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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

November 8, 2012

In This Issue:

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

  • POWER THE VOTE: Thank You for Making Democracy Work (NEW)

ELECTIONS

  • Follow Up with Prospects from Election Season Now! (NEW)
  • VOTE411 a Success this Election (NEW)
  • Big Win for Voters in Minnesota (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Nominate a League Leader to Become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow (NEW)
  • Congratulations to the New Young Professionals Task Force Members! (NEW)
  • Share Your Study. Find a Study. Visit the New Clearinghouse Today! (NEW)
  • LWV of New York Gets Great Visibility on Election Day! (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND

  • LWVUS Board Invites Applications for Agriculture Update Committee (NEW)
  • Global Democracy: Hurricane Sandy Fails to Deter BMENA Sub-Ministerial Meeting (NEW)

OTHER

  • You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!

Dear Supporter,

All is well that ends, and, mercifully, Election 2012 ended this week. Americans turned out and voted against long odds, choosing their leaders and deciding numerous ballot issues. The odds that we would have a result on Election Day were long because of concerted efforts to make voting less accessible through the manipulation of election laws, last minute manipulation of the election process and by a massive storm that crippled election efforts in several states. But voters persevered.

There are many reasons for the League to be pleased with the Election Day. Leaving aside any personal, partisan preferences, we should be pleased because this election was decided by a diverse electorate, parts of which were most likely to have been deterred by the voter suppression efforts that the League so successfully fought to a standstill. We should be pleased because, in the end, grassroots, person-to-person outreach efforts were just as critical to turning out our communities as all the money spent carpet-bombing battleground states with negative advertising. We should be pleased because, in the battleground states, ballot initiatives designed to motivate a very narrow base and undermine equality, were largely rejected because those who turned out better reflected the diversity in America.

Most of all, we should be pleased because of the vital role the League played in this election. We stood up for voters in our statehouses and in our courthouses when politicians tried to manipulate election laws for their own benefit. We registered around a hundred thousand voters with a particular emphasis on first time voters in underserved communities. We challenged last minute efforts to purge voters from the rolls. We provided access to accurate fact-based voter information. We organized poll watchers and worked at the polls to protect the process. When and where the League was needed most, we were there protecting and defending democracy.

As always, a major election reveals that our work is never done. Protecting access to the polls by making it easier, not harder, to register and vote, and providing factual information to reduce partisan influences and secret agendas from our election process has been and will continue to be the core mission of the League. We cannot allow voters to forget or ignore the shameful amount of money expended on this election and the influence that money will continue to have in the halls of power. These are large tasks, but we are up for it.

Finally, while applauding so many efforts from Florida to Pennsylvania, from Texas to Wisconsin, I cannot pass up this opportunity to say, “WAY TO GO MINNESOTA!” We have all heard, by now, that Minnesota voters declined to amend their constitution to ban marriage equality. The news has not been as focused on the fact that Minnesota voters also rejected an effort to amend their constitution to require government-issued, voter photo ID. Having defeated the measure through a gubernatorial veto last year, the Minnesota League engaged in a year-long campaign educating voters on the facts surrounding this ballot measure. Minnesota voters were obviously persuaded once they learned those facts: the measure would be costly, harmful, and unnecessary, and had no place in any state’s constitution. There are some significant lessons to be learned from Minnesota’s successful fight! And, making that case was helped immeasurably by the experience gained by Leagues across the nation in opposing these laws!

Perhaps, for a moment, there will some rest for the weary before the lame duck session starts in Congress and state legislatures come back into session. For a moment, let us bask in reflected glory of great accomplishments and take energy from those accomplishments to forge ahead.

In League together making democracy work,

Description: Elisabeth
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PRESIDENT'S CORNER

POWER THE VOTE: Thank You for Making Democracy Work (NEW)
Earlier this afternoon you should have received a thank you message from President MacNamara. It reads in part:
Another election season has come to an end and I want to give a huge round of applause to all of you – voters, League Leaders, poll workers, poll watchers! Many of you worked tirelessly registering voters at thousands of registration events, providing millions of voters with the information they needed through printed materials, online resources, hosting candidate debates and forums, encouraging your friends and family to vote, and engaging your community in other ways.
Keep reading on our blog.

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ELECTIONS

Follow Up with Prospects from Election Season Now! (NEW)
Election season is our most visible time as an organization! During election season, we also have the greatest opportunity to invite people to give us their contact information who appreciate the value of the League’s work and could become members or donors. Now is the time to reach out to individuals who gave you their information at your election-related events and let them know what your League will be doing now that the election has passed. Little things go a long way! Send an email or snail mail with a list of upcoming events or call to thank them for attending and invite them to your holiday gathering.

VOTE411 a Success this Election (NEW)
VOTE411 provided crucial election information for over 2 million voters in 2012, had almost 800,000 visitors on November 5th and 6th alone, and was a crucial resource for many of the volunteers staffing election hotlines across the country! We were proud to partner with LWVNJ, LWVNY and LWVNYC to provide up-to-date information for voters impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Of the over 2 million visitors, more than 570,000 viewed the online candidate information Leagues in 30 states worked incredibly hard to provide. Through VOTE411 the League provided at least basic candidate information for candidates down through the State House in all 50 states and DC, displaying over 11,000 candidates for the General Election! Along with the online candidate information, VOTE411 provided information on over 370 candidate debates and forums and linked to over 170 printed voter guides from Leagues around the country! LWVEF thanks all members for all their hard work creating voters’ guides, hosting events, protecting voters’ rights and engaging your communities in Election 2012!

Big Win for Voters in Minnesota (NEW)
For the first time ever voters have rejected a strict voter photo ID law in Minnesota. LWVMN was instrumental in educating the public about the discriminatory effects these laws can have. Congratulations to LWVMN and their coalition partners on a job well done! Read more here.

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MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Nominate a League Leader to Become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow (NEW)
As the threats to our democracy continue to grow, so does the need for stronger Leagues nationwide. Nominate yourself or a League leader you know to become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow, a specially-trained League leader who serves as a national coach and helps local and state Leagues build their capacity to meet those challenges. Submit your nomination online by Monday, January 7, 2013. 

Congratulations to the New Young Professionals Task Force Members! (NEW)
LWVUS congratulates Melissa Currence (OH), Alice Giles (MD), Amy Hjerstedt (MI), T.J. Leavell (NC) and Karen Oelschlaeger (NC) on being selected as the members of the new Young Professionals Task Force (YPTF). They will be joined by Ruth S. Shur Fellows Eva Rogers and Penney Van Vleet and LWVUS Board Members Anne Schink and Mary Klenz in researching and developing materials to help local Leagues across the country reach out to the next generation of League leaders. Amy and Melissa will co-chair the YPTF. Congratulations!

Share Your Study. Find a Study. Visit the New Clearinghouse Today! (NEW)
Looking for inspiration for program planning? Don’t want to reinvent the wheel for your study kit”? Curious how other Leagues have approached a touchy issue? Visit http://clearinghouse.lwv.org/ to see League studies from across the country. Browse by topic using the list on the left of the page or use the search box at the top of the page. Most important: we’re asking YOU to make sure your League shares your studies. It’s easy! Just follow the simple instructions on the site. There are few studies on the Clearinghouse website now, but the more Leagues we have participating, the better a resource this will become. Ask your board who is taking care of putting your studies in the Clearinghouse and whether you can help. This Clearinghouse was created in response to member requests. It was implemented and is staffed by volunteer members from across the country. If you’d like to help maintain, promote, and improve the clearinghouse, let us know! Contact the Clearinghouse Ad Hoc Committee by emailing clearinghouse@lwvc.org. Other questions can be directed to Board member Norman Turrill at lwvturrill@mac.com.

LWV of New York Gets Great Visibility on Election Day! (NEW)
On Election Day, the LWV of New York State rang the opening bell on the Stock Exchange. In addition to reminding individuals to get out and vote, State President Sally Robinson highlighted the League’s invaluable voter service work. Watch a video of this great visibility moment. This is an excellent example of how Leagues can creatively elevate their visibility and strengthen our organization to meet democracy’s challenges most effectively!

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EDUCATION FUND

LWVUS Board Invites Applications for Agriculture Update Committee (NEW)
Under supervision of the LWVUS Board, committee members will be responsible for selecting or developing study materials, developing consensus questions, and reviewing/tabulating responses submitted by participating Leagues. The proposed timeline extends from January 2013 to April 2014. If you are interested in being a member of the Agriculture Update Committee, please complete the online application form and submit it along with your resume no later than December 3, 2012. Any questions may be directed to Norman Turrill, Agriculture Update Chair, at lwvturrill@mac.com.

Global Democracy: Hurricane Sandy Fails to Deter BMENA Sub-Ministerial Meeting (NEW)
Despite the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy, seventy civil society and government representatives from 22 countries in the Broader Middle East and North Africa (“BMENA”) region arrived in Washington, DC, to participate in the Sub-Ministerial Meeting of the 9th Forum for the Future on November 1-2, 2012.

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OTHER

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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