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Giving Thanks to Democracy's Defenders

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Giving thanks is a conscious — and sometimes challenging — act. 

My mother used to tell me you should wake up every morning and be grateful for one more day. When so much in the world feels out of our control, it can be difficult to shift into a mindset of gratitude. Yet, at least for me, giving thanks is what uplifts and inspires me in moments of doubt or trouble. 

And when I look at everything people have done this year to protect and uplift every person’s voice, I find so much to be thankful for.

Specifically, there are so many people who have inspired me and given me hope for our nation. Here are just a few of them: 

Election Workers 

From helping folks cast their ballots to ensuring a complete, accurate count of everyone’s votes, election workers keep our democracy functioning. 

Communications specialist Mary Roche holding up "I voted" stickers while volunteering at a local election

Recently, we have experienced election worker shortages across the nation. In response to these shortages, everyday Americans and organizations like Power the Polls have stepped up to keep polling places fully staffed. 

These folks recognize one of the most important things about our democracy: it is ours, and when we see a problem, we, the people, will keep it safe and strong. 

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy lives this year to keep our election process safe, accessible, and efficient. We owe our democracy to you! 

Volunteer to be a Poll Worker 

Voters in Local and State Elections 

Everything from the quality of our education to the affordability of our housing is determined in state and local elections. 

Yet local elections still see low turnout; some research suggests that only 27% of voters nationwide vote in municipal elections, as opposed to the 60% who vote in presidential elections. That means 73% of eligible voters aren’t having a say in decisions around: 

  • School curriculums; 

  • Reproductive health care and all aspects of health access; 

  • Rent control; 

  • Police funding; 

  • Property taxes; 

  • Accessibility in public spaces; 

  • And much more. 

The 2023 election cycle improved on these past numbers, with as many as 37% of people casting their votes. While we still have a long way to go, this was some of the highest voter turnout we’ve experienced in decades, and it deserves to be celebrated! 

Americans discussing voting

I am grateful to everyone who dedicated time to researching their ballot and casting their vote. In particular, I extend my thanks to: 

  • Voters who faced hurdles while casting their ballots, such as folks who dealt with limited polling options; 

  • First-time voters, including new, returning, and younger citizens; 

  • Caregivers who helped others cast their vote and/or used this opportunity to teach the next generation about voting — a shout-out to those who brought their children to the polls! 

You stood up for the needs of your community — and it made all the difference. 

League Members 

I am always proud to see the work our 750+ Leagues do to empower millions of people to get involved in our democracy. 

For example, in the 2023 election cycle, Leagues made more than 4 million voter contacts. They reached more than 2 million voters with election information using, our one-stop-shop election site. They also recruited more than 2,000 people to work as poll workers and empowered voters with information on 20,000 races and 46,000 candidates

Members of the LWV of Alabama and LWVUS on the Edmund Pettus bridge

Further, League members made more than 1 million voter contacts during textbanks in 2023 and reached out to 1,400 friends and family through our digital organizing tool, League in Action

Leagues also got creative when it came to civic education and outreach. Below are just a few of my favorite stories. 

Support the League's work to empower voters and defend democracy

This is all on top of hosting thousands of educational events, rallies, forums, and trainings, and partnering with 100+ state and local organizations nationwide. 

I know there are many more praiseworthy activities that Leagues in every state and jurisdiction engaged in, and I acknowledge all of you. Thank you, League members, for empowering voters and defending democracy. 

As I gather with loved ones to give thanks, these acts of civic service will stick with me. In times like these, being surrounded by people fighting for a more fair and representative nation is a gift. I will think about it regularly in the coming year as we take to the polls to cast our ballots in the 2024 elections. 

So, take a moment to think: what — and who — are you thankful for this year? And how can we meet their selfless acts with our own, building a world where every act of giving thanks multiplies into a dozen more? 

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