For 100 years, the League of Women Voters of Houston has stood strong with our community, growing into the vital force we are today: pushing democracy forward by increasing political participation and empowering voters with unbiased information and support.
On May 18, 2020, our 100th Annual Meeting allowed us to reflect on the past year that brought both exciting updates in the way we support Houston-area voters and the incredible challenges our community faces with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead to the presidential election in November, we see the critical nature of the work we do together more clearly than ever.
For those who were unable to join us for our 2020 Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Houston in real-time, please view our live-streamed video here:
While our 2019-2020 Annual Report has rich detail to share with you about the ways that LWV-Houston has grown and helped shaped our Houston community, here are some highlights of the 2019-2020 year that we discussed:
Thousands of eligible voters registered. Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters of the United States recognized Houston for registering 31,000 eligible voters in 2019 through 16 naturalization ceremonies and many other activities. We welcomed 23,889 new Americans to the electorate during our fiscal year (June-February) within minutes of their citizenship oath. This number represents an 85% rate of response among those newly eligible. New citizens came from over 100 countries for each ceremony.
Excitingly, our efforts were even on the LWV US website. This past year, we had 228 VDVRs at 58 voter registration drives at 26 venues—from City Hall to high schools, colleges and other places across the city.
The Voters Guide—translated and digitized! Our nonpartisan Voters Guide is a highly visible and useful way to ensure candidate and ballot issue information is shared across our community.
The Voters Guide serves as a significant point of differentiation for the LWV-Houston as we made waves this year in making it more accessible than ever for our diverse city. In the 2019 General Election, we produced the Guide in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese)—the only League in the state to do so!
Our printed guides went to libraries, schools, neighborhood centers and civic organizations, while the exciting launch of the Vote411 interactive tool allowed voters to build their own custom ballot to support them at the polls.
Conversations with the Candidates. This past year, we were able to organize and tape over 40 programs interviewing candidates from all parties and ballot issue discussions. This fascinating interview series allows us to further empower voters through information.
Connections through events and monthly meetings. While COVID-19 shifted our in-person gathering focus, the LWV-Houston was going strong at in-person community events throughout 2019 and early 2020. A few of those events included:
The nonpartisan Mayoral forum in the Fall of 2019, in partnership with the Houston Chronicle, KPRC and Telemundo Houston, we helped to host this conversation with 450 people in attendance and thousands viewing remotely.
2 phone banks at KPRC:
In the Loop Unit Group monthly meetup with speakers on topics like climate change and gun safety in a safe, non-political setting to encourage open dialogue and understanding.
In September 2019, we held Women’s Equality Day featuring fascinating information about unknown suffragettes and we welcomed not only members but numerous political figures for this inspiring event.
Our Rising Stars took an active role in our community, directly supporting initiatives as they learned more about civic engagement through the League. This year, we appreciated their help with big projects like our Voters Guide, phone banking and their fundraising work.
Rebrand and expanded communication. Momentum in the civic space is something that has grown significantly, with new groups impacting the landscape we exist in today. It’s thrilling to see how far we’ve come in 100 years, but how do we stay true to these roots and continue to evolve for the world that we exist in today?
In 2019, LWV-Houston underwent an extensive rebrand that would better speak to the increasing intersection of digital connectivity and activism. We wanted a more vibrant brand that could share our collective stories and better represent the rich diversity of the Houston community. We have rolled out this brand across multiple channels and encourage you to connect with us!
The results have been exciting as we have recruited 20+ communications volunteers, received over 1.4 Million impressions and over 75,000 engagements across our social platforms.
As we look ahead to our 101st year as an organization, we stand firm in our belief that the work we do together is truly helping create a more perfect democracy. While we are dialing back in-person events, we won’t let that stop our forward momentum.
Continue to invest in the Voters Guide. As the November election approaches, we intend to direct any additional funding we receive to support the production, translation and printing of our November 2020 Voters Guide. We have a very specific need for financial support to fund the translations of the guide, which is such a crucial component of our community outreach. In the uncertain era of COVID-19, direct donations are more important than ever in achieving this mission.
Grow our membership and volunteer outreach. Democracy works best when we all join in. 2020 is an important year for our nation and our local community, we invite you to become a member to help us continue to inform and engage as many people as possible.
2020-2021 Advocacy Initiatives. We have more specific initiatives that we are passionately supporting that open up partnership opportunities with groups like League of Women Voters of Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Southern University and the Houston Area Urban League. Our upcoming and ongoing initiatives include:
Seek expanded community support to support our Mission. With generous contributions from the late Mr. Cunningham and longtime friends of the League Bert and Joan Golding—and many, many other supporters—we are excited to build upon the great work we have already started. But we need YOUR help to continue our efforts. Please consider making a donation here.