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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Dear Friend,

This will be the last update of the year and on behalf of the Board, the staff and myself, I wish everyone safe and happy holidays. As always this has been a busy year for the League. We came together at Convention in Dallas to learn, plan and celebrate; we came together throughout the year to protect the vote and to speak out on the issues we care about; and we came together in our communities to ensure that every eligible voter was informed and had free and fair access to the polls in the midterm elections.

Over the course of this year, our grassroots activists generated tens of thousands of comments in support of rulemaking efforts by the EPA and the FEC that promise to protect the air we breathe and make the financing of political campaigns more transparent. We pushed hard through our coalitions and succeeded in getting a working Election Assistance Commission. Working side-by-side with state Leagues we pursued legislative and legal remedies protecting the vote in the wake of the Shelby County decision. Despite a confusing flurry of decisions prior to Election Day regarding various injunctions, these challenges are very much alive.

In protecting the vote and our elections, the LWVUS provided over $100,000 in field support to state and local Leagues. As we moved into election season, once again, the League registered tens of thousands of voters and was the largest single on-the-ground participant in National Voter Registration Day. Leagues distributed more than a million educational materials to help make sure voters had the information they needed. Visits to VOTE411.org increased by over 50% over the 2010 midterms. More Leagues used VOTE411.org to provide candidate information covering over 14,000 races and over 20,000 candidates. And more than 600 debates were sponsored around the country and those are just the debates that were promoted through VOTE411.org.

Looking forward to 2015, we know that there are challenges ahead at both the national and state levels, but the League of Women Voters is ready to take on whatever is necessary in Making Democracy Work®

In League,

signature

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.

IN THIS ISSUE:

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • FINAL CHANCE: Free Materials if you Complete Our Election Season Activities Survey (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Money in Politics Review and Constitutional Amendment Study Webpages Posted (REMINDER)

ADVOCACY

  • League Encouraged President to Veto Omnibus Appropriations Bill (NEW)
  • Tell the FEC What to do About Citizens United (REMINDER)
  • LWVUS Legislative Priorities (REMINDER)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • This Holiday Season: We are Thankful for You! (NEW)
  • Congratulations to our 2015-17 Class of Ruth S. Shur Fellows! (NEW)
  • Success Story: Shale and Public Health Conference in Pittsburgh Draws Crowds (NEW)
  • LWVUS National Council will be June 18-21, 2015 (NEW)
  • Convention Committee Posts Final Report (NEW)

OTHER

  • Sign Up for Program Planning and Support Webinar! (NEW)
  • Opportunity to Attend Commission on the Status of Women Session at United Nations in March 2015 (REMINDER)

CLEARINGHOUSE

  • Election results! (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

FINAL CHANCE: Free Materials if you Complete Our Election Season Activities Survey (REMINDER)
Please take a few minutes to fill out our Election 2014 Voter Services Activities Survey and tell us what your League did to engage voters this year. Your answers will help inform our future trainings, materials and resources for Leagues and grant programs, enable us to better highlight Leagues’ work from across the nation, and allow us have more productive conversations with potential partners to benefit all levels of the League. Your feedback is important to us! Any League completing the survey before December 19 will be offered *FREE* VOTE411.org sports bags as part of our thanks for filling it out.

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Money in Politics Review and Constitutional Amendment Study Webpages Posted (REMINDER)
As we move forward with the Key Structures of Democracy program, the Constitutional Amendment Study webpage and the Money in Politics webpage can now be found on the LWVUS’s Member Resources website. These two webpages include information on the scope of the study and review as well as a list of the committee members. As study materials become available they will be posted on the pages as well.​

ADVOCACY

League Encouraged President to Veto Omnibus Appropriations Bill (NEW)
On December 12, the League and other coalition partners sent a letter to President Obama urging him to veto the FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The bill includes the most corrupting campaign finance provisions ever created. The President signed the FY2015 bill on December 17, 2014.

Tell the FEC What to Do About Citizens United (REMINDER)
The Federal Election Commission (FEC), the federal agency in charge of our nation’s campaign finance laws, is now receiving public comment about steps they should take “to address corruption in the political process.” The FEC can do something to stop the secret money polluting our elections and end coordinated expenditures by outside groups. Take action now to tell the FEC to act and enforce the law.

LWVUS Legislative Priorities (REMINDER)
It's a new year and a new Congress. The LWVUS Board will be setting legislative priorities for the upcoming session in January. We ask members and local Leagues to submit their suggestions. Here is some background for you to consider as you decide what you would like to recommend.

The Board sets priorities using this filter: opportunities for the League to make an impact; program decisions made at Convention and/or Council; member interest; and resources available to manage effectively. We also look realistically at the political climate and composition of Congress. And doing that, we have to acknowledge that the incoming Congressional leadership has issued statements that are not supportive of League program. Realistically, we will have to expend resources on defending voting rights and threats to existing campaign finance law, good climate change work and the Affordable Health Care Act. So as you consider what to recommend as legislative priorities, ask yourself how important you think it is for the League to fight for our core issues.

If you would like to make suggestions for LWVUS advocacy priorities, please email Advocacy Committee Chair Chris Carson at carsonlwv@yahoo.com. Please indicate whether the suggestions are from an individual member, a committee, board or membership meeting. Suggestions must be received by January 12.

GLAD YOU ASKED!

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

Can I work on my League’s member roster over the holidays?

Yes, we encourage you to update your League’s roster early so you don’t have to worry about the stress of the January 31st deadline. The Roster Challenges are still in effect and your League is still eligible to win prizes. Have questions about updating the database over the holidays? You can download the User Guide for step-by-step instructions on how to update member and League information. The hallways of LWVUS will be quiet over the holidays with many staff spending time with family, but feel free to email questions to Membership@lwv.org or Database@lwv.org. We will respond as soon as possible.

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

This Holiday Season: We are Thankful for You! (NEW)
As we approach the year’s end and reflect back on the wonderful influence and impact that League has had on communities across the country, we are THANKFUL for all of you – for the time, talents and passion that you give so generously to the League. Stories like those captured in our new “We are the League” video (available in two versions) are a wonderful testimony to all of the “gifts” that you give to League and all of the “gifts” that being part of this wonderful organization provide. Happy Holidays!

Congratulations to our 2015-17 Class of Ruth S. Shur Fellows! (NEW)
We are pleased to announce that the 2015-17 class of Ruth S. Shur Fellows has officially been selected. These 16 dedicated League leaders have been selected through a detailed application process and from a large pool of applicants to be at the forefront of the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program, funded by the Fund for Local League Growth. The new class of coaches will be joined by our current coaches to form our full team of Fellows who will all participate in a training outside of Baltimore in early March. Learn more about our current Fellows here and be sure to check back in the coming weeks for an introduction to the newest members of the team!

Success Story: Shale and Public Health Conference in Pittsburgh Draws Crowds (NEW)
The Shale and Public Health Committee of the LWV of Pennsylvania’s Straight Scoop on Shale project (funded by a grant from the Colcom Foundation) held its "Days of Discovery" conference on October 26 & 27. This very successful and highly visible event drew over 100 attendees with wide ranging opinions and backgrounds together for informative presentations on the variety of ways in which shale gas development effects communities in Pennsylvania. You can read Heather Harr’s article on the event here or learn more at http://shale.palwv.org.

OTHER

Sign Up for Program Planning and Support Webinar! (NEW)
The LWVUS Program Planning and Support (PP&S) Committee will put on a webinar January 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PP&S Committee Chair Barbara Zia, and Advocacy Chair Chris Carson will outline the basics of the League's program process. The webinar is designed to help Leagues understand League program from A to Z, including how to use national positions to take action locally. You can register for the webinar here. For further information or questions, contact Betsy Lawson at blawson@lwv.org.

Opportunity to Attend Commission on the Status of Women Session at United Nations in March 2015 (REMINDER)

The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015. Members of the League of Women Voters are invited to attend any or all of the session. We are limited to 20 attendees and registration will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. To register please contact suzanne.maltz6@gmail.com. This year's theme is Beijing +20. The LWVUS will be sponsoring a special panel discussion during the CSW: Women Parliamentarians: Achieving Economic & Social Improvements. Along with our partners (BPW and PPSEAWA), we are working with the governments of Chile, Germany, Philippines and Turkey to host and co-sponsor the event. Additionally, the League will host a reception for our delegation during the first week of the CSW59.

CLEARINGHOUSE

Election Results! (REMINDER)
All Leagues are winners when they use the League Clearinghouse with 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  

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