September, October, November, and December seeking to involve our membership and educate the general public. We opened with a September membership meeting laying out our plans and starting work on putting together county-specific meetings to address local issues in Dorchester and Talbot Counties. Dorchester leaguers hosted a meeting on local elections and a candidate forum for town elections in a local municipality. Talbot leaguers hosted a panel discussion on running for local office and produced a booklet on local elective offices using as a base the Kent County League’s document; we love working with other Leagues!
November and December found us hosting public information sessions in both Dorchester and Talbot Counties on the Maryland Primary System and on Redistricting Reform in Maryland. We are mastering the art of publicizing our efforts and getting good press; and we hope to put together “road shows” to engage and educate local citizens about the 2018 elections. We will be working with Kent (LWVKC) and Queen Anne’s (LWVQAC) County Leagues to produce and make available the Voters Guide for the primaries and general elections on the Eastern Shore as well as helping prepare for and host candidate forums for state-wide and local congressional and county offices. This is a tremendous amount of work in any election cycle, but to also cover three counties for our local elections means we will have to be on our toes! We are excited about the upcoming election cycle and look forward to working with both LWVKC and LWVQAC to make sure the Eastern Shore of Maryland is well informed and ready to vote in both June and November.
Jeanne A. Halpin
Treasurer/Webmaster LWV Mid-Shore