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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

To Power the Vote this year will require a three-prong approach. Working together, we must work at all levels of the League to:  

  1. Provide voters with facts about registration and voting in their state, especially where there has been confusion created by either the threat of or the new existence of voter suppression laws;
  2. Encourage local media to fact check the claims made by candidates and their supporters and provide authentic solutions to help educate voters (such as VOTE411.org);
  3. and, while we can’t stop the flood of money paying to advertise these claims (at least before November), we can help voters get the facts about the sources of that money.

At the same time, we need to continue to motivate and empower voters to fully participate, and send the message that the very best way to stand up for the future of our democracy is to have every single eligible voter come out and participate on Election Day. To help set the stage, the Update messages over the next few weeks will focus on opportunities and approaches that Leagues can take to do each of these three things. The LWVUS will continue to re-purpose these messages for social media and I hope that they will also be helpful for fall Voters and state and local social media.

August 16, 2012

In This Issue:

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • POWER THE VOTE: This Week’s Challenge Activity (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; VOTE411; Voter Protection)

  • Last Chance: Voter Registration Webinar 8/22 at 4pm EDT
  • Sample Questions for Voter Guides and Candidate Forums/Debates (NEW)
  • Leagues Rally Behind Voter Registration Day
  • The Assault on Voting Continues in Pennsylvania (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Under 45?  Apply to be a part of our Young Professionals Task Force  (NEW)
  • Media Template:  Women's Equality Day (NEW)
  • LWVUS Convention Speaker Releases New Book (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League aids in collection of 3 million comments to the EPA.
  • League Urges Supreme Court  to Recognize Benefits of Diversity in Higher Education

OTHER

  • Celebrating the 77th anniversary of Social Security
  • You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!

 

Dear Supporter,

Elections are about choices. The ballot that a voter receives on Election Day is a long list of choices: who will be the next president; who will represent the voter in Congress, the state legislature, the county or city commission; should the state constitution be amended. These important choices cannot be made without information. The League was founded to help newly enfranchised women get the information they needed to cast informed votes. The League has never supported or opposed candidates or parties because the partisan pursuit of political power encourages campaigns of disinformation rather than information. While this has always been true, advances in communication technology from radio to television to the internet have accelerated the ability of candidates and supporters to disseminate misleading and outright false information in their effort to persuade voters.

This election year, special interests from candidates to so-called independent groups are flooding the airwaves and social media with messages that can be difficult for voters to assess. While negative political messages are disturbing and discouraging, blatant falsehoods have no place in our politics and voters need all the help they can get in sorting fact from fiction.

The League plays a vital role in that sorting process, and this year we are asking local media to help us.  In partnership with the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, local Leagues are encouraged to visit their local television stations and their local newspaper editorial board to enlist support for fact checking political advertising.   To assist Leagues in this outreach, LWVUS is using a grant to develop a toolkit for this campaign. That material should be available on the website and through the weekly Update by early to mid September.

Television stations can do this in two ways: while candidates can say anything they want in political ads, third parties are subject to the same rules as product advertising and local stations have the authority to demand that false claims be eliminated from such advertising; and television news reporters can fact check and inform the public about the truth of claims made by both the candidates and third parties. Newspapers can keep the campaigns honest through editorial pages and fact checking. But local media needs support from the community in these efforts and the League can lead the way.

Many Leagues have strong partnerships with local media. All Leagues need such partnerships. A national League campaign to get the facts to voters with the support of local media is a powerful opportunity for media outreach during this important election season..

Elections are about choices for our communities. Voters need information they can trust in making those choices. The League has always been a trusted source for fact-based information at election time and local media is our natural and logical partner. Together we can make sure this election is about the real issues facing our country.

In League together making democracy work,

Description: Elisabeth
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PRESIDENT'S CORNER

POWER THE VOTE: This Week’s Challenge Activity (NEW)
Now is the time of year to touch base with your elections officials and make sure they are fully prepared to help voters register, get informed, and successfully cast a ballot. Find our list of suggested questions for your elections official here: download key questions to ask.

EDUCATION FUND (Elections; VOTE411; Voter Protection)

Last Chance: Voter Registration Webinar 8/22 at 4pm EDT
The final push for voter registration starts now! Join LWVEF experts for an interactive training webinar covering all you need to know to conduct effective voter registration in 2012! Learn helpful time-saving tips and share your own experiences with your colleagues across the country. Sign up here for the free training webinar. The webinar will start promptly at 4pm EDT on Wednesday, 8/22, and last about one hour.

Sample Questions for Voter Guides and Candidate Forums/Debates (NEW)
LWVUS has developed updated suggested questions for Leagues compiling voter guides and/or hosting candidate events this fall. The questions were developed based on League priorities and also reflect the top issues of importance reported by voters in major national polls. Please review the questions and utilize them as you plan your voter service activities!

Leagues Rally Behind Voter Registration Day
You’d never know it was prime summer vacation time.  Leagues have been working hard to plan voter registration drives, and we have the numbers to prove it! You came out in droves this week to sign up for National Voter Registration Day (9/25), responding rapidly to our email request to participate in this historic day of action. In just forty-eight hours, we went from about 60 League sign-ups to a whopping 138!  We now represent more than ¼ of the more than 400 diverse groups participating in this day nationwide. Make sure your League isn’t left behind. Sign up to host a voter registration event on September 25th by visiting www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org. Do so by Monday, 8/20, and your League will receive a free organizing kit with materials, stickers, sample posters, and more!

The Assault on Voting Continues in Pennsylvania (NEW)
This week, a judge in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the voter photo identification law and to not grant an injunction to prevent its implementation. This is despite the fact that there is no proof of voter impersonations in PA and that 1.2 million eligible voters could be disenfranchised.  Read our joint statement with LWVPA and blog post.

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MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Under 45?  Apply to be a part of our Young Professionals Task Force  (NEW)
LWVUS is seeking interested young professional members to apply for a new Task Force.  If you are interested and are a League members in good standing who is age 45 or under and has an interest in leading the effort to recruit, engage, and attract more young professionals to join the League, please submit your application! Please note that being a member or co-chair of the Task Force is a one-year commitment. To fill out an application click here. The application deadline is September 30.

Media Template:  Women’s Equality Day (NEW)
Women’s Equality Day is August 26.  It’s OUR day to POWER the VOTE by registering and educating  today’s citizens.  Customize this media template to draw some attention to this important historic milestone and to remind your community about the great work that your League does all year long.

LWVUS Convention Speaker Releases New Book (NEW)
Director of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership and former Congressman Mickey Edwards, who addressed Convention delegates in Washington DC this spring, has released a new book, The Parties vs. the People.  For more information about the book, click here.  To watch the panel discussion featuring Congressman Edwards, please click here

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ADVOCACY

League aids in collection of 3 million comments to the EPA
The League of Women Voters helped to collect the record 3 million comments asking the EPA to curb industrial carbon pollution! This is an unprecedented tally that reflects the strong desire of Americans for national leadership to address climate change and its impact on public health. Read our press release.

League Urges Supreme Court  to Recognize Benefits of Diversity in Higher Education
The League joined the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the Court to uphold the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions policies, including the university’s reasonable efforts to encourage diversity in its classrooms. The amicus brief asks the Court to recognize that diversity in higher education is crucial for the success of our multi-racial democracy.

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OTHER

Celebrating the 77th anniversary of Social Security
 On August 14, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released a “Just the Facts” video outlining the basics of Social Security and how the program has performed throughout the years, in both good times and bad. The accompanying resource guide and other materials provide additional in-depth background on the Social Security program and what it means to seniors, working families, and children now and in the future.

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 that 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.

Donate to the League and support our work.
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