Making Democracy Work

Calendar of Events

We sponsor meetings and events for the public and League members

Date & Time        Place        Description
Thursday, June 14, 2018
5:30 pm
Buchanan Art Center
117 W Front St
Buchanan, MI 49107
LWVBCC Annual Meeting. Annual Business Meeting and Social
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
12:30 PM
Lawrence Room, Lincoln Township Library
2099 W. John Beers Rd.
Stevensville, MI 49127
Christopher Thomas Presentation on State and National Issues Related to Elections. Christopher Thomas retired from the Michigan Department of State on June 30, 2017 after 40 years of election administration service, which included 36 years as Director of Elections.

While remaining active in the world of elections, he is first and foremost retired, living in St. Joseph, MI with his wife, Kristin. His election related activities include working as a Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and serving on the Boards of two distinguished election organizations: MIT Election Data and Science Lab and U.S. Vote Foundation.

While employed by the Michigan Secretary of State, he administered the Michigan election law, campaign finance act and lobbyist disclosure law. He began his election administration career in 1974 in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. House of Representatives and the Federal Election Commission.

In 2013, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as a Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which made recommendations to improve the election day experience of America's voters. Chris earned a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University, a M.A. in Urban Affairs from St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO, and a J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing.

He is currently a member of the Michigan State Bar Association and was an Adjunct Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, teaching Election Law between 2001 and 2013. Chris is a founding member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and was elected NASED's President in 1997 and again in 2013. He represented NASED on the Board of Advisors to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission from 2004 to 2017 and served as the Board Chair from 2006 + 2008.

At the NASED Summer Conference in 2012 he was honored to receive NASED's Distinguished Service Award.

Topics for discussion include:

Michigan's decentralized election administration system.

Statewide Petition Canvass and Certification Process: Two election related proposal + Voters Not Politicians (reapportionment) and Promote the Vote (Voter registration and absentee voting, etc)

Bipartisan Policy Center + Democracy Project + implementation for President's Commission on Election Administration + Online Voter Registration, Line management in polling places, Interstate data sharing to keep voter registration files accurate, best practices for recruiting, training and managing election day workers.

Security of Election Administration programs + voter registration & ballot tabulation + Nationally and in Michigan. What can citizens do enhance ballot security?

What to expect in November 2018 Turnout and issues that are likely to be on the ballot. Voter information on the Bureau of Elections' website.

$10; rsvp by email to or by text or phone to 269-362-1871).

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
6:30 PM
Berrien Regional Education Service Agency
711 St. Joseph Avenue
P.O. Box 364
Berrien Springs, MI 49103
SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS' FORUM AND DISCUSSION OF MAJOR ISSUES FACING LOCAL PUBLIC EDUCATION TODAY. The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties will host a public forum among local school superintendents, April 25, which will target the major issues facing public education in Berrien and Cass County today. The 6:30 p.m. meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Berrien RESA Conference Center in Berrien Springs, Mich. The superintendents will share their views with each other and with the public. Questions will also be solicited from the audience. Moderating the session will be League member Elizabeth Ennis. Shane Peters, Superintendent, Bridgman Public Schools, is currently assembling a panel of top school administrators from Berrien and Cass Counties aimed at reviewing and discussing the concerns and strengths of the schools they lead. Few institutions are of greater importance to communities than their schools. All too frequently, education remains the province of the professionals-- the administrators, teachers, and support staff-- who make the system work. Yet, no matter how good a job they do, they want and welcome input from the public. This forum will target that situation. This event has been scheduled with two other important dates in mind: May 8 and July 24. May 8 is the date on which voters in Berrien County school districts in Berrien Springs, Coloma, Lakeshore, Watervliet, and Dowagiac school districts and Cass County school districts in Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg, and White Pigeon will cast ballots to approve or reject millage or bonding measures. And July 24 is the date by which candidates who wish to run for school boards in November need to file an Affidavit of Identity and a nonpartisan nominating petition.
Monday, April 23, 2018
  Book Group. "The Women's Hour: The Great Fight To Win The Vote" by Elaine Weiss (released on March 6) will be our April Book Group selection. Please call the hostess Chris Zilke at (269) 449-2225 to RSVP
Thursday, March 29, 2018
  The Women's Hour. "Anyone interested in the history of our country's ongoing fight to put its founding values into practice--as well as those seeking the roots of current political fault lines--would be well-served by picking up Elaine Weiss's The Woman's Hour." -- Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller "Hidden Figures."

Elaine Weiss tells the incredible story of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the fight to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

"The Woman's Hour:The Great Fight To Win The Vote" will be our April Book Group selection.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Niles District Library
620 E. Main St
Niles, Michigan 49129
LEAGUE ANNOUNCES EXAMINATION AND CONSENSUS MEETING ON AGRICULTURAL AND SEASONAL WORKER DRIVER'S LICENSES AND ID CARDS. The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties will host a public forum and discussion on the issue of allowing seasonal and agricultural workers to apply for or secure and renew a driver's license or obtain an identification card regardless of immigration status. The meeting is open to the public and will be held on Wednesday, March 21, at 1:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Niles District Library in Niles, Michigan. The public is invited to bring questions and be ready for an opportunity to express viewpoints as members of the League discuss this issue from the inside and out. The League will welcome 78 th House District Dave Pagel who will participate from Lansing by telephone due to Michigan legislature being in session later in the day. Rep. Pagel is the author of Michigan HB-4795 which is directly concerned with the means for providing "for an official personal Identification card" to undocumented persons under certain circumstances. Also on the program will be Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey; Theresa Hendricks, Executive Director of Migrant Legal Aid in Grand Rapids; and a representative from the Berrien County Farm Bureau, to provide other perspectives on this multi-faceted issue. Following this public session, a League member panel will analyze the consensus responses from League members, and look for areas of member understanding and agreement. Then using this information, along with information from other Michigan Leagues, at the state level the League of Women Voters of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan, will create a revised position statement for its members which could change the Michigan League's position from Michigan "Should allow a lawfully present, qualifying person to apply for or secure and renew a driver's license or obtain identification card" to "Should allow a person to apply for or secure and renew a driver's license or obtain an identification card regardless of immigration status." Location: Niles District Library: 620 E. Main St., Niles, Michigan, (269) 683-8545 March 21, 2018 at Niles District Library, 1:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. More information is available on the LWVBCC website at

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Community Room
Niles District Library
620 E. Main St.
Niles, Michigan 49120
General Consensus Meeting Studying Seasonal Workers and Drivers' Licenses. We are conducting a study to possibly update our League of Women Voters of Michigan's position on Agricultural/Seasonal Workers in Michigan. The main question we will discuss is whether the position should be changed from "...allow a lawfully present, qualifying person to apply for or secure and renew a driver's license or obtain identification card" to "...should allow a person to apply for or secure and renew a driver's license or obtain an identification card regardless of immigration status."
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
12 noon - 1PM
Berrien County Health Department
2149 East Napier, Benton Harbor
Conference room
(just east of I-94 exit 30)
LEAGUE TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING ON HUNGER IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN. Food on the table three times a day--at least if we want it. That's a choice most Americans take for granted. But some--even in such a bountiful agricultural area as Berrien and Cass Counties--don't always have a choice about what to eat. The consequences can be dire. At noon on February 21, League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties (LWVBCC) member Linda Strohl will focus on hunger in our area, whom it impacts, what those impacts are, how it is being addressed now, and current funding issues (including governmental sources). Strohl is Executive Director of Senior Nutrition Services / Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan and a member of the Berrien County Board of Health. All members of LWVBCC and interested people who are not members, as well, are encouraged to attend. Public Invited.