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This is the LeaguE-Voice newsletter from the League of Women Voters. You can also view it online.

The League Voice Newsletter

July 2011


Where did July go?

Just another month of summer, and we’ll be looking at school days, heavier traffic and all the things that follow Labor Day. For the League, this list includes continuing voter registration activities, meeting voters’ needs and educating them for the upcoming elections as well as taking stands on important issues.

At a time in Washington when common sense seems to have taken a sabbatical, when good policy is being held hostage to pure politics, it’s important that sensible voices like the League’s be heard. Regardless of who wins or loses the next election, if the public doesn’t stand up on the issues, we all lose.

The League stands firm in its focus on the vital public health issue of clean air. To this end, we and our partner organizations just launched a new citizen’s campaign to protect public health, The Clean Air Promise. Read more below.

Needless to say, we look forward to your thoughts via our Facebook page. Also, find us on Twitter: @LWV or www.twitter.com/LWV.

Elisabeth MacNamara
Elisabeth MacNamara
President, LWVUS

Clean Air Defense

The Clean Air Promise: This week the League, in partnership with environmental and public health organizations, launched a citizen’s campaign to protect our public health. We are asking members of Congress, other elected officials, key community and business leaders and the public to make “The Clean Air Promise.” It offers everyone a way to unite and do something for real people and for real communities. Visit www.peoplenotpolluters.org to make the promise and ask your elected officials to promise clean air.  And while you are there watch our ad featuring real children suffering from asthma and a plea from Alex Allred, the mother of one such child.  Be sure to read the stories we are collecting including  Tommy Allred’s story and share any stories you might have.

League Urges House to Support Capps Amendment: The League and coalition partners sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging House members to support the "Capps amendment," which would protect Americans from life-threatening pollutants.

Voting Rights and the Election Process

Voter Protection Project Made a Difference in 2011: Now that most of the state legislatures have ended their sessions we have a clearer picture of the impact of our voter protection project. The League’s efforts have resulted in the defeat of 12 voter ID bills across the country in 2011(CO, DE, IA, ME, MO, MT, NM, NC, NH, NM, OR and VA). However, eight new suppression bills passed (AL, FL, KS, RI, SC, TN, TX and WI). The fight continues in all these states. The impact of the new laws is already being felt by long-time voters. Please see these articles from South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Congratulations to the LWV of Ohio! In the past month, after passing sweeping election reform legislation, the Ohio state legislature was back at work, tweaking the law one last time before adjournment. The good news is the Ohio legislature left for summer recess WITHOUT passing a voter photo identification law. They’ve also canceled plans for an online system for voters to register and update their registration information, and eliminated the new requirement that a voter using a Social Security number for identification purposes provide all nine digits rather than the last four. Read about it here.

Leagues Win Smackdown Your Vote! Democracy Award: The League and its longtime partner World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) were thrilled to recognize the League of Women Voters of Pittsburgh, PA (grand prize); Houston, TX; and Mobile, AL – winners of the first-ever Smackdown Your Vote! Democracy Award. This award program recognizes Leagues for their incredible work to engage and empower young voters, and was made possible because of the League’s longstanding national partnership with WWE through Smackdown Your Vote!.The winning Leagues received financial awards to help expand their youth engagement efforts in 2012. Read the press release here, learn about the League’s high school registration project here, and see this month’s Leagues in the Spotlight for details.


Florida League Hits the Airways for Voters’ Rights: The LWV of Florida has been working hard on behalf of voters. This week, President Deirdre Macnab was quoted in a Washington Post op-ed highlighting the “state-by-state crusade to disenfranchise voters” through photo ID and other anti-voter efforts like those underway in Florida. On the same day, Macnab took the Florida state legislature to task in a hard-hitting Orlando Sentinel op-ed that shone light on leaders’ undeniable “scheme” to keep Florida voters shut out of the state’s long-delayed redistricting process.

North Carolina League Speaks Out for Voters’ Rights: The North Carolina League has seen a whirlwind of activity this month, speaking out across the state on behalf of voters’ rights. See photo and read details about the League’s high-impact efforts to address failures in the redistricting process and fight back against renewed attempts to strip underrepresented voters of opportunities to participate. 


Fight for Strong Ethics Standards in Congress: In our continued effort to fight for strong ethics standards in the House of Representatives, the League and coalition groups sent two letters to the House last week. One letter was sent to the leadership of the House Ethics committee, urging the committee to appoint outside counsel in the investigation into ethics violations by Representative Maxine Waters. Another letter was sent to the entire House urging them to oppose an amendment that would totally gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Global Democracy

League Addresses Women’s Rights in Egypt: The League of Women Voters Education Fund is working with women in Egypt at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy. During a five-day trip, the League is meeting in Cairo and Alexandria with leaders of civil society groups to address women's rights issues throughout Egypt. The meetings are aimed at ensuring women will have a leading role in the forthcoming elections; they will include media interviews with Al Tahrir and Maspero TV stations as well as other outlets. The League's publication, "Empowering Citizens to Influence Public Policy: A Guide for Civil Society Advocates," has been translated into Arabic for use as a road map during these strategic meetings.


League Opposes Balanced Budget Amendment: The League and coalition partners sent a letter to Congress urging them to oppose any balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. According to the League, a balanced budget amendment should not be used as a substitute for real leadership on fiscal policy.

Support The League

Is Your Retirement Plan Up for Double Taxation?
Did you know that many retirement plan assets, like IRAs, face double taxation when they’re paid out to your heirs as part of your estate?  So, while estate taxes might take a bite out of what you leave your heirs, your heirs might also have to pay income tax on what you leave them. If you can, you might instead consider leaving your retirement plan assets as a charitable gift to the League of Women Voters Education Fund. Your gift will provide critical support for the League’s work and reduce the tax burdens on your heirs. Be sure to consult your estate planning advisor first; then contact your retirement plan administrator about your decision. It could be as easy as signing new beneficiary forms. For more information on this and other planned giving opportunities, please contact the League at 202-263-1336 or plannedgiving@lwv.org.




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Members in the Spotlight

Barbara Grosh, LWV of the Rochester Metropolitan Area, NY

Janet Tyrrel, LWV of the Redding Area (CA)
“Taking action and educating others in a nonpartisan manner is so important…”

Leagues in the Spotlight

Leagues Receive Outstanding Youth Engagement Awards

Congratulations to:

LWV of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)

LWV of Houston (Texas)

LWV of Mobile (Alabama)

The League Shop

Do your holiday shopping in August!

When the cold weather comes, be cozy and stylish while promoting the League! The 5-piece ivory fleece set includes hat, headband, pair of gloves and carrying bag. An ideal holiday gift for only $5.50 at our online store.

Did You Know?

Newspaper publisher Mary Katherine Goddard had such a strong reputation in the colonies that when Congress fled to Baltimore in 1776 they trusted her with the task of printing their treasonous document. Goddard risked British arrest when she inserted her own name as printer of the first copy of the Declaration of Independence including the signers’ names.

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