LAURINBURG – Though the League of Women Voters is nearly a century old, a version of group is new to Scotland County.
Reinventing the Laurinburg branch of the organization was the brain child of Martha Roblee, a retired CPA from Columbia, South Carolina who recently moved to Scotia Village. Roblee and her husband were active in the Columbia branch of the association. She served as treasurer and secretary, and held the office of president from 2013 to 2015.
The first league formed in 1920 to promote women’s suffrage.
The new group hopes to bring fact-based information to voters about public policy, current issues and candidates at all levels from national, state and local governments. The local group, which was formed about three months ago, meets once a month at Scotia Village
Member Sue Fiddler believes that such groups are more important than ever.
“Our goal is to conduct political activity in a non-partisan way,” Fiddler said. “We’re trying to find our way through this current political morass and do some rational talking in a sometimes irrational atmosphere.”
The league is trying to form a member at large unit that will be called the Mid-Sandhills League of Women Voters and hopes to create a more formal structure later.
The league will present all sides of an issue and ask candidates from both sides of the isle to speak at candidate forums.
“What makes the league so uniquely valuable to our community is that it is truly non-partisan, volunteer based, and we believe that better solutions are designed when citizens are educated about the public policy issues,” Roblee said. “The League’s role is twofold: voter services and citizen education and advocacy on specific issues chosen by members for study and support.”
The group’s goal is to help keep residents informed on voter services, polling places and when and where to register to vote.
The league will take formal positions on policy and current affairs.
“After thorough study and debate, we will form a consensus, and we will issue a formal position,” Roblee said. “We will mirror all three levels of government: local, state, and national and we will take a stance on all levels.”
Membership is open to anyone in Scotland and surrounding counties regardless of political affiliation, age or gender.
“We are trying to focus on expanding membership and want it to be as diverse as possible,” Roblee said.
Rates for membership are: $22 for students, $45 individual, and $55 household.
Roblee emphasized that anyone is welcome to attend meetings and candidate forums regardless of membership status, but non-members not be allowed to vote or share an opinion when the group forms a consensus.
The group meets the third Monday of each month at Scotia Village. For information, call Martha Roblee 910-506-4409.
Reach Beth Lawrence at 910-506-3169