In This Issue:
June 30, 2011
TODAY: June 30, 1971 - The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, lowering the voting age to 18, is enacted upon ratification by Ohio
- President’s Message: We Ain’t Licked Yet! (NEW)
- McComish v. Bennett is a Poorly Reasoned Decision (NEW)
- League Sends Clean Air Message to White House Chief of Staff (NEW)
- Election Assistance Commission Report Available (NEW)
EDUCATION FUND (Education Study; Elections)
- Education Study Voter-Ready Papers Available (NEW)
- Elections: California Redistricting Maps Released (NEW)
- Elections: ID Victories in NC and NH and a new Battle in Maine (NEW)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- Connect to League Leaders – Subscribe to an LWVUS-Sponsored Email List! (NEW)
- FOIA Letter to the Editor Template Available
- LWVUS Membership Database Down for Maintenance on July 10-11
- You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Dear League Leader:
The Supreme Court this week once again ruled that speech in this country is not free, at least not during elections. The majority opinion in McComish v. Bennett follows a tortured route to the conclusion that provisions in the Arizona Clean Elections law that trigger matching funds for candidates facing opponents with bags of private money were unconstitutional. Rather than adopting an approach which upheld the triggers as a means of expanding electoral speech, the majority opinion held that the matching funds unfairly penalized the candidate with the most bucks. The only good news is that public financing itself was not an issue in the case and is still a means to protect our elections from the corrupting influence of special interest money.
We celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend. It has not been a banner year for voters in the national or state capitals. The League has been fighting hard at all levels and on many fronts to ensure that our elections are truly a means for the people to choose their representatives and not the other way around. We must continue that fight by shining the light on the redistricting process, educating voters on new requirements and registering as many voters as possible.
So happy July 4th, and let’s continue to focus on the voter and the power of the vote. We have a mission and we ain’t licked yet!
McComish v. Bennett is a Poorly Reasoned Decision (NEW)
In a statement released this week, League President MacNamara declared, “…we see another poorly reasoned decision by the Supreme Court on campaign finance, one that is untethered to the Constitution. While the McComish decision is another blow by this Court against clean elections, public financing itself has not been put in jeopardy.” Earlier this year, the League (with seven other public interest groups) filed an amicus brief, basing its arguments primarily on the legal principles set forth in Buckley v. Valeo, the decades-old precedent upholding campaign finance reform efforts. According to the brief, “the legal principles set forth in Buckley in its review of the presidential system govern this Court’s review of the challenged provisions and compel the conclusion that the trigger provisions of Arizona’s Citizens’ Clean Elections Act (“Act”) are constitutional.”
League Sends Clean Air Message to White House Chief of Staff (NEW)
The League’s message thanked White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley for declaring the Administration is “not going to allow any legislation that impedes the need to improve our health and safety” in response to questions about the Administration’s position on legislation to block or delay EPA climate standards. The League expressed its hope that the White House will support EPA’s establishment of a health-based air quality standard for ozone at the lower end of the range of 60-70 parts per billion recommended by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). The EPA estimates that setting such a protective standard would save thousands of lives every year.
Election Assistance Commission Report Available (NEW)
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recently published this report: 2009-2010 Impact of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 on the Administration of Elections for Federal Office (NVRA).
EDUCATION FUND (Education Study; Elections)
Education Study Voter-Ready Papers Available (NEW)
Access Voter-ready Education Study papers here.
Elections: North Carolina and New Hampshire ID Victories + a new Battle in Maine (NEW)
The national League and state Leagues across the country continue to work together with coalitions against proposed new laws that will suppress the vote. We can add two more victories on voter ID bills that were vetoed by the governors of North Carolina and New Hampshire, making a total of 10 states where photo ID bills have been defeated. Having claimed victory on the ID front earlier, the LWV of Maine has now launched a fight against the repeal of same-day registration. See this month’s League in the Spotlight for details.
Elections: California Redistricting Maps Released (NEW)
The LWV of California was a key force behind the 2008 ballot initiative creating the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission and has collaborated with diverse partners to make the new process open and transparent, pointing out the importance of the criteria for drawing maps set by the initiative. After 23 hearings around the state and thousands of public comments, the Commission released its first draft maps to a flurry of media attention on June 10. The California League is actively monitoring commission hearings and commenting on Voting Rights Act considerations. Local Leagues have produced materials and held outreach programs to facilitate community participation in both local and state redistricting.
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
Connect to League Leaders – Subscribe to an LWVUS-Sponsored Email List! (NEW)
Subscribing to an LWVUS discussion allows you to connect with other League leaders from across the country about important issues. Visit the member login page here, and enter your user ID and personal password to sign up for a list today. (Find information about the log-in process here.) Once logged in, choose “League Sponsored Email Lists” from the menu on the left side of the page to manage your email subscriptions.
FOIA Letter to the Editor Template Available
The Fourth of July marks not only Independence Day, but also the anniversary of the passage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Customize and distribute our ready-to-use letter to the editor template to remind your community of the importance of holding your government accountable and promoting transparency in government proceedings.
LWVUS Membership Database Down for Maintenance on July 10-11
Due to routine maintenance, you will not be able to access the LWVUS Membership Database from Sunday, July 10, to Monday, July11. Access to the database will be available again on Tuesday, July 12. If you have questions or need assistance accessing the database after Monday, July 11, when the database is up again, please contact Betty Taira at BTaira@lwv.org.
You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Some things never change even in these challenging economic times. The League of Women Voters Education Fund continues to be at the forefront of public policy issue education which allows citizens to thoughtfully engage in the democratic process. By making a gift of cash or securities of $5,000 or more to the LWVEF Pooled Income Fund, you can receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift's value and continue earning a quarterly return on the interest earned for life. Best of all, you can name your state and/or local League, along with the LWVEF, to benefit from the residual funds when you're gone. For more information, please contact the Development office at 202-263-1336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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