Making Democracy Work

Marquette County Information and Activities

4th of July Parade

4th of July decorating group

Line UP



The formal history of the League of Women Voters in Marquette County, Michigan, officially began fifty years ago with the first organizational meeting, which was held on September 19, 1968, on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The original (provisional) Marquette County League of Women Voters had 46 charter members. It was the 39th League in Michigan, and was one of four units formed in the Upper Peninsula (along with chapters in Escanaba, Sault Ste. Marie, and the Copper Country).

The Marquette County League undertook a number of important activities during their heyday. One of their first major projects was voter registration. Over the next 38 years, the Marquette County LWV held candidate forums, compiled voter guides in concert with the local paper, The Mining Journal, and in 1969, shortly after the chapter began functioning, held a fund drive for the "Know Your County" booklet project, which outlined the functions and operation of governmental units throughout the county. In 1994, the Marquette County LWV hosted a well-received exhibit at the Historical Society Museum entitled "Remember the Ladies" celebrating the struggle for women's rights, the founding of the League, and the passage of the 19th Amendment, as well as honoring some of the pioneers who had been instrumental in getting the League up and running in the U.P.

By its tenth anniversary, the unit had grown to over 100 members. At its peak, the Marquette County Unit boasted 120 members, but the numbers dwindled as more and more women joined the work force, leaving less time for volunteering in the community. And with fewer and fewer young women participating in the League, it became more difficult to carry out the group's mission and goals. The decision was made + reluctantly + to disband the Marquette County LWV in August, 2006. As one member of the earlier incarnation ruefully noted, "People are just not particularly concerned with this kind of stuff anymore," then added wistfully: "Maybe it will arise that they'll need us one more time, and hopefully someone else can jump in."

And so the occasion did arise. There was a small but growing group that were ready to be the "someone else" who jumped in and provided the spark that ignited the revival of a Marquette County LWV. On April 26, 2017 five women and one man met with representatives from LWVMI and LWV of Delta County to begin a mentoring relationship and to officially begin the LWV of Delta County, Marquette County Unit. During the Spring of 2017, the emerging collective met in small groups in local restaurants and members' homes. Three members from the previous LWV in Marquette joined the ranks and provided a valuable link to the past and to the League's mission and principles. These women were an important source of support and encouragement for the newly developing group. With help from Delta County mentors, the Marquette County geographical unit held its first public information meeting in July 2017 at the local Peter White Library. Due in part to the stellar reputation of the former LWV group in the area and in part to the ongoing organizing activities, the Marquette County Unit was receiving and benefiting from strong community support and media interest. The local organization was well on its way and was appreciating and capitalizing on the guidance from original members, Delta County mentors and newly assigned mentors from LWVMI. The Marquette County Unit is approaching its 2 year anniversary in April 2019 and in the process of applying for Membership-At-Large status which is the next step towards becoming an independent local League. There is a strong core group of members who are dedicated to providing voter education and services to the community.

Check out this LINK to see what the Marquette County Unit has been up to. If any of the projects look interesting to you join the Marquette County Unit soon.


To learn more about the Marquette County League's organizing efforts listen to The 8th Day Show on 101.9-Sunny FM as host Todd Pazz interviews Darlene Allen, League Unit Leader.

The 8th Day Interview - Part 1

The 8th Day Interview - Part 2

The 8th Day Interview Sunshine Week, the Observer Corps and League Activities

League Projects

Voter Service and Election Activities This is a core service for the League of Women Voters. Volunteers help to plan and organize candidate forums, create both on-line and printed voter guides and offer education about topical election information. These are fun team activities with a variety of volunteer roles to fill. Candidate forums and voter guides are the two services most often appreciated by the local community. Join the League and you will receive the training, mentoring and support to provide these valuable community voter services.

Voter Registration and Education League members are trained in current voter registration information so that they can help citizens who are eligible to vote to become registered. Volunteers attend community events and activities, go to local high schools and participate in NMU campus events to register new voters and to share information about voting, voting rights and upcoming elections. This has been one of the most popular volunteer activities that has attracted many of our members.

Observer Corps The Observer Corps volunteers attend local governmental meetings to observe, summarize and report back to the League and the community. This project strengthens citizens right to know what their local governmental officials are working on and what kind of decisions they are making. It is a valuable opportunity to learn about county, city and township governments. It helps the League to build relationships with local officials and be prepared to ask good and topical questions for the voter guides and the candidate forums. If you are interested in preserving open government and freedom of information for citizens, becoming a LWV Observer Corps volunteer is the opportunity for you.

Community Education, Events and Marches League volunteers participating in these projects can have fun building floats, creating signs, walking in parades and marching at events. It helps raise awareness about the League and provides avenues to share important voter service information. Community Education can range from visiting local civic clubs and groups to talk about the LWV to presenting on more in-depth voting and election topics. Extensive training and support is provided. The local Leagues benefit from professionally designed presentation materials from the state League but creative and knowledgeable volunteers can also design their own. Many League members also enjoy volunteering to set up event venues, coordinate the publicity and greet and welcome people at the events.

Celebrations and Fun Events This is where League volunteers relax, have fun and get to know one another. Enjoy a movie, celebrate an accomplishment or share a pizza and get to know your local League members.

Voter Service Election Activities

The Marquette Unit held many activities and events to inform the public for both the primary and general election including a candidate forum, an online and printed voter guide and ballot proposal presentations.

  • A new team of volunteers did a fantastic job learning the system and setting up a large number of new races for the general election
  • This information was shared with the Mining Journal to produce our first printed voter guide
  • We had a dedicated team of volunteers who planned and coordinated this process with the Mining Journal and also distributed the local and the state voter guide throughout the Marquette County
  • We had extremely good feedback regarding both the and the printed guide
  • The media (newspaper, radio and television) all widely publicized both the online and printed guides

Ballot Proposal Presentations
  • 10 LWV volunteers were trained by LWVMI to present information on the Ballot Proposals
  • 12 LWV volunteers coordinated and/or presented at 8 programs in Marquette County and 1 program in Delta County sharing information with almost 200 people o 6 County Board Districts o Marquette Breakfast Rotary Club o NMU campus ~ Student Leader Fellowship Program and Superior Edge students

Go to the "Election Activities"<+Election_Activities> page see details on what we have been doing.

Voter Registration and Education

The Marquette County LWV volunteers provide education programs to the community on how to register to vote. We also provide opportunities for the public to register to vote at community events.

In 2018, 21 volunteers were trained for 40 community events to register and educate the public for the primary and general elections. On National Voter Registration Day, we visited 5 area schools, 292 students were educated and 98 students completed voter registration applications.

If you are interested in learning more about our Voter Registration Education programs and activities or would like to volunteer, Contact Us


Northern Michigan University Fall Fest 2018- Welcome Students

LWV Volunteers talked with students at NMU Fall Fest. Registered several students and had some great conversations despite the wind, heat and humidity.

Summer 2018 Voter Registration Events
Marquette Farmers Market

Ishpeming Festival of Treasurers

NMU Fall Fest 2017
Six LWVDC, Marquette County Unit members attended the University Fall Fest that welcomes students to a new year and offers them the opportunity to learn about student groups, local businesses and non-profits. The volunteers shared information on the League, membership and voting rights. The students were interested in learning about and used the QR Codes on the bookmark handouts to check out the site. The volunteers reported many great conversations with students and managed to register eleven new voters!

Registering to Vote!

Observer Corps

The Observer Corps protects and strengthens the citizen's right to know, and The League promotes this nonpartisan effort to enlighten and empower individuals to play an active role in their government at all levels and give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.

We currently have 10 LWV members in our Observer Corps, and we are following 11 local governmental entities. Our goals are to provide the LWV and the public with information about their local government and to ensure that local government is aware of public interest and scrutiny regarding their efforts on our behalf.

For more information on Observer Programs see the Observing Your Government in Action Protecting Your Right to Know A Resource Guide

To learn more about Observer Corps activities or to volunteer, Contact Us

Learn more about your local government and take an active role by joining the League of Women Voters' Observer Corps.

The League of Women Voters' Observer Corps Volunteers meet to discuss their observations from the Marquette City Commission, Marquette County Board, MarqTran, Board of Light and Power, Sands Township and Marquette Area Public School Board meetings

Observer Corps Newsletter

This quarterly newsletter is one of the avenues by which we hope to accomplish our goals. Here, we will provide a calendar of upcoming governmental meetings for the coming quarter, and brief summaries of the highlights of the meetings that we have followed in the previous quarter.

View the current and past issues of the newsletter HERE


Sunshine Week 2018 Sunshine Week is designed to highlight open government and freedom of information at the local, state and federal levels.

March 11-17, 2018 was Sunshine Week!

"The League of Women Voters of Delta County, Marquette County Unit is celebrating Sunshine Week during March 11-17," said David Allen of the Marquette Unit. The League has supported Sunshine Week since its inception in 2005 as a way to highlight the importance of open government and freedom of information.

Allen added, "When I managed environmental litigation for the federal government, I was responsible for classifying documents and maintaining a public reading room, which is how I learned about the critical need for government transparency and an engaged public. As the coordinator of the League's Observer Corps in Marquette, I'm thrilled to continue striving for an informed public that engages local government thoughtfully and effectively."

"Sunshine," or openness in government, refers to two distinct areas: access to public records and access to public meetings. Every day, people have the right to know what actions their government is taking by attending public meetings and accessing public documents.

Darlene Allen shares information about Sunshine Week, the Observer Corps Project and upcoming League Activities in an in-depth interview with Todd Pazz from Sunny FM

Community Education, Events and Marches

The Marquette LWV participate in many community events to educate and engage the public.


Marquette Marches LWV members participate in the March for Our Lives and the March for Science and the 4th of July parade in Marquette. Registering new voters and getting signatures for the Promote the Vote Campaign.

March For Our Lives

March For Science

March For Science

Women's March 2018 ~ Marquette

The Women's March this year was again an amazing and empowering event. It was estimated that over 2,000 gathered this year in Marquette. The League of Women Voters had an information table where 30 new people signed up for more information. We saw at least 20 League Members at the March and several of us walked together carrying signs advocating for Women's Rights, Human Rights and the Power and Importance of the Vote.

Women's March 2018
Information Table ~ Thank you volunteers!

Sign Making Party

Women's History Month LWV members present an original Women's History program for the Hiawatha National Forest Women's History Month "Brown Bag Lunch" series. Thank you members for your terrific creativity and hard work. We can't wait for you to share it again.

Public Information Meetings - Marquette County - 2017

The Marquette County Unit held a Public Meeting at the Peter White Library on July 8th. Thirty-seven people were in attendance. Information was shared with the audience about the past history of the League in Marquette County. The LWV of Marquette County began as a provisional League in 1968 and provided voter services to the community for almost 40 years. Three of the former members have joined again as members with the new group currently forming. Delta County League Mentors Sue Scheeneman, Ann Bissell and Pat Rudden presented information on League basics and shared their experiences with the audience. Ten new members joined the Marquette Unit as a result of this public meeting. The Unit is now 33 members strong!

Sue Scheeneman, Mentor from Delta County

Patricia Rudden, Mentor from Delta County

Ann Bissell, Mentor from Delta County

Sign up to volunteer for Voter Registration

Observer Corp Information

The wonderful audience with new league members!

Celebrations and Fun Events

After months of hard work the Marquette LWV Unit celebrated the end of a long season of "Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy". Congratulations to the volunteers who helped register voters, talked to students in the Marquette County Schools, attended numerous community events providing voter information, coordinated community education events, presented on the statewide ballot proposals, contacted all the local candidates and set up a big election and multiple races on, and worked with the Mining Journal to produce our first printed voter guide!

A group of League Members gathered to watch the Movie "Iron Jawed Angels". This movie takes a fresh and contemporary look at a pivotal event in American history. Iron Jawed Angels tells the true story of how defiant and brilliant young activists Alice Paul, played by Hilary Swank and Lucy Burns, played by Frances O'Connor took the women's suffrage movement by storm, putting their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote. We learned about this movie when listening to a podcast from What Would Alice Paul Do Podcast. Check out their podcasts. They are perfect for any LWV aficionado.

Available for loan from the Peter White Library

Past Projects, Events and More Photos

Voter Registration Day at Local High Schools

Northern Michigan University Fall Fest 2018- Welcome Students

Ishpeming Festival of Treasurers Summer 2018

Voter Registration at NMU Fall Fest 2017

LWV information table at 2017 NMU Fall Fest

Come on over and get registered to vote!

Photos of Past Marches

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

4th of July Parade in Marquette

Women's March 2018

Women's History Month