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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

MARCH 12, 2015

Dear Friend,

We’ve been talking a lot at LWVUS about celebrating our past and embracing our future as we look back on 95 years of Making Democracy Work® and look forward to the 100th anniversary of woman suffrage and the League of Women Voters. Some remarkable facts are informing the celebration of our past just as some data is beginning to shape our embrace of the future.

The League is not only a direct outgrowth of the woman suffrage movement it is also the product of early 20th Century progressive thinking. The progressive movement trusted facts and managerial expertise as a means to reform corrupt government institutions. Our founder, Carrie Chapman Catt, was first, last and always a progressive, but her views on the reform of democracy were shaped by her life-long struggle to get the vote for women. According to Robert Fowler in his book Carrie Catt: Feminist Politician, Mrs. Catt believed three things were necessary for a genuine democracy, “The first involved legal change: women’s enfranchisement. The second involved creation of a good citizen through education. The third involved finding an institutional mechanism through which ideal citizens, women especially, could transform American political life.” The League of Women Voters is that institutional mechanism. In the League, Mrs. Catt “was proposing her ideal for America, her deepest dreams, her utopia.”

This dream was echoed by Maud Wood Park in her farewell address as the League’s first national president in 1924: “[The League of Women Voters] is an organization of women to help women make the best of themselves as voters, both by intelligent participation in the responsibilities of voting citizens and by special attention to the human welfare side of government in which women are particularly fit to be useful… The League has had the advantage of an extraordinary opportunity, the opportunity afforded by the enfranchisement at one time of approximately 20 million women…the possible advantage of an enormous number of new voters, untrammeled by carelessly made political affiliations, with no bad political tendencies to undo and therefore free to form good political habits from the start.”

While this utopian vision of an ideal citizen, rational, informed and independent working for the greater good, is still utopian, the lesson of the past 95 years is that working collectively, the League is Making Democracy Work® in the manner Mrs. Catt envisioned. The lesson of the past several years is that more and more people are coming to the League in ways that Mrs. Catt could never have imagined: through social media, direct marketing and through online opportunities to receive and share information and calls for action.

In League,

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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.

IN THIS ISSUE:

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Strengthening Engagement through Shur Fellow Training (NEW)
  • Free Observer Corps Resource Available (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • New Training Webinars: Voter Registration Best Practices and High School Voter Registration (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League Urges Congress to Continue Funding CHIP (NEW)
  • Action Alert: Urge the President to Fully Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (UPDATED)
  • Webinar Announcement: Putting Together a Local Action Plan (REMINDER)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • 10 Throwback Pictures of Empowering Voters – Then & Now! (NEW)
  • Sunshine Week Template Letter to the Editor (REMINDER)
  • NEW GUIDE: How to Create a Facebook Page for Your League (REMINDER)

OTHER

  • LWV Online Store Closing April 30 – Inventory Available at Little to No Cost (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Strengthening Engagement through Shur Fellow Training (NEW)
The Ruth S. Shur Fellow team braved the inclement weather in Linthicum Heights, Maryland last weekend to join with LWVUS Board and staff members for the 6th annual Ruth S. Shur Leadership Institute. The Institute, part of the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program, was founded to provide coaching technique training for state and local Leagues, a vital resource for their efforts to engage with communities and attract new volunteers. To learn more, read our blog on the two-day training.

Free Observer Corps Resource Available (NEW)
Sunshine Week (March 15-21) is the perfect time to commit to or revisit your League’s efforts to protect open and transparent government. A great resource Observing Your Government in Action is now available in hard copy for FREE (shipping and handling charges apply). Visit the League store for more information and other sale items.

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

New Training Webinars: Voter Registration Best Practices and High School Voter Registration (NEW)
Listen to or download slideshows from our two recent training webinars: general voter registration best practices and high school voter registration! Updated for 2015, these two trainings include plenty of ideas for gaining visibility and getting the ball rolling on your important voter service work this year. We’ll also tell you about the latest and greatest voter registration planning resources -- including raising funds for voter service work!

ADVOCACY

League Urges Congress to Continue Funding CHIP (NEW)
The League joined with 1,500 leading national, state, tribal, and local organizations in a letter urging Congress to provide continued funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The League has long supported CHIP and believes that continued funding is necessary for the program to continue to provide health coverage for millions of children.

Action Alert: Urge the President to Fully Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (UPDATED)
President Obama fulfilled his promise to veto legislation approving the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline! The League is proud to stand behind the President’s veto because the pipeline is not in our national interest. But the fight is not over – President Obama and the U.S. State Department must still make a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Thank President Obama for vetoing the pipeline legislation and urge him to reject final approval of the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all!

Webinar Announcement: Putting Together a Local Action Plan (REMINDER)
The LWVUS Program Planning and Support (PP&S) Committee will put on a webinar March 25 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. Advocacy Chair Chris Carson and state Leaders will outline the basics of creating a local action plan. The webinar is designed to help Leagues learn and review the basics for creating an advocacy campaign. The webinar is designed to follow the successful League Program 101 webinar from January by giving League members the tools and know how to use positions in their local communities. You can register for the webinar here. For further information or questions, contact Betsy Lawson at blawson@lwv.org.

COMMUNICATIONS

10 Throwback Pictures of Empowering Voters – Then & Now! (NEW)
Our latest #LWVat95 piece takes a fun, interactive look at our work around voting and elections over the past century. Hover your mouse around in order for the images to change from past to present!

Sunshine Week Template Letter to the Editor (REMINDER)
Please use our letter to the editor template [http://forum.lwv.org/member-resources/article/sunshine-week-letter-editor] to mark Sunshine Week [http://www.sunshineweek.org/], which falls from March 15-21. Make sure to customize your LTE to talk about the work you League is doing to protect open and transparent government.

NEW GUIDE: How to Create a Facebook Page for Your League (REMINDER)
Does your League not yet have a Facebook Page? Maybe you have one but are unsure of how some technical aspects work? We have just the resource for you! Our new document will walk you through the process of setting up an organizational page for your League, including explanations, tips and best practices.

OTHER

LWV Online Store Closing April 30 – Inventory Available at Little to No Cost (NEW)
LWVUS will be closing its online store at the end of April due to low demand for products and publications, and the high cost of maintaining this business. At the same time, we are exploring alternative avenues that will allow LWVUS to offer core organizational publications through more efficient and cost effective means. Stay tuned for future details. Between now and store’s closing, we are offering Leagues and members one last opportunity to get branded LWV items and publications at rock bottom prices. Some items are even FREE (shipping and handling charges apply)! Check out what is still available in the online store and act fast. Items available right now include LWV publications “Observing Your Government in Action,” “Membership Brochure,” “Vote” brochure (Spanish & English), and “5 Things you need to know on Election Day" cards (Spanish only).  In addition, branded items such as pad folios, note cards, tote bags, pens, tumblers, tattoos, pins and magnets are also available. The last day to place orders is April 15th (easy to remember since it’s Tax Day)! Inquiries should be directed to publications@lwv.org.

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