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The League Update

May 1, 2014

Dear Friend,

What a difference nearly a decade makes. When laws requiring strict, government issued voter photo ID were first introduced in Georgia and Indiana in 2005, the League joined other groups in challenging those laws in court. In neither state had the laws actually been implemented so the challenges necessarily contended that the laws were unconstitutional on their face. The challenges also raised issues under the Voting Rights Act (VRA). In Georgia, the court challenge stalled after the legislature eliminated the “poll tax” by making the ID free and after a political appointee in the White House pre-cleared the law under the VRA. The Georgia plaintiffs took the case no further. In Indiana, the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court resulting in a ruling that has haunted the effort to stop voter photo ID ever since.

But challenging a law, on its face is always a very difficult thing to do. Such efforts rarely succeed. As we have seen over the years since the laws have been applied in the states, these laws discriminate. The judges who ruled the Indiana law constitutional years ago are publicly changing their minds. This week, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that that state’s voter ID was unconstitutional in denying voters equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment and that the law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

While the case will doubtless be appealed, this was a significant victory not just for voters in Wisconsin but for voters in every state that has enacted these restrictive laws. Still pending in Wisconsin is the case the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is appealing to the state supreme court under the state constitution. But if the recent positive outcomes on voter photo ID laws in Arkansas and Pennsylvania are any indication, our hopes should be high and that after all these years, with all the experience states have had with these laws, that we will prevail in keeping our elections free, fair and accessible to every eligible voter.

Rounding out a good week, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 6-2 vote, upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rule aimed at cutting interstate air pollution, which has been argued and litigated since the 1990s. Not only will this cut unhealthy pollution, it helps set the stage for controls on the carbon pollution that is causing climate change.

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League Leaders:
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In This Issue:

CONVENTION 2014

  • Webinar Opportunity SOON:  Learn more about National Convention (Reminder)
  • How to Contact the Resolutions Committee (Reminder)
  • Book Your Hotel Now (Reminder)
  • How to Determine Your Local League’s Delegate Count (Reminder)

EDUCATIN FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Vote411 Sport Backpacks for Sale! (NEW)
  • Three Big Wins for Voters’ Rights (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Young People's Board Advisors Selected! (NEW)
  • Power: Our Voices, Our Votes AwardFinalists Announced (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • A Supreme Court Victory for Public Health (NEW)
  • 8 Days Left to Send a Comment to the EPA! (NEW)
  • Template Letter to the Editor Available Regarding McCutcheon v. FEC (REMINDER)

Convention 2014

Webinar Opportunity SOON:  Learn more about National Convention (Reminder)
Register for our Convention webinar on Wednesday, May 14 at 3:00 pm EDT.  Entitled Get the most out of Convention: Power the League at all Levels, this session will help you learn more about the business of the convention, opportunities for networking and fun, and speakers and programs planned.

How to Contact the Resolutions Committee (Reminder)
A process about how to advance a resolution at National Convention will be presented to delegates at Convention 2014 as part of the Convention Rules.  The Resolutions Committee referenced in the proposed rule has been appointed. They include: Jennifer Waggoner (CA) – Chair, Nancy Brown (OH), Darlene Hicks (TX), Toni Larson (LWVUS), and Janis McMillen (LWVUS).  Please note the upcoming deadline in the proposed rules for any League that wishes to advance an item through this process.  Any questions about the process or specific proposals can be directed to the Committee at resolutions@lwv.org.

Book Your Hotel Now (Reminder)
The Omni Downtown Dallas - our 2014 Convention hotel - is one of the best places to stay in that city. The Omni is holding a block of rooms for League members, and we think you'll find it's an ideal place for all the June 6 - 10 Convention events, and at a reasonable rate. If you're attending Convention and haven't already booked your room, please don't delay. Make your reservations online today.  Or call Reservations at 214-744-6664. Be sure to identify yourself as a League member for the special $169 rate. Several League members are on the lookout for roommates. Please go to the Convention Forum to post or read notices and see if you can help someone out. Learn more about the Dallas Omni's LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council on-line.

How to Determine Your Local League’s Delegate Count (Reminder)
Your local League’s delegate count is determined by the number of members that your League has as of the official membership count in January of the convention year. Per Article IX, Section 2 of the LWVUS Bylaws, “…each local League shall be entitled to at least one delegate; when local League membership reaches 50 voting members, the local League shall be entitled to one additional delegate; thereafter one additional delegate shall be authorized for each additional 50 voting members.”  For example, a local League with 49 members may send one delegate, a local League with 99 members can send 2 delegates, and local League with 149 members can send 3 delegates.  Of course, Leagues may send observers or non-voting delegates as well.  The formulas for state Leagues and for ILOs also are available in Article IX of the LWVUS Bylaws.

Don't forget, visit our Convention 2014 page to see what is planned and visit the Convention Forum at forum.lwv.org for the latest discussion!

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Glad You Asked!

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

Are local League Boards supposed to give direction to their delegates as to how to vote on matters coming before the delegates at Convention or Council, or are delegates free to make their own decisions without asking for input from their Board?

Delegates should be “informed but not instructed” by their local League boards.  They are encouraged to discuss the issues that are scheduled to come before the Convention body so that they can best represent “local interests” while also seeking the common good as they listen to the pros and cons shared during debate.

Education Fund - Elections

VOTE411 Sport Backpacks for Sale! (NEW)
Looking for an easy way to promote the League and VOTE411 in your community? Well look no further! LWVEF is selling VOTE411 sport backpacks! These backpacks are great to hand out at voter registration events, candidate forums, debates, county fairs, and any place you can reach voters and spread awareness about the League and our important voters’ service activities! The bags are $3 each, but if you buy 10 or more the price drops to $2 each, plus $5 shipping/handling! If you’re interested in purchasing these bags, you can find more information online.

Three Big Wins for Voters’ Rights (NEW)
Within the last week we have seen three major victories for voters:

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Membership & leadership

Young People’s Board Advisors Selected! (NEW)
It is our pleasure to announce that Amy Baker of Minnesota and Melissa Hunsberger of Florida have been selected to serve as the Young People’s Board Advisors for 2014-2016. Welcome, Amy and Melissa! Be sure to introduce yourself to them at LWVUS Convention in Dallas, where they will be working with the current Young People’s Task Force (YPTF) members on a plan of action for the recruitment of young people for the new biennium. Amy and Melissa were chosen from an incredibly talented group of applicants, all of whom are tremendous assets to the League. Thanks to all who applied and to LWVUS Board members Peggy Appler, Mary Klenz,  and Anne Schink and to YPTF co-chairs Melissa Currence and Amy Hjerstedt, who served on the selection committee. 

Power: Our Voices, Our Votes Award Finalists Announced (NEW)
At Convention 2014, we will recognize outstanding League programs through the Power: Our Voices, Our Votes Awards. We received many excellent award applications – thank you!  
Applications were reviewed by a team of LWVUS Board members, and the finalists are:

Effective Member Engagement and Recruitment—LWV of Pasadena (CA), LWV of Miami-Dade County (FL), LWV of the Cincinnati Area (OH), LWV of the Oberlin Area (OH)

Strengthening Democracy—LWV of Arizona (AZ), LWV of Kansas (KS), LWV of Kalamazoo (MI), Nassau County ILO (NY),

High Impact Visibility—LWV of Indiana (IN), LWV of New Jersey (NJ), LWV of Greater Dayton Area (OH), LWV of Washington (WA)

Community Connection—LWV of Alaska (AK), LWV of Collier County (FL), LWV of New Hampshire (NH), LWV of Spokane Area (WA)

Soon, these top contenders will be featured on our website, Twitter and Facebook page so that League members can vote/like/re-tweet these great projects.  The winners will be announced at LWVUS Convention 2014.

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Advocacy

A Supreme Court Victory for Public Health (NEW)
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Cross-State Air Pollution rule, which will protect up to 240 million Americans who live downwind from dangerous air pollution from coal-dependent states. The ruling reaffirms the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to address this dangerous pollution, and paves the way for carbon pollution standards this summer that will protect our communities and address the pollution fueling climate change

8 Days Left to Send a Comment to the EPA! (NEW)
Over 31,000 League members and supporters have sent a comment to the EPA regarding the regulation of carbon pollution from new power plants. The deadline for submitting comments is Friday, May 9th. Don’t delay; add your voice in favor of this historic regulation!

Template Letter to the Editor Available Regarding McCutcheon v. FEC (REMINDER)
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The court ruled that aggregate campaign contribution limits are invalid and opened a loophole allowing political parties to be further corrupted by big-money contributions from special interests. Use this template Letter to the Editor to educate your community about the damaging impact this case will have on our political process.

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OTHER

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