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Leaders Update


November 17, 2011

TODAY: November 17, 1800 – The 2nd session of the Sixth Congress convenes for the first time in Washington, DC

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: Voters Speak on November 8 (NEW)
  • Program Planning Guide Is Here! (New)

ADVOCACY

  • League President Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee Forum on Voting Laws Changes (NEW)
  • League’s Lobby Corps News (NEW)
  • League Opposes Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Education Study; Elections; Civic Engagement)

  • FINAL REMINDER: Education Study Consensus Deadline! (NEW)
  • Elections: With New ID Laws in Place, What’s Next? (NEW)
  • Opportunity to Participate in Community Civic Health Index Research and Advocacy (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • There’s Still Time! Share Your Thoughts on the LWVUS Membership Brochure (NEW)
  • Invite Those Who Came to Your Voters Service Events to Join (NEW)
  • Media Opportunity: Recognize Bill of Rights Day (NEW)

OTHER

  •  “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…”
  • You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

***SPECIAL NOTE*** Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no Leaders' Update next week, November 24. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Dear League Leader:

Last Tuesday was Election Day across the country. Although no Federal election was involved, the 2011 elections attracted considerable national attention, and the results covered a wide range of issues and were fascinating. For instance, here in Georgia, voters in numerous municipalities voted to permit the sale of alcohol on Sunday. It is perhaps only remarkable that in 2011, Georgia is one of three states that prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sunday. Nevertheless, because this is one of those states, it was noteworthy that voters turned out to lift that restriction in many jurisdictions. In Mississippi, while voter ID was approved, the voters rejected an extreme measure that defined personhood as beginning at conception. Ohio voters turned back an anti-union statute passed by their legislature, while approving a constitutional amendment limiting that state’s authority to require the purchase of health insurance. The People’s Veto succeeded in Maine restoring same day registration to that state.

These results confirm what we already know – most Americans are not on the extremes of the political spectrum. Wave elections may change which party is in control, but whether Republican or Democrat, elected officials should never assume they have a mandate. For the League, we must continue to remind voters and elected officials alike that it is possible to communicate between elections. Town Hall meetings should provide an opportunity for an honest exchange of views.

No doubt, our work is cut out for us, but perhaps Tuesday’s results will make folks more willing to listen.

In League,

Elisabeth

Program Planning Guide Is Here! (New)
Every two years state and local Leagues and ILO’s participate in the LWVUS Program Planning process by making recommendations concerning program issues – this is one of the ways we remain a grassroots organization. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Here is the guide to assist you in your January/February meetings on Program Planning.  The deadline for submitting program planning response forms is March 1, 2012.   

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ADVOCACY

League President Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee Forum on Voting Laws Changes (NEW)
On Monday, November 14, LWVUS President MacNamara was on the Hill to present this testimony on the effect of recent voting legislation passed by a number of states in 2011. If you missed the live airing, you may now view her presentation here (her statement begins about 30 minutes into the program). Among the numerous media reports were those from the Huffington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Governing Magazine.

League’s Lobby Corps News (NEW)
This week, the League’s indefatigable Lobby Corps has been busy carrying the League’s message on Clean Air to select senators. Earlier, they visited House members regarding budget concerns targeting elimination of the Election Assistance Commission.

League Opposes Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution (NEW)
The League of Women Voters joined with 277 organizations in a letter to members of the House and Senate opposing passage of a so-called Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. The League has long opposed the balanced budget amendment as a danger to the economy and the balance of powers between the three branches of government.

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EDUCATION FUND (Education Study; Elections; Civic Engagement)

FINAL REMINDER: Education Study Consensus Deadline! (NEW)
Wednesday, November 30, is the Consensus deadline for the study, “Role of the Federal Government in Public Education.” To report the response for your League, go to the Education Study page on the LWVUS website which is located here in the Members Section under Projects and Programs. The response form is located in several places on the page. This is an online form, so just follow the instructions once you’ve clicked on the form. Specific questions may be directed to Peggy Hill (hillp@uhcl.edu) or Joanne Leavitt (ac997@lafn.org).

Elections: With New ID Laws in Place, What’s Next? (NEW)
This week 11 state Leagues participated in a conference call to discuss next steps in relation to their new voter photo ID laws. How do we educate the public, without scaring them away? How do we monitor the implementation and impact? These were just two of the many questions discussed. The LWVWI talked about its polling place observation program, the LWVSC shared its voter education efforts and the LWVMN shared its new mini-documentary for educating the public on the barriers of voter photo ID. You can view the video here. Partial funding for the video was provided by the LWVEF Public Advocacy for Voter Protection project (PAVP).

Opportunity to Participate in Community Civic Health Index Research and Advocacy (NEW)
The League has been invited once again to participate in the National Conference on Citizenship’s (NCOC) Civic Health Index Initiative, an effort to measure and understand how our communities and democracy are functioning. Recent state-level partnerships, some of which have included Leagues, have produced comprehensive reports, infographics and initiatives that create a deeper understanding of civic health, generate dialogue and catalyze public policy action. Please view NCOC’s partnership page here and consider how your League might get involved in this high-impact, high-visibility opportunity to galvanize civic engagement.   

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MEMBERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP

There’s Still Time! Share Your Thoughts on the LWVUS Membership Brochure (NEW)
We want YOUR feedback! Complete this short survey to let us know how we can improve the LWVUS membership brochure. Membership brochures can be used by local Leagues to recruit new members and explain the League’s significance to the community.  Please respond by December 2. 

Invite Those Who Came to Your Voters Service Events to Join (NEW)
Be sure to follow up with those individuals who attended your voters service events, requested voters’ guides, or called your League with voters service questions. Ask them to join! The LWVUS has a template letter that you can customize to contact them. 

Media Opportunity: Recognize Bill of Rights Day (NEW)
December 15 is Bill of Rights Day. Customize this media template to generate visibility for your League during this busy holiday season. It’s an easy way to remind your community about the work we are doing, speak to the value of being a member of the League and generate free publicity!

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OTHER

 “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…”
Sales ends November 30: Fleece sets on sale – $4.50 each at our online store.

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 202-263-1355 or plannedgiving@lwv.org.

"Like" the League on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters and connect with us on Twitter: @LWV.
Donate to the League and support our work.

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