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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

November 15, 2012

In This Issue:

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

ADVOCACY

  • Supreme Court Set to Hear Arguments on the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
  • League Sends Letter to Congress on “Fiscal Cliff,” Taxes and Budget (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow: Build League Capacity to Strengthen Democracy (NEW)
  • Reminder #1: Update Your Membership Rosters(NEW)
  • MLD Success Story: LWVOC Registers Voters, Increases Membership (NEW)
  • LWVUS Recognizes New Local League: LWV of Antelope Valley, CA (NEW)
  • Share Your Study. Find a Study. Visit the New Clearinghouse Today!

EDUCATION FUND

  • Elections: Please Complete Our Power the Vote Feedback Survey (Free Materials Available!)
  • Elections: Facts Matter – Sample Post-Election OpEd (NEW)
  • We Need to Fix That (NEW)
  • Agriculture Update: LWVUS Board Adopts Tentative Scope
  • Agriculture Update: LWVUS Board Invites Applications for Agriculture Update Committee

OTHER

  • Make Sure You’re Getting All of LWVUS’ Facebook Updates (NEW)
  • Leaving a Legacy

Dear Supporter,

With Thanksgiving just a week away and the movie “Lincoln” opening in theaters tomorrow, we might do well to remember that the first Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln at a time when our country was embroiled in civil war over whether all Americans were really created equal. Right now, we are still analyzing the results of an election in which a diverse electorate returned a man of color to the White House.

From the beginning, the United States has been racially, ethnically and culturally diverse and yet less than fifty years ago, it was impossible to imagine that Barack Obama could be elected President or that a member of any racial or ethnic minority could be elected to any high office. The progress we have made in the late 20th and early 21st century is due primarily to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).

The Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution freed the slaves, made them citizens and gave Congress the power to ensure that no citizen would be denied the right to vote based on race or color. It took Congress 95 years to exercise that power through the VRA. In the meantime, a bloc of Senators employed high-sounding language and legislative maneuvers to preserve a system of segregation and Jim Crow voting laws. Throughout our history those wanting to preserve an elite power structure have made arguments that sound principled, but are really a cloak to maintain their power: the three-fifths compromise, nullification and states’ rights. Now they add the lexicon of federalism, voter fraud, and voting by felons and illegal immigrants.

The current Supreme Court has not afforded the voting rights of the vulnerable the same dignity as speech rights of moneyed interests. Following the 2008 election, the Court not only took up, but actually created Citizens United v. the FEC in order to vitiate meaningful restrictions on campaign finance. Three days after this election, the Court agreed to hear a challenge by Shelby County, Alabama to the Voting Rights Act.

The League was founded to make voting meaningful not only for the millions of women enfranchised by the Nineteenth Amendment but for all Americans. We have achieved great things, but we are certainly not near where we should be in protecting every citizen’s right to vote. The League has been and will continue to speak up for voting rights and for the Voting Rights Act. Let’s hope that the Justices are paying attention.

In League together making democracy work,

Description: Elisabeth
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PRESIDENT'S CORNER

***SPECIAL NOTE*** The Leaders' Update is taking a “turkey break” next week. We will be back on November 29! HappyThanksgiving!

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Advocacy

Supreme Court Set to Hear Arguments on the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
Late last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear a case that challenges the Voting Rights Act. The League believes the Voting Rights Act is an essential part of American democracy. Read our statement on the decision to hear the case.

League Sends Letter to Congress on “Fiscal Cliff,” Taxes and Budget (NEW)
The letter was sent to the U.S. House and Senate and will be delivered by members of the LWVUS Lobby Corps to select offices on the Hill. The League urges Congress to provide a long-term solution by substantially increasing revenue, protecting the social safety net, reducing defense spending and carefully managing the deficit.

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MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow: Build League Capacity to Strengthen Democracy (NEW)
Help create stronger Leagues nationwide to combat growing threats to our democracy! Nominate yourself or a League leader you know to become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow. If selected, you will receive special training in organizational development and mentoring techniques, network with League members across the country, and provide a vital bridge to build our organization’s capacity. Submit your nomination online  by Monday, January 7, 2013. Questions? Email SSanders@lwv.org.

Reminder #1: Update Your Membership Rosters (NEW)
Summary sheets went live on November 1st which means that changes you make in the LWVUS membership database will now be reflected in your League’s member count. Update your roster in the LWVUS membership database regularly from now until January 31, 2013 to ensure correct PMP billing. Always include membership expiration dates. Have questions or need help? Contact Betty Taira at BTaira@lwv.org or (202) 263-1345.

MLD Success Story: LWVOC Registers Voters, Increases Membership (NEW)
Through their intentional focus on the dual goals of strengthening democracy and strengthening the League, the LWV of Orange County (FL) registered 1,000 new voters AND grew from 240 League members in January 2012 to over 400 members in November 2012. LWVOC has become the second largest League nationwide and is very visible in its community! Invest in Leagues nationwide by giving to the Fund for Local League Growth.

LWVUS Recognizes New Local League: LWV of Antelope Valley, CA (NEW)
At its most recent meeting, the LWVUS recognized the LWV of the Antelope Valley (CA) as a full-fledged local League! Congratulations to the new League and special thanks to the LWV of California for mentoring them through this process. As an MAL unit, the LWV of Antelope Valley has been extremely successful already – developing the Jeannette Rankin "Courage Award" to encourage community involvement in local governmental issues, hosting a televised Assembly debate, and conducting two events about the “state of public education.” Cheers & welcome to them!

Share Your Study. Find a Study. Visit the New Clearinghouse Today!
Looking for inspiration for program planning? Don’t want to reinvent the wheel for your study kit”? Curious how other Leagues have approached a touch 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.

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EDUCATION FUND

Elections: Please Complete Our Power the Vote Feedback Survey (Free Materials Available!)
Please take a few minutes to fill out our Election 2012 Voter Service survey and tell us what your League did to engage voters this year. Your answers will help inform our future trainings, materials, and grant programs, enable us to better highlight Leagues’ work from across the nation, and allow us have more productive conversations with funders and partners. Your feedback is important to us! Any League completing the survey will be offered *FREE* VOTE411.org sports bags as part of our thanks for filling it out.

Elections: Facts Matter – Sample Post-Election OpEd (NEW) 
For those interested in commenting on negative ads funded by big, secret money that hit our communities this fall, here's a sample OpEd you could adapt and send to your newspaper or post on a blog. Even though many of us will continue to question how effective the $6 billion spent on the 2012 elections was, what we know is that this deluge of money and the flood of campaign ads will not be going away and that citizens really do want the facts and not the spin.   Thank goodness the League is here to help offer fact-based information through our voter guides and forums!

We Need to Fix That (NEW)
On election night, President Obama stated “we need to fix that,” referring to the long lines on Election Day. Over the next several months the League of Women Voters will be working with coalition members to develop a list of election reforms that will help address the various issues related to our elections, and we’ll continue to work with you (key state Leagues) to address specific strategies in your states. Wendy Weiser from the Brennan Center has shared their views on some fixes which you can read here.

Agriculture Update: LWVUS Board Adopts Tentative Scope
The LWVUS Board has named the study passed by Convention 2012 as the Agriculture Update. Subject to review and recommendation by the Update Committee, the Board also adopted this scope for the update: “The Agriculture Update will focus narrowly on (1) current technology issues in agriculture including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), herbicides, pesticides, sustainable farming, agriculture water pollution, aquifer depletion, antibiotics in livestock, and accurate food labeling; and (2) current agriculture finance issues including consolidation in agriculture industries, crop subsidies and the federal agricultural regulatory process.”

Agriculture Update: LWVUS Board Invites Applications for Agriculture Update Committee
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.

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OTHER

Make Sure You’re Getting All of LWVUS’ Facebook Updates (NEW)
Facebook recently altered its algorithm limiting fans ability to see updates from the pages they like. Currently only 15-20 percent of a page’s fans see any given post. We generally post 2 times a day on the LWVUS page and 2-3 times per week on the VOTE411 page. In order to get all of the updates from LWVUS, VOTE411, and the other pages you like, follow these simple  steps: Go to the Fan Page. Hover over the “Liked” box and select “Get Notifications” and “Show in News Feed.” Please make sure to share this information with your members and supporters and repost on your own Facebook pages.

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.

Donate to the League and support our work.

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