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Friday, February 26, 2021
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  • Representative democracy should represent everyone, but doesn’t
    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 4:00 AM
    When I was young and under the scourge of thinking I knew it all now, I made an argument with my father claiming that the will of the majority ought to prevail, such was the crux of democracy. My father countered, “Shouldn’t the needs of the minority be protected?” His answer blindsided me. I wasn’t sure of which minority he spoke--he was a ride-or-die conservative who long held that his party needed to dominate and fix America as if there was only one way to do that. He didn’t mean to, but his contrarian response broke something loose in my thinking. 
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  • For the love of democracy
    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 4:00 AM
    By 21 years old, Frederick Douglass declared himself free, sailed to New Bedford, Mass., paid the $1.50 poll tax and voted for the first time. He voted again the following year, 1841. Douglass served in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet and joined with women suffragettes demanding the right to vote.
    Like so many born into slavery, Douglass did not know his birthday. He chose Feb 14 as his birthday. Over 100 years after his birthday, the League of Women Voters became a national organization. The right to vote drove both.
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  • League of Women (and Men) Voters: A real resource
    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 4:00 AM
    If there’s one thing we know about 2020 in the middle of our terrible pandemic and amid the granfalloon of the national political campaign, it’s that millions and millions of Americans awakened to an awareness of the political processes that our democratic nation operates on and depends on.
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  • Some Good News: Justice and Juveniles
    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 4:00 AM
    It’s a custom with each new year to take stock, reflect, and make plans to improve. 2020’s calls for justice reform invite us to consider where Indiana sits with incarceration. The Prison Policy Initiative reports that Indiana has 110 jails and prisons, incarcerating 732 of every 100,000 Hoosiers (about 162,000 of us). Those rates are higher than the national average of 698 per 100,000 Americans. Our adult incarceration numbers are bad news. We have work to do, but there’s some good news too.
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  • January is for justice and mental health
    Wednesday, January 27, 2021 4:00 AM
    In 1984, Delthorne Graham ran into a Charlotte, N.C. convenience store to get orange juice to stabilize his blood sugar. Seeing the line to pay was too long, he put down the juice and hopped back into the passenger seat of his friend’s car. A policeman looking for a suspect nearby noticed the behavior and pulled over Graham’s friend. While the officer checked the license and registration, Graham’s diabetic shock grew. He stumbled out of the car, circled it twice, sat down on the curb and passed out. The officer cuffed and took him in for suspicious behavior.
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  • Between elections, our democracy still needs us
    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 4:00 AM
    On November 4th, as we waited for the results of 2020’s national election, a friend and professor Rob Saler posted “The work is the work” on his social media. Just when the work felt like a wrap.
    The work of democracy is only part of the work. Keeping a government by the people and for the people requires effort from all of us, not just elected officials. We have the responsibility and the right to participate in our own governance year round. 
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  • Courting Unification: An Allegory
    Wednesday, January 13, 2021 4:00 AM
    In 1959 an act of governance dropped the number of school districts in Indiana 966 to 402 by consolidating schools and creating districts that served over 1000 students. The consolidation of schools began nationwide, stemming from the efforts of retired Harvard president James B Conant. 
    Indiana’s code urged (but did not require) communities to merge.
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  • LWV urges support for local black business
    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 4:00 AM
    When we say shop local, we are saying what kind of community we want to live in. We believe in local flavor. We value the innovation and leadership that our entrepreneurs bring to our county. In 2021, we can add “support Black-owned businesses” because Montgomery County’s list grew considerably this year. 
    We now boast seven Black-owned businesses, including a cosmetics line and boutique, a clothing brand, a print business, a dance studio, a corporate wellness company, a salon/barbershop, an award winning brewery (co-owned), and the famous Norvell’s catering. 
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  • How to vote locally for justice, judges
    Wednesday, December 30, 2020 4:00 AM
    This could also be titled, “How to Vote for Local Judges,” because many people report being baffled when it comes to that part of the ballot. Taking our civic act of voting means we consider our choices before and after elections.
    Though we won’t face a ballot for some time, the winners of November’s election for local judges impact the 25 million cases that go through state and local courts annually.
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  • LWV talks sense of sustaining holidays
    Wednesday, December 23, 2020 4:00 AM
    When we were small, we didn’t know we were “poor.” The holidays overflowed with anticipation and heightened sensations. As a kid, we decorated about three weeks before Christmas. I helped my father repair unlit light strands of colored lights. Shortly before Christmas, my parents helped us cut out dozens of sugar cookies that we iced and decorated the next night. The week before Christmas, our gifts appeared, usually wrapped in old Sunday funnies.
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  • LWV says process is urgent and unglamorous
    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 4:00 AM
    Pop quiz on Indiana’s congressional districts, since they will be redrawn next year after US Census data comes out. 
    1. Do you know how many national districts we have in Indiana?
    2. Do you know how many state congressional and senate districts exist in Indiana?
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  • Our urban forest: 4,116 and counting
    Wednesday, December 9, 2020 4:00 AM
    In January of 2020, the City of Crawfordsville learned a great deal more about one of its most important assets, our urban forest. The term “urban forest” refers to the trees in a city that are on public land and under city supervision, so in Crawfordsville our forest includes Milligan Park, the General Lew Wallace Study, Lane Place, and many other leafy spots throughout the city. Thanks to the report, conducted by professional arborists with The Davey Tree Project, citizens and city officials alike learned that at the time the study was completed at the end of 2019, we had 4,116 trees that provide total yearly economic benefits of more the $573,280.
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  • LWV: We need more youth in democracy
    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 4:00 AM
    In 2020, young people showed up for democracy.
    Every Hoosier county reported more than 50 percent of those registered voted, a record not achieved since 1992. This year, the vote among 18-29 years old increased by about 10 percent. According to Tufts University’s CIRCLE non-partisan research center on youth civic engagement, young voters were 52 to 56 percent of all votes cast. 
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  • Stickers that aren’t only for the kids
    Wednesday, November 25, 2020 4:00 AM
    “Don’t forget your ‘I voted’ sticker,” poll workers cajoled on Nov. 3. As I initialed ballots alongside retired minister Mark Ward-Bopp, he smiled affably and quipped, “Shame your co-workers and friends that didn’t vote.”
    “Oh yeah,” most said while sliding the sticker off the table. Some voters asked if their son or daughter could have one. Of course, we gestured. We had two rolls, replenished by the League of Women Voters. Record early voting depleted supplies, leading at least one poll worker to offer her saved sticker to a disappointed voter who’d just cast a ballot.
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  • Straight-ticket votes disappear nationwide
    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 4:00 AM
    The title of this column would seem to make no sense in light of the recent 2020 national election — which appears to have been nearly entirely a straight-ticket election. To have a “straight-ticket election” in 2020 refers to that fact that over 45 states chose senators and president from the same party. Indiana was not a test case this year as we didn’t have a senatorial race. Our voting patterns do suggest that had we had a senatorial election, we would have voted “straight-ticket.”
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media 
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Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933

 

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