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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update


February 16, 2012

This Week: February 14, 1920 – The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago; February 15, 1921 – Suffrage Monument in U.S. Capitol is dedicated

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: Power the Vote, Not Money in Elections (NEW)

CONVENTION

  • Be Recognized at National Convention for YOUR League’s Good Work
  • Want to Learn More about National Convention? Register Today for Webinar
  • Determining How Many Delegates Your League Can Send to Convention (NEW)
  • Reminder: Program Planning Deadline is March 1

ADVOCACY

  • League Supports DISCLOSE 2012 in Congress (NEW)
  • League Opposes Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation (NEW)
  • An Opportunity to Use Your Experience and Expertise! (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Make the Most of Your League’s Annual Meeting! (NEW)
  • Leadership Changes? Update Your League Officers in the LWVUS Database (NEW)
  • For Long-Range Planning (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Openness in Government)

  • Elections: The Link Behind the Wave of Voter Suppression Laws (NEW)
  • Save the Date: Sunshine Week Webcast on March 16

OTHER

  • Online Store Sale (NEW)
  • Leaving a Legacy

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

Dear League Leader:

Last week, the League and its partners demonstrated, once again, that the grassroots can speak up to power! More than 25,000 activists answered our call and signed onto our petition urging the President to begin fixing what ails the Federal Elections Commission. The ball is now in President Obama’s court, and we hope his response will be to make the appointments that restore the FEC to its watchdog role.

As we all know, the Citizens United decision has already had enormous impact on our elections. Currently, we have been hearing about the Super PAC money pouring into the Presidential primary. A robust effort by the FEC to ensure that independent expenditures are indeed independent is an important first step to protect against big special interest money in our elections. Another key component in the battle for clean elections is public information. At the federal level, we are supporting legislation to require complete disclosure of spending on big-money advertising let loose by Citizens United. (See Advocacy section below.) The voting public deserves the opportunity to know and discuss the impact of special interest money on House and Senate races, as well as on statewide judicial elections.

Recently, we have seen organized efforts to unseat state court judges, even in states with a merit selection system. Outside influence has been brought to bear in several states on judicial retention elections. As a result, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver conducted a roundtable discussion among lawyers and lay persons of a variety of political persuasions and from different backgrounds to address selection of judges. Starting from the premise that in order to select judges with merit, we must first identify what qualities we want in a good judge, the discussion was lively and productive. Developing a consensus around judicial qualifications led to an even more productive conversation about the best ways to select judges.

We just commemorated the League's 92nd birthday on Tuesday with this celebratory message. For those 92 years, the League has been a strong voice for voters and a source of thoughtful and factual information vital to keeping our democracy safe from the outsized influence of special interests. Let’s continue to raise awareness in our communities about the issues, especially the issue of money in all of our elections. By doing so, we continue our tradition of Powering the Vote.

In League,

Elisabeth

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CONVENTION

Be Recognized at National Convention for YOUR League’s Good Work
Has YOUR state or local League done some outstanding work this year on elections, voter service and reform? As we focus on Power the Vote at this LWVUS Convention, we can’t think of a better way to showcase the impact of the League than by congratulating and recognizing our success across the country! Visit the Convention Section of the LWVUS Website to apply to win a Convention Award and be nationally recognized for your League’s great work. We will invite the whole League network to vote on who will be the top winners in each category – so make sure your good work is showcased here!

Want to Learn More about National Convention? Register Today for Webinar
To Power the Vote there are important "power tools” you can access at our 50th LWVUS Convention! Join us for an informational webinar on February 21, 1:30 pm ET. It will be the first of a series in preparation for our exciting convention. Register here to participate!

Determining How Many Delegates Your League Can Send to Convention (NEW)
Go to the LWVUS website to determine the number of delegates your League can send to the National Convention this year. Please note that, per the LWVUS Bylaws, in order to vote at the LWVUS 2012 Convention your League must have paid its PMP in full as billed. Register for convention here.

Reminder: Program Planning Deadline is March 1
Leagues are reminded to submit online program planning recommendations on or before the March 1, 2012 deadline. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Convention delegates will vote on a final program.

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ADVOCACY

League Supports DISCLOSE  2012 in Congress (NEW)
The LWVUS Lobby Corps is carrying this message to House offices, asking Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 4010, DISCLOSE 2012, introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen. The legislation provides essential new disclosure requirements to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars in secret contributions being injected into federal elections by non-profit groups and other entities. The legislation also ensures that there will be timely disclosure by Super PACs. The League and coalition partners also sent this letter to the House in support of H.R. 4010.

League Opposes Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation (NEW)
The League joined groups from the environmental community in opposing legislation to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. The letter said pending legislation would effectively turn Congress into a permitting authority, bypassing a robust environmental and safety review and approving a project for which a route has not even been determined, and called for the rejection of such actions.

An Opportunity to Use Your Experience and Expertise! (NEW)
As the League tackles long-term reform, the new Campaign Finance Reform Task Force is seeking members with experience and expertise in campaign finance and constitutional law. If you have an interest in this issue as well as expertise and background in campaign finance and constitutional law, please submit your application to serve on this Task Force here by March 1, 2012.

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MEMBERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP

Make the Most of Your League’s Annual Meeting! (NEW)
As your League begins to prepare for its annual meeting, check out LWVUS tips for a successful annual meeting here. Remember that the annual meeting is a great time to thank current members for all their hard work and to invite potential new members to join the League! Have membership ambassadors standing at the doors to welcome all attendees, have everyone sign a sign-in sheet and follow-up with non-members with an “ask” to join, and don’t forget to speak up about the value of membership.

Leadership Changes? Update Your League Officers in the LWVUS Database (NEW)
In the coming weeks and months, many local Leagues will have leadership transitions. If your League has a change in leadership, don’t forget to update your League officers’ information in the LWVUS database. Find instructions on how to make these changes here. If you have questions or need help, email membership@lwv.org.

For Long-Range Planning (NEW)
Council 2013 is scheduled for June 14-17, 2013, at the International Conference Center in northern Virginia (the site of Council 2011). Convention 2014 will be in Dallas, TX, June 6-10, 2014.

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EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Openness in Government)

Elections: The Link Behind the Wave of Voter Suppression Laws (NEW)
The New York Times ran an informative editorial this week that links the influence of big money on the wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the country, specifically connecting these efforts with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their billionaire backers. Read the editorial here.

Save the Date: Sunshine Week Webcast on March 16
The 7th annual Sunshine Week National Webcast will be broadcast on Friday, March 16, 1-3 pm ET. This year's webcast will be part of the Freedom Forum's 14th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference at the Newseum, Washington, DC. Leagues can participate in the live webcast by submitting their questions and comments to panelists via email and phone. Leagues that wish to host local “viewing parties” will need a computer (with internet), an LCD projector, and a screen or a blank wall.

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OTHER

Online Store Sale (NEW)
From now until the end of February the online store is holding a sale of logo items for $2.00 + shipping and handling.

Leaving a Legacy
Including the League of Women Voters Education Fund in your will is among the easiest ways to offer support of the LWVEF's work for years to come. We suggest the following language to include the League as a beneficiary of a will or trust: " I give, devise, and bequeath to the League of Women Voters Education Fund, a charitable organization formed in the District of Columbia, with offices at 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, {the sum of $___ } {___ percentage of my residuary estate}." If you already have a will, you can have your attorney add a codicil to include the LWVEF. After you've added the League, please contact the Development office by email so we can list you as a member of our Carrie Chapman Catt Legacy Society.

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