Excerpted from Observing Your Government in Action, published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund:
An observer is an individual who attends a governmental meeting, notes what happens at the meeting, and reports back to the League and (hopefully) the community. By attending public meetings of local governmental bodies/agencies, observers learn more about what their government is doing. They learn about the issues facing their community and are empowered to take action, if warranted. They also learn how issues are being addressed.
Observers keep elected and appointed officials on notice; they let them know that someone is watching what decisions are being made and how they are being made. They help ensure that the issues facing their community are being handled “in the sunshine,” in the open.
Ideally, observers are monitoring both the issues being discussed as well as the process by which they are being discussed. While not every item up for discussion will relate to a League’s priorities, ensuring that the meeting is being conducted in an open and acceptable way is critical to all of the League’s efforts and the health of our democracy.
LWV of Dakota County's Observer Corps is primarily focused on the Dakota County Board of Commissioners and its committees. However, Observers are welcome to observe a meeting of a city council, a school board, the Metropolitan Council, or another local government body. So, how do you become an Observer? The only requirements are that you must be a LWV of Dakota County member, watch this brief video introduction to our Observer Corps, and read our Observer Corps Guidelines. After observing a meeting, please submit a report using this form:
Our impact is dependent upon the time and effort contributed by our valued volunteers. If interested in any of the volunteer opportunities listed below, please click the Sign Up button beside the description or contact us with any questions that you have.
Leadership Team - Membership Co-Coordinator
Open to active LWV of Dakota County members. Attends monthly Leadership Team meetings. Manages member roster and membership-related communications. Prepares for and facilitates sign-in and name tags at monthly meetings. Plans and executes member surveys and social events. Read a full position description here.
Leadership Team - Co-Lead/Spokesperson/Convener
Open to active LWV of Dakota County members. Attends monthly Leadership Team meetings. Develops meeting agendas. Identifies issues of policy or governance for member discussion. Speaks on behalf of LWV of Dakota County. Participates in state conference calls.
Leadership Team - Visibility Co-Coordinator
Open to active LWV of Dakota County members. Attends monthly Leadership Team meetings. Serves as LWV of Dakota County’s public relations/marketing strategist. Develops plans and strategies to talk about our work in our communities with government officials, partner organizations, media outlets, etc.
Fundraising Work Group
Open to LWV members and non-members. Help our lead/spokesperson/convener come up with creative fundraising ideas. This role does not include direct solicitation of donations. It is an idea-generating and planning group.
Red & Blue Advisory Committee
Open to LWV members and non-members. Offer guidance to LWV of Dakota County's lead/spokesperson/convener regarding our nonpartisan policy and how it applies to everything we do.
Social Media/Website Support
Open to active LWV of Dakota County members. Help manage our social media pages and/or website, particularly posting information about our activities and events. No experience is necessary but a basic understanding of Facebook and Twitter is helpful. Our webmaster will be happy to teach you how to manage our website's home page and calendar.
Policy Positions and Advocacy
LWVUS's Impact on Issues
LWV of Minnesota's Program for Action
LWV of Minnesota's 2019 Legislative Priorities
LWV of Minnesota's Action Alert Proposal Form
LWV of Minnesota's Introduction to LWV for New Members
LWV of Minnesota's Civic Engagement 101 Presentation
LWV of Minnesota's Leadership Notebook 2017-2019
LWV of Minnesota's Local League Finder
LWV of Minnesota's Member Update Form
LWVUS's League Management Site
Inter League Organizations