Making Democracy Work

Because Democracy is not a Spectator Sport

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Don't miss:
September 19 - Redistricting Committee (Indianapolis, see below)
October 26 - LWV Annual Friend-Raiser

Lunch with the League - Friday, October 14 at Noon - Professor Michael Coppedge on American Democracy

Professor Michael Coppedge, University of Notre Dame
American Democracy in Historical and Comparative Perspective

The Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project has assembled data on hundreds of aspects of democracy for most countries in the world from 1900 to the present. Using the data, Michael Coppedge will evaluate trends in U.S. Democracy. "Although it is tempting to be cynical about the political process in this strange election year, when viewed in historical and comparative perspective, the United States is much more democratic than it was even a few decades ago, and it remains more democratic than all but a few other countries. Nevertheless, V-Dem data also call attention to areas in which improvements are still needed."

Michael Coppedge is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and a Faculty Fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. He is also one of the principal investigators of the Varieties of Democracy Project, which has produced new measures of hundreds of aspects of democracy and governance for nearly all countries since 1900. He is the author of Democratization and Research Methods (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Strong Parties and Lame Ducks: Presidential Partyarchy and Factionalism in Venezuela (Stanford University Press, 1994); and dozens of articles and chapters on democratization, research methods and Latin American political parties and elections.

South Bend Chocolate Cafe
122 S. Michigan Street
Speaker begins at 12:00 noon. Come as early as 11:30am to purchase lunch.
The event is free and the public is welcome.

Fall Candidate Debates and Forums

The League of Women Voters will co-sponsor these candidate events with The American Democracy Project and Political Science Club of IU South Bend.

St. Joseph County Candidate Forum
Wednesday, September 28th
6:30 to 8:00pm - Education and Arts Bldg, Room 1011
1002 Esther St., Free parking in lot behind building.

Q&A with candidates running for St. Joseph County office in contested races: County Council, Board of Commissioners, Circuit Court Judge, Coroner, Recorder, and uncontested races: Surveyor, Treasurer. Planned Questions 6:30-7:30, Audience Questions (screened, submitted on note cards)7:30 + 8:00. Free and open to the public.

School Board Candidate Forum - South Bend Community Schools
Monday, October 10th, 6:30 to 8:30pm - Education and Arts Building, Room 1011
1002 Esther St., Free parking in lot behind building.

This event will include opening candidate statements, Q&A with timed responses, closing candidate statements, and reception to meet the candidates.

Indiana Congressional District 2 Candidate Debate
Tuesday, October 11th, 6:30 to 8:00pm - Education and Arts Building, Room 1011
1002 Esther St., Free parking in lot behind building

Two of the three candidates in this race have confirmed they will participate in this debate: Lynn Coleman (D) and Ron Cenkush (L).

Indiana House Candidate Debates
Wednesday, October 12th
6:30 to 8:30pm - Education and Arts Building, Room 1011
1002 Esther St., Free parking in lot behind building.

The event will feature a series of back-to-back 30-35 minute debates featuring candidates running in local districts 7, 8, and 21.

District 7 - Justin Chupp (R), Joe Taylor III (D), James Gillen II (L)
District 8 - Ryan Dvorak (D), Richard (Dick) Pfeil (R)
District 21 - Timothy Wesco (R), Jodi Buoscio (D), Ethan Legg (L)

A short reception will follow allowing for informal interaction with community members.

Indiana Senate Candidate Debates
Wednesday, October 19th
6:30 to 8:00pm - Education and Arts Bldg., Room 1011
1002 Esther St., Free parking in lot behind building.

The event will feature back-to-back debates featuring candidates running in Districts 10 and 8.

District 10 - David Niezgodski (D), Gerard Arthus (L)
District 8 - Mike Bohacek (R), Maxine Spenner (D)

A short reception will follow allowing for informal interaction with community members.

LWV Annual Friend-Raiser - October 26, 6:00-8:00pm - Join Us!

2016 Friend-Raiser Invitation

Redistricting Reform for Indiana

Indiana Special Interim Study Committee will meet September 19 and October 17. Meeting details and agenda items for the Special Interim Committee on Redistricting Reform are below.

Please continue to tell committee members and legislators that the time for reform is NOW.

Committee Contacts, Announcements, Agendas
Contact your Legislators


September 19, 1:00pm (1) committee discussion;and (2) public comment; regarding possible contents for the committee's final report;

October 17, 1:00pm (1) committee discussion; and (2) public comment; concerning the committee's proposed final report, including possible amendments to the proposed final report.
Location for both meetings: State House, 200 W. Washington St., House Chamber, Indianapolis.

What's it all about? Please read and share this brochure:

Redistricting Reform for Indiana

If printing in black and white, please print this version:
Redistricting Reform for Indiana

About Redistricting Reform - Time to Take Back Elections

In 2014, 44 out of 100 candidates for the Indiana House and 10 of 25 candidates for the Indiana Senate had no opponents.

Why? Because the General Assembly draws the district maps every 10 years after the federal census and legislatures draw maps for political advantage -- creating unfair electoral advantage for the majority party. The result? No competition and dismal voter turnout.

It's time to fix this sick system and put elections back in the hand of the voters.

The Indiana General Assembly has created a Special Study Committee on Redistricting that will work until December 2016 to create a reform recommendation for the legislature. We have a real opportunity to effect redistricting reform in our State but we must act now to educate and advocate for an independent redistricting process.

Join the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting email alerts by sending an email to

More resources on the Redistricting Reform Page

Below you will find a link to the Special Committee's webpage and other to LWV resources.

Redistricting resources from LWVUS

Half-Price Student Membership

Join the League! LWV South Bend Area now offers a student membership rate of $25.00! A student is defined as an individual who is enrolled either full or part-time in an accredited institution.

Consider a gift student membership - you will be opening the door to lifetime of Making Democracy Work.

Did you know . . . The LWV South Bend Area

★ Visits area high schools to register voters - 1077 in 2012!
★ Registers new voters at schools and local events
★ Sponsors candidate debates and forums before every election
★ Organized and cosponsored B Green to Save Green, an environmental education program for low-income families
★ Hosts Lunch with the League, a monthly public event featuring a talk by local leaders, followed by discussion
★ Provides voter information at the community events such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration and Michiana Monologues
★ Sponsors public forums on topics of community interest such as the Property Tax Cap Constitutional Amendment, Redistricting, and Economic Development in our area

Want to learn more? Contact us at today.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm at St Joseph County Public Library, Main Street, Downtown South Bend. Free Parking. Guests are welcome.