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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

August 23, 2012

In This Issue:


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


  • Elections: Voter Registration Template Press Release & Training Webinar (NEW)
  • Elections: VOTE411 Redesign Webinar –Sign up Today to Reserve Your Spot! (NEW)
  • Elections: Candidate Debate and Forum Planning (NEW)
  • Elections: WI Attorney General Asks State Supreme Court to Reinstate Voter Photo ID Law (NEW)
  • Elections: Voting Rights Act Challenged by Alaska (NEW)
  • Elections: VOTE411.org Is Now on Social Media


  • Having Fun Serving Voters and Building the League (New)
  • Know GREAT Young Leaguers? Encourage Them to Apply for Our Task Force!
  • Media Template: Women’s Equality Day


  • Sewall-Belmont House & Museum Project (NEW)
  • Do You Need to Update Your Will?


Dear League Leader:

Elections are races ‘run’ by competitors whose fate is ultimately determined not by their own prowess but by the number of supporters who show up and participate in the election. While our elections are free and open to any citizen over the age of 18, a ‘reservation’ in the form of voter registration is required. All around the country, Leagues have been helping citizens make their reservations for Election 2012 through voter registration drives. We are proud to report that over 180 Leagues have already signed up to participate in National Voter Registration Day on September 25 and are joining with hundreds of other groups across the country to unleash a nationwide field effort to register thousands of voters in a single day of action.

This year our role in registering voters is more important than ever because of the flurry of voter suppression efforts in the states. As we enter the final weeks and months before Election 2012, we need to be on alert in every state because of the confusion these tactics have caused even in states where the laws failed, were never proposed or will not be in effect this November.

Voters need accurate information about registration and voting. A large part of our effort to educate and inform eligible voters is the launch of a new and improved Vote411.org, which will be featured in my Huffington Post blog. Enlisting local media as an ally in educating voters is essential this fall. For example, during primary season, here in Georgia the Atlanta Journal Constitution, in addition to partnering with the League to produce an on-line voter guide, has been running a box on the front page telling voters what they need to bring to the polls.

The League has taken a strong stand opposing voter suppression tactics and we continue to fight on all fronts, but right now voters need all the education and encouragement they can get. Powering the vote means helping voters leap the barriers of misinformation as well as the actual legal barriers to voting. Leagues are encouraged, in addition to registration drives, to contact their local elections officials to find out what those officials are doing to prepare for this election and to use this opportunity to let local media know what those preparations are, good and bad. The media is focused on the issues that voter suppression is creating. Now is the time to put a positive spin on that focus by reporting from the ground on League efforts to keep these tactics from succeeding.

A handful of individuals are betting big money on the outcome of this particular race. The best response to that flood of money is a flood of voters armed with accurate information. Those voters are deciders of this race and every election race from the top of the ticket to the bottom. Empowering those voters to make that reservation and show up for the final event is a job the League has always welcomed and always done well, regardless of the odds!

In League together making democracy safe,



POWER THE VOTE: This Week’s Challenge Activity (NEW)
Host at least one candidate forum/debate this season. The LWVEF has put together these FAQs for debate hosting to assist you in your planning. Also see “Candidate Debate and Forum Planning” under Education Fund/Elections, below.



Elections: Voter Registration Template Press Release & Training Webinar (NEW)
Download and customize our handy press release template to make sure your community knows about your great voter registration work this fall! For more helpful tips on planning effective voter registration drives, listen to our recent webinar training here.

Elections: VOTE411 Redesign Webinar –Sign up Today to Reserve Your Spot! (NEW)
VOTE411.org has just undergone a complete site redesign! To help you navigate the new site, LWVEF is providing a webinar to show you the basics and answer your questions about the updated voter education tool. Register today for the webinar on Thursday, September 6th 2-3pm ET to reserve your spot! If you have any questions about the webinar, or about VOTE411, please contact Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org).

Elections: Candidate Debate and Forum Planning (NEW)
The upcoming November general election provides Leagues with many opportunities to serve their communities and to gain visibility. Hosting candidate forums or debates is one of the most important services we offer. If your League is hosting a forum or debate for federal level candidates, we highly recommend you adhere to the regulatory framework offered by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). If the debate is to be broadcast, additional guidelines are provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the IRS. This information can be found in "Face to Face" and in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Also check with your local or state Elections Board to see what guidelines or recommendations they offer. The time to become aware of these guidelines is BEFORE you start planning the forum and inviting candidates and partners to participate. If you need assistance, please email LWVUS Board Member Janis McMillen at jkmcmillen@kc.rr.com.

Elections: WI Attorney General Asks State Supreme Court to Reinstate Voter Photo ID Law (NEW)
This week, in the never-ending battle to confuse and suppress the vote, WI Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the WI Supreme Court to reinstate the discriminatory voter photo ID law prior to the November elections. Background: Earlier this year, LWVWI won a permanent injunction against the law in a lower court. The state then appealed that decision to the Appellate Court, which, in turn, asked the State Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court refused and sent the case back to the Appellate Court. No further action is currently scheduled to occur before the November election. You can read more from LWVWI here.

Elections: Voting Rights Act Challenged by Alaska (NEW)
Alaska has joined at least six states or jurisdictions challenging continued enforcement of Sec. 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which is meant to prevent voting discrimination based on race or color. Section 5 requires specific states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to secure preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before any voting changes may be implemented. The U.S. Supreme Court may decide in October whether to hear a challenge to Sec. 5 of the Voting Rights Act brought by Shelby County, AL. Read more here.

Elections: VOTE411.org Is Now on Social Media!
We’ve launched a Facebook page and a Twitter feed for VOTE411.org! Like the LWVUS channels (Facebook page and Twitter feed), we’ll be using these new VOTE411 channels to connect with the general public to share important deadlines, factoids, news clips, etc. and encourage voter participation. After you connect with VOTE411 on social media, please share these channels with your networks. Questions? Contact Stephanie Drahan (sdrahan@lwv.org). Thanks in advance!

Please Note: These channels will not be replacing the private VOTE411 Facebook group that League Members using the voters’ guide software are currently using for internal communications to ask questions and seek advice from other Leagues using VOTE411. For general questions relating to VOTE411, please contact Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org).



 Having Fun Serving Voters and Building the League (New)
In the season of state and county fairs, some Leagues are doing a great job of taking advantage of this fun opportunity to showcase and build the League, while serving voters and our democracy! The LWV of Indiana, for example, had a booth at the Indiana State Fair August 3-19. Members had great fun while they registered voters, passed out the palm cards and VOTE brochures, had a laptop showing the VOTE411 homepage, AND distributed their new LWV of Indiana membership brochure to many people. They also engaged each other and the public through use of social media – Facebook and Twitter. We share this story to cheer on the LWV of Indiana AND all of you who are having fun, while doing great work! 

Know GREAT Young Leaguers? Encourage Them to Apply for Our Task Force!
LWVUS is dedicated to tooling local Leagues to reach out to the next generation of League leaders, and we want your help! Find out what the LWV Young Professions Task Force is all about and apply to become a member or co-chair by September 9, 2012. (We recommend viewing the application, writing your answers on a word document, and then applying online.) Only League members in good standing, age 45 or under, will be considered for this position.

Media Template: Women’s Equality Day
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.



Sewall-Belmont House & Museum Project (NEW)
This summer, the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum launched an online history project, "Share Your Story, Save HerStory" to capture personal stories, opinions and thoughts about why the vote is important. As Women's Equality Day (August 26) – the 92nd Anniversary of the woman's vote – approaches, they ask you to continue sharing your stories and encourage others to do so.

You Need to Update Your Will?
Have you moved? Had a child? Gotten married recently? Or maybe there's a new grandchild or stepchild in your life? Any one of these major life events is reason enough to update your will. It is always important to stay in touch with your attorney regarding any changes in estate and probate law. While you're updating your plans, don't forget to include a gift for your favorite charities, like the League of Women Voters Education Fund – to strengthen the pillars of our democracy for years to come. If you have already included a gift for the LWV in your will or trust, but have not previously informed us, or if you have been thinking about setting up a gift that provides income, such as a charitable gift annuity, please contact the Development office by email or at 202-263-1355. 

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