BVMs Irene Lukefahr (l.) and Joanne (Joeline) Schneider discuss Getting Out the Vote. Irene brought a letter-writing campaign to the attention of BVMs, and Joanne volunteered to write letters to three people in Michigan telling each one why she’s voting in this November election.
How we vote—maybe by mail, maybe by early in-person voting—might be different this year. But one thing is the same—the right and responsibility to vote.
BVMs are working to Get Out the Vote. They are making phone calls, writing postcards, and adding a new twist to a disappearing tradition: a letter with a handwritten note.
Recently BVM Irene Lukefahr was wondering how she could encourage people to vote this year when she received an email from the Sierra Club asking for volunteers to write 10 letters to eligible voters.
“I thought, ‘I can do that,’” Irene says.
The form letter does not endorse candidates or tell people how to vote. It leaves room for the writer to explain, “I’m voting because . . .”
It says, “Our officials should be accountable to us. Vote and make sure your voice is heard. Will you please join me as a voter?”
When she told other BVMs about the project, they wanted to join in. Soon she asked for more form letters, and distributed them.
In just 10 days, Irene collected 35 letters and has requests for an additional 54 form letters from the Sierra Club. She hopes to collect at least 100 letters from her BVM sisters by the end of September.
One sister who has tremors said she couldn’t write, so Irene volunteered to take dictation. “I will be happy to be your scribe,” Irene says. Others were happy to have something civic-minded they can do while under COVID-19 restrictions.
Irene received an email from the Sierra Club that it had reached its goal of 50,000 letters, and expanded the goal to75,000.
Other Get Out the Vote efforts include BVMs Nancy (Josephine Mary) McCarthy and Roberta (Caritas) White writing postcards from Moms Rising encouraging women to vote.
BVM Carol (Ann Carla) Spiegel has spent many Saturday afternoons making phone calls to eligible voters in Wisconsin encouraging them to request absentee ballots.
BVMs Terese (Ellena) Shinners and Kathy (Richard Marie) Conway have worked with Vote Forward to encourage voters to participate in the November elections. Kathy has already written 200 letters to registered voters who did not vote in past elections asking them to vote in November. Terese reports that Vote Forward has five million confirmed letters already and is now hoping to receive 10 million letters.
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote, BVMs are taking their civic responsibility and privilege to vote seriously in the upcoming elections.
They are encouraging others to do the same. Why are you voting in this election?
There’s still time to make a difference. For more information, go to
If you haven’t registered, there’s still time at Vote.Gov.