Blue Ridge Literacy Council is proud to announce the start of our Voter Education class series, a new element to our U.S. Citizenship program. These nonpartisan classes will be offered in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Henderson County. The first class participants are graduates of BRLC’s U.S. Citizenship program and their eligible family members.

Volunteers from the Literacy Council and Caren Kessler, Voter Services Chair for the LWV of Henderson County, will offer classes via Zoom which include the following topics: the impact of one's vote on local, state and national elections; how to register to vote; how to request and return an absentee ballot; how to find information about candidates and issues, and how to vote during Early Voting and on Election Day.

Jan Lanier, BRLC Interim Executive Director, welcomed the new voters: “We are excited to offer you the tools to educate yourselves about electoral choices. Your new right to vote is a fundamental step in participating in our democracy.  Your voice and vote count.”

The President of LWV of Henderson County, Rachel Poller, said,” I’m impressed with the ability of Henderson County organizations to collaborate.  The League believes in empowering voters in a nonpartisan way.  What could be better than educating new citizens in the voting process and helping them to become familiar with ways to learn about candidates and positions.”

BRLC's U.S. Citizenship program has successfully served over 200 adults seeking naturalization in the last ten years. Four adults from our program took their Oath of Citizenship in the last 2 months. The Literacy Council currently has 25 adults studying with citizenship tutors. Our dedicated volunteers work with individuals or small groups of adults to improve English language skills while preparing for the naturalization interview and exam. All materials are free to students.

One new citizen, a graduate of our program, said recently, "My life has definitely changed since becoming a citizen!  It has given me such confidence.  I finally feel like I belong and can call this country my home.  I now have a voice in politics and am looking forward to being able to vote in upcoming elections.  This gives me great pride.  I also feel like I can be a role model for my friends who are aspiring to become citizens."

Whipp Johnson, one of our Citizenship tutors, said, "There is nothing better than to hear the excitement in the voices of students who have just passed the naturalization test.  They work so hard, overcome so many obstacles, are so dedicated to the work of learning that I end each class more impressed with the determination and commitment of the students than I was at the beginning of the session.  When they achieve this goal, well, it’s just great for them, their families, their community, and the nation."