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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

January 23, 2014

In This Issue:

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Court Overturns Pennsylvania Photo ID Law (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • All Roster Updates Due on January 31 (Reminder)
  • LWVUS Welcomes New Class of National Coaches (NEW)
  • Spotlight Your League at Convention:  Apply for a Convention Award (NEW)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Join Us for LWV State of the Union (SOTU) Bingo! (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • Election Assistance Commission Rejects KS, AZ Request to Change Nat'l Voter Registration Form (NEW)
  • BREAKING NEWS: Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (UPDATED)
  • League Urges U.S. House to Modernize and Repair the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
  • Presidential Commission on Election Administration Issues Solid Recommendations (NEW)
  • Support EPA's Limits on Carbon Pollution (Reminder)

OTHER

  • Agriculture Update (NEW)
  • Program planning? Here’s the Plan (NEW)
  • Program Planning Response Form Online (Reminder)

Convention 2014

Help Shape Convention: Submit Information by March 1 deadlines (NEW)

Convention is shaped by the delegates and their input in advance of the Convention on important issues such as program and governance. Leagues that wish to have a say in the program planning process or want to submit a change to the bylaws must do so by March 1. In addition, March 1 is the deadline for award applications and hardship requests.

 

Questions? Contact LWVUS staffer Kelly McFarland Stratman at kmcfarland@lwv.org

Glad You Asked!

This section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know. If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

Where do I find the ID number for my League that is sometimes needed on League forms? 

The League ID code is made up of your state abbreviation and three numbers (EX
AZ123.) It is NOT the 7-digit number id used to log into the roster or the password used to log into the roster. You can find your League ID on the Local League Look up pages on lwv.org. These codes are important as many Leagues have similar names.  It is used on program planning response forms, for example.

If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

Dear Friend,

One year ago, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he was creating a Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The Commission was charged with exploring the reasons for long lines at the polls. Following on the heels of the 2012 Presidential Election and the efforts in states across the country to manipulate voter turnout by requiring restrictive ID, limiting early voting, purging registration lists, impinging on independent voter registration drives and loading ballots with lengthy initiatives, the Commission seemed to the League to be a weak response to a major issue.

Yesterday, the Commission issued its report. Whatever skepticism the League articulated when the commission was formed, was all but swept away by the comprehensive nature of the report and its recommendations. The bipartisan Commission spent six months taking testimony from election officials, academics and organizations like the League. The League submitted a five-point reform agenda to the Commission and several state Leagues also weighed in with testimony for the PCEA. In the end, while the recommendations do not go so far as addressing the administrative barriers created by ever more restrictive voter photo ID especially in the implementation of online voter registration systems, the report takes a refreshing step back from the partisan political debate surrounding election administration to look at our diffuse system from the point of view of the voter.

Among the key recommendations: modernization of the registration process through expansion of online voter registration and expanded state collaboration in improving the accuracy of voter lists; measures to improve access to the polls through expansion of the period for voting before traditional Election Day and through selection of suitable, well equipped polling facilities; state-of-the art techniques to assure efficient management of polling places; and reforms of the standard-setting and certification process for new voting technology to address soon-to-be antiquated voting machines.

One important recommendation called for professionalizing election administration by insuring that the responsible department or agency in every state has on staff individuals chosen solely on the basis of experience and expertise. The report goes so far as to call for the creation of an academic track for election administrators similar to that for public administrators.

We know that the details of implementing these sorts of proposals will be very important and there is much work to be done at the state level to insure that our elections are free, fair and accessible to all, but the substance and tone of this report can do much to assist those efforts. We look forward to working with you in your states on implementation.  For now, it is great to get a boost on these important concepts in election reform. As we push to repair the Voting Rights Act and as we continue to advocate for state laws that protect every eligible voter, this report will be a very useful tool.

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.

Education Fund - Elections

Court Overturns Pennsylvania Photo ID Law (NEW)
Last week, a judge in Pennsylvania overturned the state's photo voter ID requirement stating it places an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote. This is a huge victory for voters. Congratulations to the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWVPA), the lead organizational plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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Membership & leadership

All Roster Updates Due on January 31 (Reminder)
Time is running out to update your League’s membership roster and to be automatically entered into the membership growth contest.  Input information about your renewing and new members, and if your League has the most net growth for Leagues of its size, you could win a free registration to LWVUS Convention in Dallas, TX.  To find out more, please click here. For assistance on working in the database, download the user manual or contact membership@lwv.org.  Remember that your “official membership count” (i.e., the numbers in the database on January 31) will be used to determine your League’s PMP payment for FY2014-15 and your delegate count for Convention 2014.  

LWVUS Welcomes New Class of National Coaches (NEW)
The national coaches (also known as Ruth S. Shur Fellows) are a part of the support network provided to participating state coaching teams through the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) Program. The Ruth S. Shur Fellows team is comprised of dynamic and dedicated volunteers from across the country who were selected from a pool of candidates to serve two-year terms to support state coaching teams in mentoring local Leagues in recruiting and engaging members and the community to make our democracy strong and vibrant. We welcome back to the program: Tracy Adkison (GA), Julie Arneth (WI), Lineah Davey (CO), Georgia DeGregorio (NY), Connie Ferguson (MI), Judy Golberg (WA), Diana Haskell (MD), Marcia Hirshberg (MA), Deborah Macmillan (NJ), and Gini McGirr (AZ).  And, we welcome three new national coaches:  Therese Hansen (WA), Amy Hjerstedt (MI), and Amanda Patanow (FL).  Watch this short video to learn more about the program. The MLD program is funded by the Fund for Local League Growth.

Spotlight Your League at Convention:  Apply for a Convention Award (NEW)
"Power: Our Voices, Our Votes" Awards will reflect the Leagues’ work to strengthen our democracy, including protecting the right to vote and advocating for change.  Leagues may apply for awards in four categories:  Effective Member Engagement, Strengthening Democracy, High Impact Online Engagement, and Community Connection.  To learn more or apply, visit the Award’s application page. All applications are due by March 1.

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Communication

Join Us for LWV State of the Union (SOTU) Bingo! (NEW)
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 28th, because we’re back this year with LWV State of the Union (SOTU) Bingo! Get your game boards ready and join us on 1/28 when we live-tweet the SOTU and track how the President’s speech aligns with the League’s legislative priorities. Follow along @LWV and use the hashtags #LWV and #SOTU to join in and play along. Good luck!

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Advocacy

Election Assistance Commission Rejects KS, AZ Request to Change Nat'l Voter Registration Form (NEW)
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) rejected requests from the states of Arizona and Kansas to modify the national mail-in voter registration form to require voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship with that form. LWVUS joined LWVKS and LWVAZ to submit comments to the EAC regarding this decision. Read our press release on this important victory.

BREAKING NEWS: Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (UPDATED)
Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced common sense legislation that would repair and restore the Voting Rights Act. This bipartisan effort to fix the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder is necessary to restore and protect the rights of voters across the country. Please urge your elected officials to support this important legislation and encourage them to act swiftly to move toward final passage.  Read the LWVUS press statement on the new bill and tailor this press template to use with media in your state and community.

League Urges U.S. House to Modernize and Repair the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
The League sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to act quickly on the bi-partisan Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 recently introduced by Representatives Sensenbrenner, Conyers, Scott, and Lewis. Members of the League’s Lobby Corps will also be visiting targeted offices on the hill to deliver this message in person.

Presidential Commission on Election Administration Issues Solid Recommendations (NEW)
The Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) released their report to President Obama outlining how to improve the administration of America’s elections. In a press release, the League said “there are many good recommendations in the PCEA report and others that we will need to look at more closely to examine the real impact on American voters.” We look forward to working with the Commission to implement the best of these recommendations and improve how elections are run across this nation.

Support EPA's Limits on Carbon Pollution (Reminder)
President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have proposed a first-ever federal carbon pollution standard for every new power plant built in America. This is a game changer for the climate – especially because power plants are our single largest source of carbon pollution. Submit a public comment to the EPA in support of the standard and your voice will be part of the official record.

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OTHER

Agriculture Update (NEW)
Leagues should know by now that the deadline for completing consensus reports has been extended to April 18.  An automated online form for this purpose will be posted to the Agriculture Update webpage soon. Please use the Agriculture Update group in the LWVUS Forums or contact Agriculture Update Chair Norman Turrill at LWVTurrill@mac.com if there are more questions.

Program planning?  Here’s the Plan (NEW)
Visit the League Clearinghouse--a great resource--which features League studies in more than 50 subject areas that provide scope and focus of a topic, research methodology, sources consulted, information about positions, and consensus questions.  Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without studies, even as multi-position documents, if they are accompanied by a single submission form. The description section could have "Resulting Position:" and the position statement or a link to the position. Complete studies are preferred, and Leagues may add study documents at a later date. Share your studies! Share our strength! Just a click away: http://clearinghouse.lwv.org

Program Planning Response Form Online (Reminder)
The Program Planning Response Form is now online!  Every two years state and local Leagues and ILO’s participate in the LWVUS Program Planning process by making recommendations concerning program issues. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Read the Program Planning Leaders Guide to assist you in your January/February 2014 Program Planning meeting. If you have questions on the program planning process please email progplan@lwv.org. Also, be sure to update the database to reflect who the program planning chair is for your League.

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