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December 2022
Message from the Chair

During this final month of 2022, we reflect on our work throughout the year. Oh what a busy year it has been! The 2022 Midterm Election saw historic turnout throughout the country. This was undoubtedly because there was so much at stake with this year’s election. Over 315,000 voters in Kent County participated in the November General Election.  This is just over 61% of the registered voters in Kent County.  This is a great turnout for a Midterm Election!

I have no doubt that the efforts of the League of Women Voters, both locally as well as nationwide, aided in this historic turnout that we witnessed. You wrote postcards to voters. You sent text messages to voters. You spoke with voters at area libraries and schools. When an opportunity arose for voter registration in the community, we had no shortage of volunteers willing to fill each and every request that we received. Thank you for making this a historic election! While a complete report is being compiled by LWVUS, you can find a brief 2022 Election Impact Report here

While 2023 will be an off year for elections, we still have lots of work ahead of us. A few things that we will be working on in 2023 include:

  • Achieving independent League status. We will be completing and submitting our application to LWVUS to move from an MAL (Member at Large) League under the guidance of LWVMI to a fully functioning independent League.

  • Implementing a Winter speaker series. We will be kicking off a virtual speaker series in January elevating the voices of several community organizations and speakers who will speak about topics of importance to LWV. 

  • Continuing our quarterly LWVGGRA Book Club. We will be meeting quarterly at Books & Mortar for a discussion about the selected reading for the quarter. 

  • Education about our new voting rights resulting from the passage of Promote the Vote 2022 (Proposal 22-2). With new voting rights that will make it easier for all eligible Michiganders to vote, we will be providing educational presentations to ensure everyone is aware of their new rights.

As you can see, there is always a lot of work to do to fulfill our mission to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy. However, between now and the beginning of the year, let’s take some time to celebrate our successes of 2022, and pause to enjoy time with family and friends over the holidays. 

As we enter the holiday season, a season of reflection and gratitude, we are reminded of all our members and volunteers that make our work possible. YOU are the reason that the League has been a steadfast and trusted organization for over a century. We appreciate YOU and thank you for your support! 

Wishing you a happy holiday season! Cheers to 2023 - which will be another busy year for the League! 

In League,


P.S. Don’t forget to ask attendees at the holiday gatherings that you attend if they are registered to vote. If not, let’s get them registered. 😊 

Featured Events

Member Holiday Gathering - THIS EVENING! 

It's never too late for one or two more friends! Please join us this evening for a festive and informal holiday gathering. Meet new members, enjoy some in-person socializing, and raise a glass to your fellow members and our many accomplishments in 2022.

Wednesday, December 7th
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Karen Joseph's House (near Forest Hill Ave and Cascade Road)

*Please RSVP to Karen will provide her address when she receives your RSVP.

January Book Club 

Please join us for the first quarterly book club gathering of 2023! The event is open to League members and the greater community, so please invite a friend. We will be reading Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy. When you purchase your book from Books & Mortar, the LWVGGRA will receive 20% of the sale. You can stock up on holiday gifts while supporting both your local indie bookstore and your local League! Books will be available starting this Friday.

Wednesday, January 25, 6:00 PM
Books & Mortar 
966 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

*Free street parking at time of event

More about the book: A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist explains, with electrifying clarity, why some of her contemporaries have abandoned liberal democratic ideals in favor of strongman cults, nationalist movements, or one-party states. Across the world today, from the U.S. to Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege while different forms of authoritarianism are on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum argues that we should not be surprised by this change: There is an inherent appeal to political systems with radically simple beliefs, especially when they benefit the loyal to the exclusion of everyone else. People are not just ideological, she contends in this captivating extended essay; they are also practical, pragmatic, opportunist. The authoritarian and nationalist parties that have arisen within modern democracies offer new paths to wealth or power for their adherents. Describing politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and others who have abandoned democratic ideals in the UK, U.S., Spain, Poland, and Hungary, Applebaum reveals the patterns that link the new advocates of liberalism and charts how they use conspiracy theory, political polarization, social media, and nostalgia to change their societies.

Save the date for the remaining 2023 book clubs: April 26, July 26, October 18. Each event will be held at Books & Mortar at 6:00 PM unless noted otherwise.

Holiday Ideas from the LWVGGRA

Let Us Help You with Your Holiday Shopping

Please consider the following gifts for family and friends this holiday season:

  • An annual membership to LWVGGRA: Purchase the gift of an annual LWVGGRA membership for family and friends. This is the perfect gift for those that support “Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy.” Purchase a LWV membership by visiting 

  • Make a donation in the name of a loved one: Many are stepping away from traditional holiday gift giving and are instead providing experiential gifts or making donations in lieu of purchasing material items. A gift to the League makes the perfect gift! You can make a donation online here

  • Purchase books on voting, democracy, or other LWV areas of interest: Books make the perfect gift for anyone on your list, whether children or adults. There are several great local bookstores to support this holiday season, including Books & Mortar where we hold our quarterly LWVGGRA Book Club. 

We wish you a happy holiday season! 

LWVGGRA T-Shirts Still Available

We still have a few t-shirts left. They are soft and comfy with a unisex fit. Consider purchasing one for a holiday gift or treat yourself! T-shirts are $20 each, with additional donations gladly accepted. Please contact Karen Joseph at to inquire about available sizes. 
Advocacy & Current Projects
Articles on LWVGGRA's Current Advocacy Topic: Children

Michigan CASA CEO named to Governor’s Task Force

Michigan CASA CEO named to Governor’s Task Force - Grand Rapids Business Journal (

ELNC expands to two more cities – Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) is a non-profit organization that is vested in changing the current reality of vulnerable children by implementing an intentional Early Childhood Education service system aimed at providing, expanding, and sustaining the capacity of high-quality early care and education programs in the vulnerable neighborhoods of Grand Rapids.

What started in 2011 as a demonstration project, is now a replicable model that can be implemented in any community with vulnerable children. Furthermore, ELNC is now a model of a continuum of early childhood education services both in Kent County and the State of Michigan.

Learn More: ELNC – Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative – Grand Rapids, Michigan (

Board of Canvassers Project

Thank you to all of the LWVGGRA volunteers that devoted their time observing the Board of Canvassers Meetings following the November 8 General Election. 

LWVMI volunteers worked diligently to observe the Board of Canvassers meetings in all 83 counties. Locally we had 15 LWV volunteers working on this project, and they observed the meetings in Kent, Barry, and Montcalm Counties. According to the LWV volunteers observing the meetings, everything went very well and all three counties certified their respective election results.

On Monday, November 28, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers met to review and certify the results of all 83 counties statewide. We were pleased to see that without any issues, the Board of Canvassers certified the results of the November 8 General Election, making the results official. 

Thank you again to all of the volunteers that worked on this project. It was a great way to learn more about the election process, including this critical final step.

Volunteer Opportunities

High School Registration Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed to help organize our high school registration events/challenges for the coming year. If you are interested in helping organize or adopting a high school, please email to be added to the invite for an informational/organizing meeting that will be held in early January.

A sincere thanks to all our volunteers for the great work you did in 2022. Looking forward to great opportunities for “Defending Democracy and Empowering Voters” in 2023.

Best wishes for a peaceful, happy holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year!

Community Spotlight
Meet Lisa Posthumus Lyons, Kent County Clerk / Register!

We’re just a few days past the 2022 Midterm Elections and the Board of Canvassers is hard at work. What has stood out to you about this election cycle thus far? Did your office do anything different to prepare for the election or to communicate with Kent County voters? 

For background, in Kent County we expect to have at least three elections every year – May, August, and November. In Presidential years or if there’s a special election, we have a fourth. Regardless of what’s on the ballot, every election is important, requiring the same amount of time to prepare on the front-end and employing the same checks-and-balances on the back end. I like to say that in Kent County we do elections often, and we do them well!
We did just wrap up the canvassing of the 2022 midterms, obviously a “larger” election in terms of the number of candidates and proposals on the ballot, and certainly that fosters more public attention and higher voter turnout. Nothing stood out as different, but we continue to see the importance of education efforts when it comes to the public understanding of and having faith in our elections. Since the 2020 General Election, we’ve worked every day to dispel misinformation surrounding that election and have operated very transparently to encourage the public to attend every aspect of our elections: testing, working as an election inspector or challenger, canvassing, recounts, audits, etc. We’re always encouraged when members of the public, especially those with questions about the process, actually attend to see how our elections are administered.

What are some trends you’ve noticed in county clerk office best practices or community engagement across the country in recent elections? 

Certainly, increased transparency at every step of election administration. That’s not to say that transparency in elections is new – what’s new is the increased interest from the public as to how we administer elections. November 2022 was my 20th election as Kent County Clerk since taking office in 2017.  For the first 13 or 14 of those we had occasional questions about the results or process following an election, and very rarely did members of the public attend the canvass. Now, post-2020 we receive several questions daily, and more people attend the canvass with each election - including members of the LWV. 

One area of which I’m particularly proud is that I believe Kent County was the first county to open our post-election audits to the public. The law does require that they be treated the same as the canvass – as an open meeting – but we opened our audits to the public in November 2020 and continue to do so with each election. Several counties followed our lead, which was great to see.  

The Kent County website describes the responsibilities of the Clerk’s Office as managing all County elections, managing vital County records, and maintaining all Circuit Court files. As Kent County Clerk you also serve as the Register of Deeds and the Clerk of the Board of Commissioners. That’s a lot of responsibilities! What’s a typical day like for you and how do you and your staff stay organized? 

When I speak to community groups I like to say that residents come to our office at every major milestone of their lives and that we aim to provide the best customer service possible, whatever they’re dealing with: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Managing an elected office with four very different divisions is quite challenging, so I’m incredibly grateful for my leadership team and our front-line workers who serve the public so well every day.  The bulk of our staff – about half of the 45 – work in the Clerk of the Court office managing circuit court filings; we then have approximately 10 each in the Vital Records Division and Register’s Office, and three staff members that work full time in our Elections Division. There really is no typical day, but my chief deputy and I both focus our attention on whichever division has the timely project. Additionally, I spend time out in the community to share what we do in the Clerk/Register’s office and how we serve them. The last two years, I’ve focused on meeting with groups and organizations to educate the public about our elections process to foster public trust in our elections. A large priority of mine since taking office has been modernizing each division as technology continually changes, especially electronic filing, digitizing past records, and moving to more services online. All these things provide easier accessibility and greater transparency, which I believe the public deserves of its government.   

What sort of educational and professional background led you to your current role? 

I graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural & Natural Resources Communications, and communicating is obviously a huge part of this role, both internally as an executive office and externally in what I characterize as an “ambassador of elections”. Daily, I lean more on my previous experience in the Michigan House of Representatives, having served as Chair of the House Elections Committee. 

Previously you served as State Representative for the 86th District. Are there any highlights you’d like to share from your work during that time? 

Prior to being Clerk, I previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives for three terms, beginning in 2011. In that role, I was able to serve as a strong voice for our West Michigan values, and had the privilege of not just representing the people of Michigan, but serving my constituents by helping them navigate through state government issues and agencies. I worked to ensure efficient and effective state government and create an environment where jobs flourished, kids got a quality education, and people enjoyed high quality of life. While in the House, I championed legislation to reform our state’s property tax and education systems and am proud to have supported policies that helped Michigan’s economy turn the corner from the lost decade and reduce long-term liability for future generations. As mentioned, I also served as the former chairwoman of the House Elections Committee, where I led efforts to broaden secure absentee voting, secured funding to replace our state's aging election equipment, and further consolidated Michigan’s low-turnout election dates to conserve taxpayer resources. I also worked to strengthen our voter ID law, while ensuring all voters in need were provided an ID. My goal was always to ensure that it is easy to vote and hard to cheat. My role on the elections committee greatly aided my transition to the clerk’s office; coming in with a fundamental understanding of Michigan’s often complex election laws was a huge advantage. A couple of my greatest legislative accomplishments weren’t flashy but literally saved lives. The first was requiring our schools to stock epi-pens to prevent students from experiencing anaphylaxis, as nearly 25% of anaphylaxis reactions are from those who never knew they had an allergy. I received several notes from parents and schools sharing their stories of how this law saved their children’s lives. I also authored the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which allows a rape survivor who gets pregnant from her assailant to terminate parental custody and visitation more easily. I’ve learned that one doesn’t have to make a lot of news to make a big difference…

Who or what inspires you? 

I have a plaque on my desk that reads “Serve the Lord with Gladness”, and it sits right next to a picture of my husband and our four kids (all teenagers!). That’s a good summary of my outlook on life. My faith and family guide me as a servant leader, and I’m so thankful for the privilege to serve the residents of Kent County. Additionally, I’m inspired by my team, the public servants that show up daily with a smile on their face to serve their neighbors. The work we do in this office is so important, and I’m thankful for their dedication.

What do you do for fun? 

When we’re not at work, you’ll find my husband Brad, a Captain in the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, and I doing all the things parents of middle and high schoolers do: crisscrossing the region for various sporting, 4-H, and church events. Our family enjoys hunting, fishing, and all of Pure Michigan.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the members of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Grand Rapids Area?
Thank you for doing your part to promote awareness of and participation in our elections process, and please reach out whenever my office may be of assistance to you!
Grand Rapids Update
Kent County Health Department Update

In GR News, we have a county-wide update from the Kent County Health Department. Full text at View as a Webpage.

The following is a general overview of the strategies selected by [3] workgroups to include in Kent County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP):

  • Strategy 1: Establish system for private landlords to report on-time rent payments to credit bureaus to improve the credit scores of tenants
  • Strategy 2: Work with local stakeholders in the childcare arena to increase awareness of subsidies available to families to support payment for childcare
  • Strategy 3: Increase utilization of public benefits that provide assistance with food access, utility payments and other essential needs


  • Strategy 1: Update the Kent County Mental Health Crisis Brochure on a quarterly basis and ensure that it is translated into the most common languages spoken in the County
  • Strategy 2: Develop culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health resource kits and distribute them to geographic areas and populations who have not historically been engaged through outreach activities
  • Strategy 3: Ensure social workers, nurses and nurse practitioners, psychologists, peer support specialists and other mid-level providers working with special populations in Kent County have knowledge and skills in trauma-informed care.
  • Strategy 4: Assist middle school, high school and college students in exploring a career in mental and behavioral health professions by engaging with organizations who have connections to students (e.g., Grand Rapids African American Health Institute’s Pathways program, Kent Intermediate School District, and local colleges/universities)


  • Strategy 1: Develop and distribute educational materials related to understanding insurance, when and where to access care, different portals of care, and overcoming barriers to care
Mark Your Calendar


5   LWVGGRA Monthly Board Meeting | 7:00 pm via Zoom

7   LWVGGRA Holiday Gathering | 7:00-9:00 pm at the home of Karen Joseph |RSVP to Karen at to obtain address

9  LWVGGRA Fundraising Committee Meeting | 10:30 am via Zoom

14  Bill of Rights Day

17  First Day of Hanukkah 

25 Christmas Day

26  First Day of Kwanzaa 

31  New Year’s Eve



1   New Year’s Day

9  LWVGGRA Monthly Board Meeting | 7:00 pm via Zoom

9   Carrie Chapman Catt’s Birthday | Catt was the founder of the League of Women Voters 

13  Korean American Day 

15  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday 

17  Martin Luther King Jr. Day

18  LWVGGRA Virtual Speaker Series | 7:00 pm via Zoom

21  13th anniversary of Citizens United decision 

22  50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision

25 LWVGGRA Quarterly Book Club at Books & Mortar | 6:30 pm | The Twilight of Democracy By Anne Applebaum 

February is Youth Voter Month and Black History Month
Donate to LWVGGRA
Please consider the LWVGGRA in your year-end giving! 

A gift of any size helps your local League provide programming and education to our members and the community we share. Please support our mission to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy by clicking this link to donate online or by mailing a check to the address below. Thank you for your support! 

PO Box 174
6220 Belmont Ave NE
Belmont, MI  49306
Additional Resources
LWVMI Website
LWVMI League Links Newsletter 
League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region Website
LWVUS Website 
Michigan Secretary of State - Voter Information Center
Current Board Members
Courtney Winell, Chair
Teri Chaplin, Vice Chair
Kristin Brace, Secretary
Carolyn Sturgis, Treasurer
Karen Joseph, Fundraising Team Lead
Elianna Bootzin, 411 Team Lead
Board meetings are held every first Monday at 7:00 PM via Zoom.
Invitations are sent to the full membership and all members are welcome.
Copyright © 2022 LWVGGRA, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 174
6220 Belmont Ave NE
Belmont, MI  49306

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League of Women Voters Greater Grand Rapids · PO Box 174 6220 Belmont Ave NE · Belmont, MI 49306 · USA

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