League of Women Voters event celebrates right to vote

Representatives from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters Centre County gathered in front of Schlow Centre Region Library Saturday morning to celebrate the right to vote, and to increase visibility in the community.

Under vibrant sunshine and with a musical accompaniment from three different performers, league members greeted those who passed by. They handed out pamphlets that included information about the league and offered Election Day voting tips to make a trip to the polls on Tuesday quick and easy.

Former Bellefonte mayor and current league presiding officer Candace Dannaker was thrilled with the enthusiasm and support for the event. She said the number of people who stopped at the table was encouraging, which gave her hope for the future of the league.

When Dannaker became a member in 1986, the Centre County chapter had 85 members, today that number is down to 35. She attributed the decline in membership to a lack of younger members, which is needed to maintain the vitality of the group. But Dannaker now has a more optimistic outlook because of the event.

“There was a young woman who had never heard of the league, and I gave her a sticker and I told her, ‘You’re the future,’ ” Dannaker said. “ She promised me she would go online and get more information, and I thought if there’s only one more voice, it’s a beginning.”

According to Dannaker, Saturday was the first time a Pennsylvania chapter held an event of this kind.

“When I told the state league, they were thrilled,” Dannaker said. “But we need to keep doing these events, even in the presidential election off-years.”

The league members also encouraged men who stopped at the table to join the league. The Centre County chapter has five male members. Dannaker pointed to the banner that hung behind the folding tables filled with free swag.

“If you look at that sign, you’ll notice the word ‘men’ in there to,” Dannaker said. “We want the league and these events to be all inclusive, and they need to be. It’s important, in my opinion, that we don't let an organization that’s almost 100 years old fade away.”