Powering the Vote To Election Day
Earlier this month, I finished my fall election travel, meeting with League members, coalition partners, elected officials and the media in eight states across the country. Crisscrossing these communities, I was not seeking votes as the presidential campaigns are doing. Rather, I was seeking to ensure that those who will be casting those votes will be able to do so fairly and freely. This month, I visited Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin and was heartened by the work everyone is doing to protect and educate eligible voters.
We are now just days away from the main event, Election Day. Collaborating with other organizations as well as elected officials, we have done all we can to help protect voting rights in the months leading up to this date. Now, we will be working through November 6th to make sure every eligible voter is served fairly and is prepared to vote.
All fall, our Leagues have been educating voters through candidate debates and issue forums as well as the invaluable local voter guides, relied upon by many. And nationwide, our premier election website, www.VOTE411.org, has been providing eligible voters with the information they need to vote. On Election Day, too, we will be serving as poll observers and answering voters’ last minute questions.
In addition, we are reminding voters in the states affected by Hurricane Sandy to check with their local elections officials between now and Election Day for changes to early voting and polling place locations.
Together, through our votes, we must take control over what happens to our family, our community and our country. Every vote counts and our votes will make a difference. Join with us and voters around the country and take control this election – commit to voting today!
This election is critically important; too much is at stake for all of us – our jobs, our healthcare, our future. You have the power. Wield it – VOTE! And let us know that you voted on Facebook and Twitter.
Voting Rights and the Election Process
Voter Protection Action Nationwide – More Wins for Voters
Early this month, the New York Times discussed pivotal cases and court rulings in favor of protecting voters in states where restrictive laws had been passed. In Pennsylvania, despite a Oct. 2 ruling that put the state’s new voter ID law on hold this year, misleading ads and announcements are creating confusion among residents. The Pennsylvania League and other voting rights groups asked the court to compel the state to remove all such ads. On Oct. 24, the judge supported them, giving state officials until Oct. 30 to make it clear that residents don’t need to show photo identification to vote on Nov. 6. The Pennsylvania League was a leading plaintiff in the original lawsuit.
In South Carolina, the U.S. Federal District Court blocked implementation of the state’s new voter photo identification law for the November 6th general election, but pre-cleared the law so it will be implemented in 2013. It was a nuanced decision; learn more from the LWVUS and LWVSC joint press release.
A federal judge ordered the Michigan Secretary of State to remove a U.S. citizenship question from ballot applications for the Nov. 6 election, citing potential voter confusion and inconsistent use of the inquiry. The Secretary wanted to require the check-off box even after the legislation was vetoed by the Governor earlier this year.
In New Hampshire, the state’s highest court blocked the use of a new voter registration form for the Nov. 6 election. The form would likely have dissuaded college students from voting.
Voter suppression issues also made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Recently, the Court cleared the way for voters in Ohio to cast ballots on the three days before Election Day. In Arizona, the Court has agreed to hear arguments related to proof of citizenship and registration in early 2013.
Voter Education Activities and Resources: Since its launch in 2006, the League’s one-stop-shop, premier election information website, www.VOTE411.org, has been visited by millions of voters seeking information on registration deadlines and rules, absentee balloting, early voting, the presidential candidates as well as state and local candidates and issues. This year is no different. In addition to the valuable information, voters nationwide have been able to personalize voter guides to prepare for the big day. In addition, Leagues across the country registered voters up to the last minute, hosted candidate debates and issue forums, prepared voters guides, and covered every facet of the election process to make sure voters are ready to vote. In the last weeks, get-out-the-vote activities are well underway for this important election.
League members and the Annenberg School are having an impact: Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg School has reported to us that stations in MN, IA and SC have gone beyond fact checking segments to not airing some deceptive ads. Respect for the League’s reputation and work was shared with members from VA, MD and DC. One manager at a DC television station wrote, “We enjoyed meeting you... We work very hard to be thoughtful and accurate with our political coverage, and it’s especially gratifying when organizations like yours acknowledge it.” The Denver Post ran this Op/Ed supporting the outreach of the Denver League. Cheers to all Leagues that are actively providing and encouraging the media to provide facts for the voters.
Protecting Our Water Resources
The League submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on October 9, 2012. The comments contain guidance on proposed revision of environmental guidance documents governing interstate natural gas lines.
Diversity In Higher Education Is Vital To Democracy
On Oct. 10, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher v. Austin, a case for which the League of Women Voters joined the Brennan Center in submitting an amicus brief. The question that the Court is considering is whether prior Supreme Court decisions on racial equality, including the latest college admissions decision in 2003, permit the University of Texas to use race in the selection of its freshman classes. The amicus brief urges the Court to recognize that diversity in higher education is crucial for the success of our multi-racial democracy.
League’s Influence in Global Democracy: Second BMENA Preparatory Workshop Yields Consensus on Transparency, the Rule of Law and Economic Inclusiveness
Seventy-eight government officials, private sector and civil society representatives from the Broader Middle East and North Africa (“BMENA”) and the G8 countries met in Amman, Jordan, for the Second Preparatory Meeting of the 9th Forum for the Future. The two-day meeting on economic governance focused on developing concrete action plans for improving the rule of law, transparency/public institution integrity, economic inclusiveness and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and women’s business.
Supporting the League
Investing in the League
Help keep the momentum going from Convention! The Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program got a huge boost from League members at our national convention. The program conducted nine trainings for over 450 League members, representing 236 local Leagues from nine states, dedicated to ensuring the League is loud and proud for another 92 years. Do you want to invest in the future of the League, too? Help the MLD program reach all 50 states next year by donating today.
Do 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.