Making Democracy Work


Date & Time        Place        Description
Thursday, November 15, 2018
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Common Council Chambers
Whitewater Municipal Building
312 W. Whitewater Street
Whitewater, WI
Hunger in Whitewater. Please join us for a panel discussion on Food Insecurity in Whitewater. The program will start with a review of the different components of food security (economic security, access to affordable & healthy food, nutrition assistance programs, and emergency food assistance). Our panelists representing the school district, the university and the city will then discuss how this issue is impacting our community and what we are doing about it.

Please bring a donation of non-perishable food to help supply the food pantry and the little food pantries located in Whitewater.

Saturday, November 10, 2018
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road M
Middleton WI 53562
608-836-1631, x100
State Issues Briefing. LWVWI Issues Briefing 2018 will take place on Saturday, November 10, between 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, at the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton. Members and nonmembers are invited to attend. Please plan to join us! Registration is now open.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
  Nominations Due for the Making Democracy Work Award. Since 2010 the League of Women Voters Whitewater-Area has annually recognized a community leader who has demonstrated through their professional work or volunteerism, ways in which to improve the Whitewater community. The League then honors these exemplary citizens with a Making Democracy Work award, presented with great tribute and celebration at the League's annual holiday gathering in early December.

To read more about the award, visit our awards page on our website.

League Members: Nominations are due November 1 of each year. Please refer to the nomination form for details.

Thursday, October 18, 2018
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Common Council Chambers
Whitewater Municipal Building
312 W. Whitewater Street
Whitewater, WI
Polling in the 2018 Wisconsin Midterm Elections. As the election of 2016 reminds those who might have forgotten, polling is not an exact science. It does, however, have an influence over many aspects of campaigns and politics these days.

Prof. Louis Fucilla of the Department of Political Science at UW-Whitewater, will give us the benefit of his insight into what polling can do. Please come along to listen less than three weeks before this year's November election.

During election seasons, voters see lots of polls. Often these polls show us results that seem to contradict one another. Take, for example, two recent polls in the race for the U.S. Senate in Arizona which were conducted at roughly the same time. One poll by a local ABC News station found that the Republican, Martha McSally, was up by 6 points while the other conducted by CBS News/YouGov found the Democrat, Kristen Sinema up by 3 points. How can two polls of voters from the same state conducted by trained pollsters find such different results? This talk will explore the science of polling and how concepts like sampling and probability influence the results we see reported in the news.

Additionally, the talk will be aimed at giving voters easy tools to use to help them be savvy consumers of election polling. No math skills beyond simple addition and subtraction required!

Prof. Louis Fucilla was kind enough to provide us with a summary of the midterm elections. Click to read the recap.

Saturday, October 13, 2018
10 - 11:30 a.m.
Common Council Chambers
Whitewater Municipal Building
312 W. Whitewater Street
Whitewater, WI
Candidate Forum for State Assembly District 43. The League of Women Voters - Whitewater Area is delighted that Candidates Don Vruwink (incumbent Democrat) and Gabriel Szerlong (challenging Republican) participated in our Candidate Forum for the State Assembly District 43 race on Saturday, October 13, 10 AM-11:30 AM in Whitewater. Watch the replay online.

In addition to the forum, the LWV - Whitewater Area Board developed a Candidate Questionnaire that we invited both candidates to complete. Responses were posted at the same time on the League's website,, by the end of the day, Monday, October 15. If a Candidate elects not to participate in the Questionnaire, the words "No response received" will be placed next to their name.

Gabriel Szerlong - No Response Received

Don Vruwink - Response Received

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
  National Voter Registration Day. Every year Wisconsin voters find themselves unable to cast their ballot because of confusion around the registration process.

National Voter Registration Day was designed to help make sure everyone has the opportunity to vote and get the information they need to register.

On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, volunteers and organizations from all over the country will collaborate on a single day to encourage eligible voters to register. National Voter Registration Day seeks to create broad awareness of voter registration opportunities to reach tens of thousands of voters who may not register otherwise.

LWVWI and local Leagues across the state have signed on as a partner again this year. While this work goes on year round for League members, it's a great way to elevate our voter services, and highlight that the League's work go beyond registration and beyond a single day as we seek to increase informed and engaged voter participation.

Stay tuned to Facebook for any planned activities!

Thursday, September 20, 2018
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers
Whitewater Municipal Building
312 W Whitewater Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
State of the City and Schools. Again this year, the League of Women Voters Whitewater Area will welcome Whitewater City Manager, Cameron Clapper, as he delivers a State of the City address in the City Hall Council Chambers.

This is an opportunity for Whitewater citizens to become better informed about the condition of our community and to learn about future projects and goals for the city of Whitewater.

We will also be fortunate to hear a presentation from the Whitewater Unified School District Administrator, Dr. Mark Elworthy, who will update us on what district has been doing in the past year and what it has plans for the upcoming school year.

There will be opportunities after each presentation for question and answer sessions. Please join us and invite your friends and neighbors!

Saturday, May 12, 2018
10 - 11:30 a.m.
Fellowship Hall
435 W. Starin Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
Annual Membership Meeting. Please join us for the Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters - Whitewater Area. Brunch will be provided.

This has been a very active and productive year, and we will be taking a look at what we have accomplished. We will also approve a new budget for the upcoming year, as well as elect new officers.

We are always looking for program ideas from all of you, so come with questions and suggestions of areas we might deal with in our upcoming programs to make democracy work better in the Whitewater area. All of the materials for the meeting can be found on our Annual Meeting page on our website .

Thursday, April 19, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Common Council Chambers National Parks and Climate Change. Please join us for a program on "National Parks at a Crossroads: Yellowstone, nature, and wilderness in an age of climate change."

While much of the news on climate change focuses on how it will impact the way we live or what will happen to the polar bears, there's been little public discussion about what it will mean for our national parks. During this one-hour long program, you'll hear from Dr. Eric Compas, about the obvious and subtle ways in which climate change is reshaping our nation's first national park, Yellowstone.

The projections for the region's vegetation and fire patterns, changing ecosystem definitions, and the policy response to date, are all fundamentally challenging the way we think about nature, wilderness, and our relationship to it. While park managers have significant control over what a future Yellowstone will look like, they don't yet have the tools to make these decisions -- and that has brought us to a significant crossroads for defining what it means to be a national park in the 21st Century.

Since the 1960s, the League of Women Voters has been at the forefront of efforts to protect air, land and water resources. As citizens of the world, we must protect our planet from the physical, economic, and public health effects of climate change while also providing pathways to economic prosperity.

Dr. Eric Compas is an Associate Professor in the Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science Department at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. He studies public and private land conservation both in Wisconsin and the Yellowstone region, and he teaches courses in environmental policy and geographic information system

Thursday, March 15, 2018
7 p.m.
Common Council Chambers Fake News: Conjecture, Conspiracy and Consequences for America. Please join us for our March program when Professor Corey Davis of the University of Wisconsin--Whitewater Department of Communication will help us understand how the culture of rejecting that with which one disagrees came about and what kind of political future is in store for a country where the most common adjective in front of `news' is no longer `good' or `bad' but `fake'.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
10 - 11:30 a.m.
Common Council Chambers Candidate Forum for Common Council. Please join us for a moderated forum featuring candidates running for Common Council in the April 3rd Spring Election.

Candidates for Common Council Spring Election are: Aldermanic District 2: James Schulgit, incumbent Aldermanic District 4: Lynn Binnie, incumbent Councilmember at Large: Jim Allen, incumbent, and Brienne Diebolt-Brown

The league's candidate forum is a free public event where voters are invited to ask questions of the candidates on issues of importance to their daily lives and the Whitewater community.

Although only the Councilmember at Large seat is contested, the league invited the uncontested candidates to share their views as well.

League member Tom Drucker will moderate the forum. The forum will be broadcast live by Whitewater Community TV and made available for viewing in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

REPLAY: The City of Whitewater informed us that during the live broadcast of the event by Whitewater Community Television, an unintentional 10-minute glitch in the video feed took place. The audio was unaffected and while viewers could still hear the candidates, they could not see them.

The good news is that the glitch did not affect the rebroadcast video. The Candidate Forum for Common Council can be viewed in its entirety on Community TV 990 as well as on the City of Whitewater's website.

Thursday, February 15, 2018
7 p.m.
Whitewater City Council Chambers League Fundamentals: Get to Know Your League A-Z. This meeting is designed to provide information for prospective League members, all League members who still feel relatively "new" and for the community about what we do and how we do it. Confused by League Lingo? Do you have questions about how the League arrives at our positions? Ever wonder what is required of the board members? Find out the answers to all these questions and more!
Saturday, January 20, 2018
10 a.m. - Noon
Fellowship Hall
Fairhaven Senior Services
435 W. Starin Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
Lively Issues Discussion. Please join your fellow Whitewater League members to help shape the League's work over the next year.

During what we hope will live up to its name as a "lively" meeting, we will:

-Weigh in on the "Enhanced Diversity Through Community Alliances" initiative directed toward enhancing diversity within the League by partnering with cultural groups in our area, initially with the Latinx community.

-Entertain recommendations from members to propose a state study for the purpose of updating any current state position. Current state positions can be viewed on the LWV WI website.

-Exchange of ideas on our local league board structure, how we can effectively engage with new members, and strategies for voter registration assistance events for the 2018 election year.

If you are new to the League, this is a meeting that will expose you to its grassroots workings. It starts with discussion and leads to consensus to take concerted action toward a goal. Your voice matters! We want to hear from you.


Diversity Initiative

The discussion will be led by Whitewater-Area League Vice President Ellen Penwell. She encourages members to bring other issues of interest to the meeting. Time permitting, we'll touch upon all concerns expressed and, at the very least, document those concerns for future conversations.

Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

Sunday, December 10, 2017
5:00 p.m.
841 Brewhouse Making Democracy Work Award and Dinner. Join us on Sunday, December 10 for our annual League Holiday Dinner. It will be at the 841 Brew House in Whitewater starting at 5:00 p.m. with a cash bar and dinner served at 5:30 p.m.

We'll be presenting our Making Democracy Work Award for 2017 as well as an update on all the activities this past year. The cost is $20 per person.

Entertainment will be provided by the University of Whitewater student violinist Noah Schaffrick which will start at 6:30 p.m. Democracy Award will conclude the evening.

The LWV Whitewater-Area Board is delighted to announce that Lacey Reichwald, UW-Whitewater alumna and owner of The SweetSpot Café, and James Hartwick, Curriculum and Instruction Professor at UW-Whitewater, have both been named to receive the League's 2017 Making Democracy Work Award.

The nominees highlight the dual importance of having UW-Whitewater in our community by demonstrating the positive potential of its students and influence of its faculty.

Reservations are due by Monday, December 4, 2017. Download the reservation form.

Friday, November 17, 2017
1:15 p.m.
Fairhaven Senior Center Facts Matter. Richard Kimball, Vote Smart President, will give a multi-media presentation on why FACTS MATTER.

The talk is only in part about Vote Smart's tools, much of the presentation is about the history and hardball politics. The public is invited. The multi-media presentation on why FACTS MATTER includes:

  • The Founding Fathers' fear that if they cast power out to the people, they would not know enough to self-govern successfully and "factions" would take control.
  • How funny, famous and dangerous political commercials manipulate people emotionally instead of informing them intellectually.
  • A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. --Mark Twain. The growth of lies and the people's expectation and acceptance of them.
  • OnPoint: A practical approach and demonstration of how to easily and instantly defend your right to the facts at any time and in any place right over your smart phone and other mobile devices.

Please join Richard Kimball for this interesting and informative demonstration so you will be prepared to VOTE SMART!

Co-sponsored by Fairhaven Senior Center and the League of Women Voters.

Thursday, November 16, 2017
7 p.m.
Whitewater City Council Chambers Challenges to Healthcare Accessibility. The League of Women Voters Whitewater Area is sponsoring a public program, Challenges to Healthcare Accessibility. Our speaker is the Executive Director of the Rock River Free Clinic, Kristin Wallace.

Learn all about this clinic which provides access to free health services through health professionals dedicated to caring for low and uninsured individuals. The Rock River Free Clinic located in Jefferson serves all of Jefferson County including Whitewater. It's so important for all of us to spread the word about this exceptional service to uninsured individuals. There are many in our area that is in need of these basic services.

A collection of non-perishable food items for the Whitewater Food Pantry will also take place at this meeting.

League members won't want to miss this interesting program about people doing wonderful things for our community. Please join us and bring someone you know who may have interest in healthcare too!

Thursday, October 19, 2017
7 pm
Whitewater City Council Chambers Fair Voting Maps. What do you know about the process where your districts are determined? Why is this the most important political issue facing citizens? How can the system be made fair? What can you do? Learn the answers to these questions and more at our event on Fair Voting Maps.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
7 pm
Whitewater City Council Chambers State of the City and Schools. Again this year, the League will welcome Whitewater City Manager, Cameron Clapper, as he delivers a State of the City address in the City Hall Council Chambers.

This is an opportunity for Whitewater citizens to become better informed about the condition of our community and to learn about future projects and goals for the city of Whitewater.

We will also be fortunate to hear a presentation from the Whitewater Unified School District Administrator, Dr. Mark Elworthy. He will provide us the opportunity to learn about what the district has been doing as a result of last year's referendum.

There will be opportunities after each presentation for question and answer sessions. Please join us and invite your friends and neighbors!

This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain meaningful information about the future of Whitewater and the Whitewater schools, all wrapped up in one informative session.

Saturday, July 29, 2017
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
230 S Cottage St
Whitewater, WI 53190
Garage/Yard Sale Fundraiser. Mark your calendars! A big fundraiser for our League, please come browse and buy!

A sign-up sheet for interested volunteers (pre-sale, day-of-sale, and post-sale) will be available at the League's Annual Meeting on May 20.

In the meantime, start boxing up items!

Contact Ellen Penwell, sale chairperson, if you are interested in working the event or have questions (262-203-6529,

Saturday, May 20, 2017
9:30 a.m.
Fellowship Hall
435 W. Starin Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
Annual Membership Meeting. Please join us for the Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters - Whitewater Area. Brunch will be provided. Materials for the annual meeting are located on our website.

This has been a very active and productive year, and we will be taking a look at what we have accomplished. We will also approve a new budget for the upcoming year, as well as elect new officers.

One of our major discussions has been updating our Non-partisan Policy. You will want to be a part of the continuing discussion prior to final approval at this meeting. In addition, we will be updating our By-Laws to bring them into line with our actual practices.

We are always looking for program ideas from all of you, so come with questions and suggestions of areas we might deal with in our upcoming programs to "make democracy work" better in the Whitewater area.

Plan to join us and bring a friend as we seek to educate our public about the new online voter registration process, and work to encourage informed and active participation in government. There are many pressing issues that we will want to learn about and to influence public policy through our advocacy.

Thursday, April 20, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Whitewater City Hall
Council Chambers
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190
An Epidemic: Opioids. Missed the program? Watch the replay on Vimeo.

The U.S. Surgeon General recently sent a call out to health practitioners and public health leaders asking for help in addressing what he describes as "an urgent health crisis facing America" -- the prescription opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental death, with more Americans dying every year from overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes. More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses.

Walworth County is not immune. As is the rest of the country, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with dramatic increases in the number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths from prescription medications and heroin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, crime lab analysis from Walworth County involving heroin increased 193% from 2009 to 2013. From 2009-2012, Walworth County had consistent heroin and other drug related deaths, where heroin related deaths comprised of approximately 16% of all accidental deaths. In 2013, heroin related deaths jumped to more than 50% and in 2015, nearly 90% of all drug related deaths were opiate related.

Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have started to devote some serious resources to this issue. In 2016, Governor Scott Walker signed a series of bills as part of the Heroin Opioid Prevent and Education (HOPE) agenda, aimed at stifling heroin and prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin.

Late last year, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act which will provide $1 billion over the next two years to help rural communities deal with substance abuse.

On Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m., the League of Women Voters Whitewater will host a program on the issues facing our city and county regarding the opioid crisis at the City Hall Council Chambers in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Katie Behl, Treatment Court Coordinator for Walworth County, and a representative from the Walworth County District Attorney's Office will discuss the opioid epidemic in Walworth County and what we can do in our own homes, and community, to help. The program is free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Common Council Chambers
City Hall
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190

(262) 473-0500
All Votes Are Not Created Equal: How Rules Shape Election Outcomes. The electoral college is a topic that comes up for detailed examination every four years. It then recedes into the background, unless it played a role in determining the President.

There are some people whose great-grandparents were annoyed by the fact that Benjamin Harrison received fewer votes than Grover Cleveland (who was running for re-election) but received the mantle of office from the electoral college. When some of us were young, a hot topic for debate was the abolition of the electoral college. When elections are close or hotly contested, the role of the electoral college regains some of its fascination.

The result of the last presidential election put the electoral college front and center. In fact, two of the last five elections resulted in the popular vote winner NOT winning the presidency. The debate over the electoral college may have been dormant for a while, the but the twenty-first century has forced us to revisit some of the most fundamental questions about what democracy should look like. Those who were unhappy with results blame it on the college. Those who are pleased with results pay tribute to the sagacity of having such an institution. It is usually the case that the winners find no need for change, no matter how outraged they may have been the last time they lost with the same system.

Professor Eric Loepp of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin--Whitewater will be addressing the history of the electoral college, its effects on elections past, and its current status. Professor Loepp spoke to the League in the fall in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election when he speculated on what the Trump presidency might mean for the country. His remarks helped us prepare for the first few weeks of the new administration, although it would have been difficult to anticipate everything that has taken place. As many feel especially chagrined as the result of last November's election and the electoral college's role in the outcome, we look forward to hearing what Professor Loepp has to say about whether the system is likely to stand up to another couple of centuries of complaints.

Saturday, February 18, 2017
10 a.m.
Fairhaven - Fellowship Hall
435 W. Starin Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
League Policies & Program Studies Discussion. Please join us for our February membership meeting at Fairhaven's Fellowship Hall.

Perhaps you've heard or even made comments about the nature of the League of Women Voters, which holds well-researched positions on many of the current topics of discussion: immigration, healthcare, poverty, homelessness, the environment, clean water, and so much more.

None of our policies are based on any one political party's position. We are a NON-partisan organization, which means that we don't take sides ... rather we base our positions on well researched information and what will be best for the common good. We will be discussing the various non-partisan policies in order to revise our own local policy, and we need your expertise and ideas to help us do this. Come and help us decide what our policy needs to look like. YOU have a voice in the matter!

Also, in preparation for the State League's program planning for 2017-2018, we will be offering suggestions on how we might best research and facilitate policies related to the whole area of "poverty." We need your help in searching out various resources on this topic. We look forward to hearing your words of wisdom! Don't miss this opportunity to have a great discussion and get to know your fellow League members and friends.

Thursday, January 19, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Whitewater City Council Chambers
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190

(262) 473-0500
SCREENING: MILWAUKEE 53206 - A COMMUNITY SERVES TIME. Please join us on Thursday, January 19 at 7 p.m. in the Whitewater City Council Chambers when we'll have a rare opportunity to learn about our criminal justice system from some of the people whose lives are directly affected by incarceration.

MILWAUKEE 53206 is a documentary that had its World Premier at the Milwaukee Film Festival in October, 2016. According to the film, the U.S. has the most prisoners of any nation in the world both in raw numbers and by percentage of the population. These numbers are further compounded within Milwaukee's mostly African-American 53206 zip code, where 62% of adult men have spent time in prison, making it the most incarcerated zip code in the nation.

Milwaukee 53206 tells the story of how a community, families and prisoners are affected by mass incarceration. Among the goals of the film is the need to raise awareness of all those affected and to find effective ways to build a safety net of support for children and families of those incarcerated while promoting the de-stigmatization of those who have been incarcerated.

The film is an hour long and will be followed by a panel discussion to further help participants to absorb and understand the effect of mass incarceration on a community. The panel includes:

Antwanette Bounds, UW-W Student

Dr. Ozalle Toms, UW-W Asst. Professor, Dept. of Special Education

Dr. Yeongmin Kim, UW-W Asst. Professor, Dept. of Social Work

Lisa Otterbacher, Chief of Police, City of Whitewater

Don't miss this special opportunity for thought provoking discussion on an important topic.

The presentation of this documentary was made possible by the generous gifts of League members and donations from citizens of the community of Whitewater.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
7 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, Whitewater Making Democracy Work For All. After the elections it is time to take stock of the ramifications of the vote. Please join us as we hear from Dr. Eric Loepp, Assistant Professor, American Politics from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater on "what's next?" The program is free and open to the public.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
To locate your polling place, visit Election Day.