“What did I get myself into?” I thought, after I had volunteered to serve on the LWVMD Primary Election Study Committee. I was brand-new to the League and didn’t know anything about it, other than it had something to do with women and voting (hey, I’m a woman and I vote, so I belong!)One of the first things that I learned when I joined, to my delight, is that LVW members include men as well as women!
I had joined the LWV because I desperately want to do something about our dysfunctional, partisan government, and thought that one thing that might affect partisan / bi-partisanship is the election system. What better place to look into election systems than the League of Women Voters?!
I was just getting my feet wet when I found out that there was a committee to study the primary election system, so I took a big breath and asked if I could join. I was surprised (and a little scared!) that they accepted someone as new as I was.
That was just over a year ago, and I’m so very glad that I took the plunge. Without any exceptions, the committee members respected me and took me seriously – even saying that my naiveté gave them the advantage of having the materials reviewed by someone who was not steeped in the culture and was not afraid to say that she didn’t know what this or that was about.
And OH! How much I learned! I still am naïve about the LWV process (committee leaders and members help me along with that), but I learned a LOT about the election systems, delved into research about their effect on partisanship as well as citizen engagement and disenfranchisement, minority representation, and many other useful and fascinating subjects.
The committee work was quite manageable, meeting by phone once every month or so, and accepting assignments as I was able to do so.
But one of the greatest benefits of being on the committee was engaging with such thoughtful, insightful, understanding, patient, knowledgeable and respectful people, everyone working together to get all perspectives fairly represented in our report.
I will never again hesitate if given an opportunity to work on a LWV committee!
Member, Primary Study