How the League Was Busy Making Democracy Work in 2014

12/29/2014 10:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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As 2014 comes to a close, the League of Women Voters is reflecting on the major successes we celebrated in Making Democracy Work® over the past year. From protecting voting rights to keeping money out of politics, we've made a big impact in strengthening our democracy. We're excited to celebrate our 95th anniversary in 2015 building on our accomplishments from 2014 -- and setting ambitious goals for the coming year.

Here's a sample of just some of the important work the League accomplished in 2014, and what lays ahead in 2015.

Educating Voters: In the lead-up to the midterm elections, Leagues across the country worked tirelessly to ensure voters had all the information they needed to vote. League volunteers registered tens of thousands of new voters, including the 400 Leagues in 48 states that registered voters on National Voter Registration Day. The League also had a successful youth voter registration effort, registering thousands of young voters in over 40 communities.

The League was also instrumental in getting out the vote. Throughout 2014, nearly 1.5 million voters used the League's online elections resource, VOTE411.org, to find the information they needed to vote, including their polling place, and candidate and ballot information. Leagues also held nearly 600 candidate events and handed out over a million postcards and fliers to help educate voters.

In 2015, we'll see the 2016 presidential cycle begin to ramp up and Leagues will continue to register new voters, particularly those in underrepresented communities as well as prepare for state and local elections occurring in 2015.

Voting Rights: This year, our supporters sent over 90,000 letters to Congress in support of the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA), legislation to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. A repaired VRA will ensure that every American citizen, regardless of race or language, has equal access to the vote.

The League also remained critical to helping protect voting rights at the state level through legislative and judicial action. For example, the League of Women Voters of Missouri helped stop a discriminatory voter photo ID bill and a restrictive early voting constitutional amendment, while the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania was instrumental in thwarting a state voter photo ID law. Meanwhile, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota helped pass online voter registration thereby expanding the voter registration process for Minnesotans.

The League will continue to push back against bad legislation that attempts to prevent voters from having access to the polls, and we're looking forward to more successes expanding fair and equal access to the electoral process in 2015!

Environmental Defense: In 2014, our supporters sent nearly 100,000 comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan in support of critical measures to protect our planet and public health by limiting carbon pollution from power plants. In 2015, we'll continue to #actonclimate as the EPA finalizes these critical regulations by helping implement the process at the state level and defend the regulations in the face of opposition in Congress.

Money in Politics: This year, we continued to work at all levels of government to ensure that citizen participation in the political process is not drowned out by special interests and big money donors because dark money has no place in our elections. So far, we've sent 15,000 comments to the Federal Election Commission in hopes of reducing the influence money has on our elections.

In 2015, we have our eyes on the DISCLOSE Act, critical legislation that would ensure that voters know the identity of donors who have secretly financed campaign expenditures in federal elections. We'll also closely monitor other legislation that defines coordination between candidates and outside spending groups, including Super PACs, in order to limit the big money flowing into our elections. And we'll continue to provide comments to the IRS as it redrafts a proposal that defines election activities.

As we head into our 95th year, the League will remain active in strengthening our democracy. We're committed to stepping up our work to register more new voters and help all eligible voters participate in our electoral process. We'll also keep pushing for necessary legislation and regulations at the state and federal levels to protect our planet for future generations, keep secret money out of our elections and ensure that our elections are fair, free and accessible.