The League of Women Voters of Johnson County has named Lindsay Behgam of the MainStream Education Foundation as the winner of this year’s Making Democracy Work Award in recognition of her efforts on the Voter to Voter program.
Launched in 2018, Voter to Voter provides a platform designed to urge people who may not be regular voters to get to the polls. With a web-based app, Voter to Voter users typically select five to ten people they know — friends, family members, coworkers — and use a variety of communications to encourage them to exercise their voting rights.
When first fielded in fall 2018, the Voter to Voter team found that turnout among the 5,500 people connected to the program was 82%. That’s compared to 56% of registered voters who cast a ballot across Kansas.
“Lindsay has proven a dynamic leader who has taken the personal-relationship concept and produced real results,” said League of Women Voters of Johnson County President Ellen Miller. “Under her guidance, the Voter to Voter program hit a home run in 2018.”
The system utilizes the same kinds of tools that political parties and candidates do to encourage voter turnout, but instead of ideological messaging, it focuses on relationships to encourage participation in the system.
“What sets ours apart is that we are nonpartisan,” Behgam said. “We believe in the power of anyone who feels voting is important to have access to the same data that candidates and campaigns are using to make an impact in their communities.”
The League of Women Voters of Johnson County has given the award each year since 2008.