Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.


Misdemeanor charges dropped against NU faculty for activity during pro-Palestinian encampment
City Council approves $2 million grant application to renovate Hilda’s Place, talks Evanston Dog Beach accessibility access
City Council expands guaranteed income program, exempts athletic fields from leaf blower ordinance
Body recovered in Lake Michigan, EPD examining identity of body
Evanston’s ‘Seeds of Change’ theme inspires unity at Fourth of July parade
Lawsuit against Pritzker School of Law alleges its hiring process discriminates against white men
Evanston Fire concludes recovery search and rescue efforts for missing swimmer after ‘exhausting’ all resources
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Independent review of athletics department released, puts forth key recommendations

Northwestern hosts groundbreaking ceremony at Ryan Field construction site

June 25, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

June 13, 2024


The secret (and short) lives of cicadas on campus

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Grassroots civic groups make national politics local

Illustration by Lillian Ali
Through election-year campaigns, grassroots civic groups based in and around Evanston are taking national politics to the local level.

In anticipation of the 2024 presidential election, local civic groups are gearing up for a busy year of campaigning on national issues. 

While November’s vote is still months away, local political parties and issue groups are implementing strategies to empower local voters, gather volunteers and influence national policy.  

“The truth of the matter is that every vote will matter,” said Mary Keefe Kelly, the League of Women Voters of Evanston’s treasurer. “Local groups drive home the fact that all politics are ultimately local.” 

The Evanston chapter of the League of Women Voters, a group dedicated to voter education and advocacy, spearheaded the Voter Participation Action Coalition, made up of Evanston organizations dedicated to mobilizing local voters. 

The group plans to meet with both county and city clerk offices and develop plans to increase voter registration and turnout in 2024. 

LWVE also plans to partner with the Cook County and other League of Women Voters chapters in Illinois to organize voter registration opportunities. In collaboration with the Illinois statewide chapter, LWVE contributed to the Illinois Voter Guide, an online, nonpartisan informational guide for voters.

“There’s 30% of eligible voters who don’t even vote. Can you imagine if all the local groups were working on their areas?” Kelly said. “It could be a miracle.” 

Political parties based in Evanston are also engaging local communities toward national causes. 

In the build-up to the election, the Democratic Party of Evanston intends to focus its efforts on mobilizing local Democrats to engage with neighboring communities, bussing volunteers to Wisconsin for door-knocking campaigns, for example, according to board member Jane Neumann. 

“Local political groups are the ones that most thoroughly understand the sentiments of the local community both in terms of its citizens and its advocates,” Neumann said. 

Evanston has historically high levels of Democratic volunteerism and a friendly rivalry with other blue communities in cities like Berkeley, California, and Oak Park, Illinois, Neumann said. DPOE plans to assemble teams of volunteers for the Democratic National Convention hosted in Chicago this summer. 

Directed by the national Democratic party, DPOE is tasked with “generating local enthusiasm” leading up to the convention and assembling teams of local volunteers to assist with everything from directing attendees from the airport to facilitating convention activities, Neumann said. 

Evanston Township Republicans and the Evanston Republican Organization did not respond to a request for comment. But, the Republican National Convention, set for July, will take place just over the Wisconsin border in Milwaukee.

Other local activists see the Democratic convention — and the national attention it will bring toward the Chicago area — as an opportunity to raise awareness. Along with other reproductive advocacy groups, the members of Chicago for Abortion Rights plan to demonstrate on Aug. 18, the night before the Democratic convention. The group is demanding the repeal of the Hyde Amendment — which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions and other reproductive health priorities.

The demonstration was designed to “pressure Democrats in an election year to do more for abortion access,” CFAR advocate Anne Rumberger said. 

“I think that the role of a lot of grassroots organizations is to push our Democratic politicians in more progressive directions,” Rumberger said. “What local organizations are great at is identifying local needs … using their power to educate and build a base around an issue and then pressuring elected officials to deliver on the demands of the movement.”

Email: [email protected]

X: @hannahe_webster

Related Stories:

Chicago for Abortion Rights meets to discuss past rallies and future plans

Evanston political groups prepare for Illinois Governor’s Race primaries this June

5 Illinois voters file petition to remove Trump from ballot

More to Discover