League of Women Voters of Sarasota County wins honor at organization’s state convention

Chapter recognized for three events

The League of Women Voters of Sarasota County (LWVSRQ) won the Silver Award at this year’s League of Women Voters of Florida convention, Shawn Bartelt, president of the Sarasota chapter, has announced.

The prize was bestowed on the basis of an application submitted by board member and events co-chair Debbie Blackwell, a news release explains. In that application, the release notes, Blackwell “highlighted three LWVSRQ cutting edge programs designed to motivate student and community involvement.”

The YVote Contest, organized by the chapter’s Education Action Team under the leadership of Jill Lewis-Spector and sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, “challenged local high school students to create either a video, essay, or art poster to promote the importance of voting,” the release notes.

Additionally, the chapter’s Suffragette Prison Train Tour, a sold-out event, was held at the Historic Venice Train Depot. Booker High School students, along with League members, “brought the heroines of the suffragette movement to life as they chronicled their inhumane treatment after being arrested for protesting in front of the White House,” the release explains. “Lunch was donated by Mad Moes, and relish cups were prepared by the Loveland Center, an agency that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest,” the release adds.

The third event, Your Vote Counts, was held at the Loveland Center, in partnership with the Office of the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections, the release continues. The 28 participants with special needs “learned how to use ExpressVote machines to more easily mark their ballots,” the release says.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that “encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy,” the release points out. The Sarasota chapter “is committed to registering ALL voters and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow,” the release adds, with emphasis.