PROFILE: UC Volunteer Helps Raise Voter Awareness
Date: Oct. 10, 2000
By: Michele Howard, intern
Photo by: Lisa Ventre
On Nov. 7, millions of Americans will flood to their polling place to cast a vote for the next president of the United States.
However, according to the Vanishing Voter, a project of the Joan Shorenstein Center
of the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Americans are poorly informed about the
"Most are unaware of the front-runners' positions on key issues and those who think they know the positions are often wrong," the agency
For example, on Aug. 27, The Shorenstein Center Poll asked
participants, "Do you happen to know whether Bush favors or opposes requiring
people to register all guns they own?" Twenty percent said he favors registration, 30
percent claimed he opposes it, and 47 percent admitted they didn't know or hadn't
Mickey Croyle, research associate in the Division of Endocrinology at
UC, is aware of these trends and is doing her part to change them. Aside from her
work to find drugs to treat thyroid cancers, Croyle is a community activist and a
member of Cincinnati's League of Women Voters (LWV), a nonpartisan political
organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in
In 1994, Croyle attended the league's national convention. "There was a
web creation workshop there," she explained. Using the skills she learned at the
convention, Croyle posted a bulletin on the League's web site. Since then, Croyle has
taken over as webmaster for the league's Ohio branch.
Croyle uses the Internet
as a means to educate. "We provide information on elections and government
structure and encourage people to vote and actively participate in
Croyle explained the Internet is an excellent medium to get out the
information voters need. "We provide a community service. Newspapers can't cover
every candidate. We can give everyone a better sense of who the candidates are."
The Vanishing Voter Project agrees about the importance of the Internet in the
2000 election. The project reports the overall number of people using the Internet to
get news and other public affairs information is on the upswing.
A visit to the
LWV website will provide citizens with a plethora of useful information. "We answer a lot of questions concerning voter registration," said
Croyle. "We also inform voters about who's on their ballot" and provide information
about the candidates. In addition, "we have how a bill becomes a law, legislation
status, bill status, and a TV guide for voter related programs."
LWV website is the who and what of elections with information on the power
structure and who is responsible for what," said Croyle.
The LWV website also
offers an explanation of ballot language and practical guidance to voters who are
unsure how to choose candidates. Visitors to the site can also browse the "Directory
of Public Officials" to find addresses of political leaders.
"This presidential year
is an opportunity for online news and political organizations to help voters find the
information they want and compare views and communicate with political leaders and
each other," reports the Vanishing Voter.
The LWV is one of the 19 local,
nonprofit, social change organizations that make up the Greater Cincinnati
Community Shares program, an umbrella organization that raises funds through
payroll deductible campaigns such as UC s Charitable Giving Campaign. (UC s
campaign also benefits another umbrella organization, United Way.)
received from Community Shares helps to pay for the programming costs ($6,000) to
generate the custom ballot and polling place locator on the Smart Voter site. It also
helps to fund the printed "Who and What of Elections," "They Represent Us" and the
other Citizen Education Projects done by the LWV of the Cincinnati Area Education