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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

June 27, 2013

In This Issue:

ADVOCACY

  • League Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Voting Rights Act (NEW)
  • League Lauds President Obama’s Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution (NEW) 
  • Senate Takes Huge Step on Immigration Reform (NEW)
  • League Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND- - Elections

  • FREE MATERIALS to Leagues who Sign Up for Early for National Voter Registration Day (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Nominate a League Leader to the LWVUS Board (NEW)
  • Meet a Shur Fellow - Myra Evans, Membership and Leadership Development Coach (NEW)
  • Gain Visibility for Your League: FOIA Anniversary is July 4th (REMINDER)

OTHER

  • Help Ensure the League’s Vibrant Future by Supporting the Fund for Local League Growth (REMINDER)

Glad You Asked!

This new section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know.

We will be responding to questions we receive from League leaders across the county. 

What resources are available to Leagues that wish to start an Observer Corps program?

Many Leagues have launched successful Observer Corps programs, through which members attend, monitor and report what is happening at local governmental meetings.  These programs are a great way for Leagues to stay abreast of local issues, ensure transparency, and gain visibility.  LWVUS’ “Observing Your Government in Action" – a valuable resource – is available for download or sale.  Be sure to review our other tips for a successful Observer Corp.

Send your question to kmcfarland@lwv.org with “Glad You Asked” in the subject line.

Dear Supporter,

As pleased as we were with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. ITCA last week, we are equally disappointed with the Court’s holding in Shelby County, AL v. Holder. By cutting the heart out of the Voting Rights Act, the Court has weakened our ability to keep our elections free, fair and accessible to every eligible voter while at the same time emboldening those who seek to create barriers to voting.

Already, states formerly subject to Section 5 preclearance are rushing to implement voter photo ID laws and discriminatory redistricting plans. The fight to protect the vote now involves not just the state legislatures, but Congress as well. Here at the LWVUS, we will be evaluating all our options, but it is important that League members take every opportunity to remind their members of Congress that voting rights are not a partisan issue and equal opportunity to participate in the greatest democracy in the world deserves the same bipartisan support that it has had since 1965.We have many tools available to us, as League leaders, to engage our members and our communities such as social media and email blasts, websites and newsletters. We need to create a national groundswell of support for protecting the right to vote.  

The Shelby County decision places the Supreme Court on the wrong side of history and it is up to us, as voters, to make sure that the decision is only another bump in the long road to fair and equal access to the polls. In the end, our fight to protect voters is always going to depend on voters getting informed and informing their elected officials that voting is the most precious right the Constitution guarantees.

With renewed conviction, let’s get out there and power our voices to power the vote in 2013, 2014 and beyond.

In League,
Description: Elisabeth

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League Leaders:
To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. Please note that this is an internal communication that provides both announcements and opportunities meant only for your members and League, as well as updates on important news and events. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.

SPECIAL NOTE:
The Leaders’ Update is celebrating the 4th of July next week.  We’ll be back with a new Update July 11th.  Enjoy the fireworks!

Advocacy

League Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Voting Rights Act (NEW)
This week, the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as a mechanism to fight discrimination by striking down Section 4, which determines the states and jurisdictions that must secure federal approval before changing election laws. As noted in this Huffington Post news article and Huffington Post LIVE interview, the League will be going to Congress to fix this issue and ask them to restore the VRA to its full strength. Solutions for voters are required on an issue as fundamental as the voting rights of all Americans.  NOTE: State and local LWV Presidents, we encourage you to use the LWVUS press statement reacting to this decision and adapt as appropriate in your state and communities.

League Lauds President Obama’s Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution (NEW)
This week’s speech by President Obama is a turning point in the fight against climate change. We are thrilled that the President is taking the necessary steps to cut carbon pollution in America and is stepping up to lead the world through the greatest challenge of our lifetime: climate change.

Senate Takes Huge Step on Immigration Reform (NEW)
In a press statement today, the League of Women Voters hailed Senate passage of the comprehensive immigration reform bill.  “Overall, it is a positive step forward,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.

League Reacts to Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action (NEW)
The League is pleased that the Supreme Court recognized that increasing racial and ethnic diversity in educational settings is critical to our nation’s democratic institutions. This week’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Fisher v. Austin upheld equal opportunity in education for all Americans.

Education Fund

Elections

FREE MATERIALS to Leagues who Sign Up Early for National Voter Registration Day (NEW)
Once again, the League signed on as an official coalition partner for National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) 2013. This was a wildly successful event for 200+ Leagues in 2012. So far, 100+ Leagues have already signed up to participate again this year! Don’t miss out. Sign up to participate by hosting a registration drive in your community on Tuesday, September 24, 2013—and receive free posters and other materials! If you participated last year, please sign up by clicking on the customized link you received in an email from Maggie Duncan several weeks ago. If your League will be joining the NVRD effort for the first time this year, sign up by going to the NVRD registration page.

Membership & leadership

Meet a Shur Fellow - Myra Evans, Membership and Leadership Development Coach (NEW)
The amazing network of coaches in place at the national and state levels makes the Membership and Leadership Development program (MLD) successful. National coaches (also known as Shur Fellows) assist state coaching teams as they work with local League leaders on organizational growth issues, such as membership recruitment and retention, and leadership development.

We are putting the spotlight this week on one coach, Myra Evans (AL). Known as a “connector,” Myra is helping to bring people together coaching teams in Georgia and Maine. Learn more about Myra, the other Shur Fellows and the MLD program.

Nominate a League Leader to the LWVUS Board (NEW)
Aaah, the lazy, crazy days of summer are upon us and it’s time to reflect and celebrate all you’ve accomplished on your League journey. Now, take the next step and nominate yourself or another League member with exceptional leadership skills for the national board. The nominating committee shared some inspiring remarks from the current and former national board members about their board experiences.

Gain Visibility for Your League: FOIA Anniversary is July 4th (REMINDER)
This July 4th remind your community about the importance of citizen engagement by noting the 47th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Use this sample letter to the editor to help gain visibility for your League.

OTHER

Help Ensure the League’s Vibrant Future by Supporting the Fund for Local League Growth (REMINDER)
“I wouldn’t trade my League experience for anything!” It’s always the right time to reflect on the personal gifts the League has given to you and consider making a gift to the Fund for Local League Growth (FLLG). As this quote reminds us, League is an experience like no other! The FLLG is a special fund that solely supports local League growth and vitality through the Membership and Leadership Development program. Member contributions to the FLLG are critical to the long-term success of the Membership and Leadership Development program!

Please, donate to the Fund for Local League Growth!

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League of Women Voters
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Phone: 202-429-1965

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