“Women have the power to make change happen by voting and staying involved,” says Jo Nicholas.
Jo Nicholas is the President of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, a position she took up in 2019, after serving ten years as President of the League of Women Voters of Moore County. As President, Nicholas oversees local leagues and works to further the organization’s mission of promoting political responsibility and building citizen participation in the democratic process through advocacy, education, and coalition building.
For Nicholas, her mission as President of the League is to defend democracy for all North Carolinians. She says, “since becoming elected, I’ve worked to ensure that our voting rights are not attacked and that our maps are fair and equal.” Nicholas works with the League’s network of 1900 members and the leaders of local leagues across the state to share knowledge and resources, register voters and provide them with election information through voter guides and candidate forums, and ensure that the issues of North Carolinians are centered at the League of Women Voters national office.
For her first task as President, Nicholas gave a deposition against the North Carolina Voter ID law. The longtime advocate for women’s voting rights discovered that the Voter ID law creates barriers for voters in North Carolina, disproportionately impacting women, young people, people of color, and working class communities. Although feeling nervous while giving the deposition, the new voting restrictions and its impact on voters left Nicholas with an increased commitment to fighting for voting rights for all North Carolinians. Like women across the country, Nicholas celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment this year, which gave many women in the United States the right to vote.” Referencing this milestone in American history, Nicholas emphasizes the importance of being vocal about our history when it comes to voting rights and access and calls restrictions on voting rights “a tragic backwards step for democracy.”
Asked what advice she would give women looking for ways to get involved, Nicholas recommends joining a local league, saying “reach out and you’ll find your way.”