On a whirlwind ten-state tour to promote voting in the presidential election, the League of Women Voters National President Elisabeth MacNamara made a stop in Grosse Pointe at the War Memorial on Wednesday.
The visit by the LWV national president was a first for the local chapter, Grosse Pointe LWV President Christina Schlitt said.
MacNamara is the 18th president of the LWV and was recently re-elected to the position in June. She has served at the local, state and national levels of the organization since 1983.
Also accompanying MacNamara to Grosse Pointe was Michigan LWV President Susan Smith.
MacNamara spoke to the twenty or so attendees about the work of the League to educate and register voters, specifically high school students who are voting age.
According to the LWV's website, its High School Voter Registration Project "is a nationwide effort to encourage young people--especially young minorities--to register to vote. Leagues are working in key states to engage and empower young people to participate in our democracy in 2012 and for years to come."
MacNamara also spoke of movements by politicians across the U.S. to restrict the way voters are identified at the polls and new laws that require voters to present photo identification and declare their U.S. citizenship--something the League opposes.
"In a lot of states, I know Michigan has been one of them, there have been attempts to change the photo I.D. laws so that voters would have to produce a photo I.D...In a lot of states they are making a very, very short list of what I.D.'s you can bring to the polls...they all have to be government issued and a lot of people don't have those," MacNamara explained.
In July, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a proposal to change Michigan's photo identification for voting law. The current voter ID law permits a voter to sign an affidavit and vote whether or not they have photo identification.
Governor Snyder also vetoed a measure that would require voters to declare their U.S. citizenship.
MacNamara said the LWV was instrumental in Michigan in preserving the current voter laws.
"Everybody needs to come out and vote. It's a really, really important election," MacNamara urged.
The last day to register to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election is Tuesday, October 9.
MacNamara closed her speech by saying, "The history of America is largely the history of voting rights and that is what makes us the greatest democracy in the world."