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League Of Women Voters of St. Pete Focus: Voter Suppression & Early Voting

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Week one of early voting across Tampa Bay is now wrapping up one local organization is working to make sure the voting process has gone smoothly in St. Petersburg and other areas. CW44's Andrea Alvarez sat down with those leaders, Friday to discuss the issues.

"We're really passionate about reducing voter suppression and just making sure that we have - folks have unfettered access to their democracy," said Linsey Grove, President of League of Women Voters of St. Pete.

Celebrating 100 years right now, the League of Women Voters has had their work cut out for them in 2020. They're a nonpartisan political organization that focuses on empowering voters, defending democracy and urging the community to advocate for issues that they care about. "The St. Petersburg area is a local chapter that's a part of the Florida league."

The St. Petersburg chapter in Tampa Bay was one of the original founders of the Florida State league, so they've been around for quite some time. "Part of our decades-long process, we actually, every single year come up with what we call a program, and the program is just made up of the issues that our membership decides to work on. But then, of course, we also have issues that are local that we care about. And a lot of times they align with state priorities and even federal priorities. For instance, one of our issues that we focus on is immigration. We also work on reproductive justice, we work on gun safety."

Photo Credit: CW44 News At 10

This year, the League sent out thousands of handwritten cards to voters to urge them to use their voice to vote right now. Grove and her team in St. Pete also focus on core voting issues like voting access, government accountability, and voting technology. "Really, what that means is that we educate voters, we register voters, and we also make sure that voters have the skills and knowledge to become advocates themselves."

A key component of their mission is that the focus is on you and not the campaign trails. "We really focus on the issues. We're not focused on partisanship, we're not focused on campaigns,"
said Grove, and it's personal for her. "As a public health practitioner. I care deeply about evidence and using research as a way to come to conclusions. And so one of the great things about the League is that we study everything."

Her message to you is to view the League of Women Voters as a resource in your community, to advocate for what you believe in. "You know, let's say a particular community group says, 'Hey, we really want to work on this issue, and it happens to align with the position that the League has, but maybe it's not a part of our program.' That doesn't mean we can't partner and create and do coalition work.


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