Q& A League of Women Voters executive eager to encourage people to get to the polls
July 31, 2016
EXECUTIVE Q&A League of Women Voters executive eager to encourage people to get to the polls
PATRICIA SIMMS For the State Journal
Andrea Kaminski had never been a lobbyist before she was hired as executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
The league, Kaminski said, wanted to have its first-ever paid lobbyist representing the league in the Legislature.
“That was a new duty for me, but I knew the league’s policy positions are well-researched and articulated,” she said. “I also knew that experienced league members who have been citizen lobbyists for years would have my back. They have been great mentors.”
Since then, she’s testified before legislative and, once, congressional, committees. She’s testified in defense of voting rights before the Government Accountability Board, the National Commission on Voting Rights and recently served as a witness in federal court.
Most recently, Kaminski is leading the launch of the league’s “Gear Up to Vote” van tour this summer and early fall.
“It is the brainchild of Melanie Ramey, who serves on our state league board,” she said. “Late last year, it became clear that in the big 2016 election year there would be new photo ID requirements for Wisconsin voters, new restrictions on voter registration, and new procedures for local election officials — all in the same year when our top state elections agency would be replaced with a new, partisan model. We wanted to launch a visible project that would highlight the importance of voting, the need to register and have an acceptable ID, and the great work of our 18 local leagues to help citizens prepare to vote.”
The colorful Gear Up to Vote van will stop at community, campus, and league-organized events around the state to register, inform and assist voters.