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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

June 25, 2015

Dear Friend,

Council 2015 was a resounding success. League leaders came together to learn, to share and to plan for the next two years and beyond. Organized around a theme of celebrating our past and embracing the future, Council presentations focused on the opportunities created in a world that has fundamentally changed. Over the past decades, new generations of Americans have grown distrustful of the ability of institutions, public and private, to solve community problems. At the same time, they still want to belong to a community in which they feel their voice is heard and matters. The revolution in communication technology has changed more than just the speed with which we communicate or can access information. It has changed the way individuals engage with one another in the ‘public square’.

For the League of Women Voters this change creates a crisis in our democracy while at the same time offering a tremendous opportunity to become that community through which a new generation comes together to make its voice heard. All we need is a change in our own mental attitude and a plan to adapt to new forms of civic engagement. At the LWVUS we have been working to engage more people using the new communications tools like social media and e-activism. The good news is that our message, especially around those core democracy issues that have, over the past decade, become the battle-ground for control of American government, is resonating. We are demonstrating that there is much more support for the League’s work on voter protection and election reform than is reflected in our traditional membership numbers. The number of people engaging with LWVUS online has increased dramatically. More people are signing up to receive our email, to take action by sending our message to decision makers, and promoting our message through their own social media networks.

This is good news for more than the LWVUS. As League leaders heard, seizing the opportunity that the crisis in our democracy presents for an organization with 95 years of experience in Making Democracy Work® for all Americans, by increasing our outreach and improving our own League network truly offers a winning plan for a 21st Century League. The League was founded to educate and activate 23 million new women voters so that they could exercise their vote in an informed, independent and rational manner. To this day, increasing participation by informing voters and reforming the system is the mission of the League. If we keep that mission always before us, what we are learning is that the people we need will come, the work we do will get done, and, more importantly, democracy will work for everyone.

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

  • Discussion Forums Closing June 30th (NEW)
  • Webinar Opportunity July 1: Messaging for Impact (UPDATED)
  • Sign up Your League's Roster Manager(REMINDER)
  • League Visibility Tools Available (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • North Carolina Alters Voter Photo ID Law - LWVNC Analyzing Impact (NEW)
  • New Resource - Online Organizing Toolkit (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Sample Voter Article Available on Timeline and Resources (NEW)
  • Constitutional Amendment Study - Questions Available July 2 (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • Supreme Court Upholds Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (NEW)
  • Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 Introduced in U.S. Congress (NEW)
  • Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (NEW)
  • League Urges Senators to Oppose S. 1324 (NEW)
  • White House Holds Summit on Public Health and Climate Change (NEW)
  • Tell Your Representative to Redefine Coordination (REMINDER)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Visibility Opportunity: Letter to the Editor Template (NEW)
  • Communications Resources from Council 2015 (NEW)
  • Is Your League Website a Fresh Feast or an Old Fish? (REMINDER)

OTHER

  • Importance of Local Studies to the League Clearinghouse (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

Discussion Forums Closing June 30th (NEW)
We heard you! While a few of you shared comments and some resources through the Online Discussion Forums, most leaders or members were not engaged or experienced challenges. Because of this, LWVUS is closing these forums as of June 30th. We are exploring other options for discussion spaces such as Google Groups - which people may be more familiar with and should be easy to get onto and engage other Leaguers. Please watch the League Update in the coming weeks for more details.

Webinar Opportunity July 1: Messaging for Impact (UPDATED)
Join branding expert Michelle Molloy and LWVUS staff on Wednesday, July 1 at 3 pm ET for this session about how to generate visibility and communicate strategically for impact. During this session, you will learn how to talk about our amazing 95-year history while building the organization for the future. The session will also introduce our new 95th anniversary messaging toolkit, available in the League Management site. To register for this webinar, click here

Sign up Your League's Roster Manager (REMINDER)
Staff at LWVUS are doing the final testing on the new member database before we begin to open it up to Leagues. There are still many Leagues who have not designated a Roster Manager; all Leagues must have someone designated as a Roster Manager. Leagues will be invited to view a training webinar on the new system between July and September before gaining access to the database. Leagues without a Roster Manager will not get an email invitation.  Please forward this email to any League or member you think needs this notification. To sign up as a Roster Manager, click here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2091040/RosterManager

League Visibility Tools Available (REMINDER)
While the League's online store has closed, we know that Leagues still need visibility tools, such as membership brochures and LWV pins. These are now available free of charge in limited quantities to Leagues. If your League is in need of these tools, please complete this survey. Note that orders will be filled on the 1st and 15th of each month. Membership brochures and insert templates also are available for download any time.

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

North Carolina Alters Voter Photo ID Law - LWVNC Analyzing Impact (NEW)
The Governor of North Carolina is expected to sign into law a bill that alters the state's restrictive voter photo ID requirement. The changes provide alternatives for voters without photo IDs to be able to cast a ballot. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina is involved in a lawsuit challenging the original voter photo ID law and they are closely monitoring these changes before taking any further action. Stay Tuned!

New Resource - Online Organizing Toolkit (NEW)
LWVUS is pleased to release a new toolkit designed to help Leagues leverage their online presence for effective advocacy. A key component of online engagement is giving individuals that connect with an organization online the opportunity to make the biggest impact they can, and helping to cultivate a deeper relationship if they are interested in doing more. Download our easy-to-use toolkit and bring your online engagement work to the next level! 

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Constitutional Amendment Study - Questions Available July 2 (NEW)
Consensus questions and brief pros and cons for the Constitutional Amendment Study were approved by the Board at the meeting after Council and will be ready for distribution to local and state Leagues by the time of next week's Update. You may wish to schedule a study and consensus meeting for your League for the fall. Check here for background information on the key issues.

ADVOCACY

Supreme Court Upholds Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (NEW)
In the closely-watched case of King v. Burwell, today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tax credits can be provided to individuals who purchase health insurance on a federally-operated exchange. “Today’s decision is significant for all Americans because the very existence of the system of health exchanges was at stake,” said President MacNamara. Read our full press statement on this pivotal decision.

Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 Introduced in U.S. Congress (NEW)
Today, on the eve of the second anniversary of the Shelby County v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court decision that gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), bicameral legislation was introduced to renew a nearly two-year effort to restore the historic law and its vital voter protections. The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 was introduced this morning by Senators Leahy, Durbin and Coons and Representatives Lewis, Sewell, Sanchez, and Chu. On this new bill, LWVUS President MacNamara stated: “We are very pleased that new legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress [ ... ] but there is so much more work to be done with the 2016 elections are quickly approaching.” Read our full statement on this new bicameral legislation.

Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (NEW)
Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key part of the VRA leading to a full frontal attack on the voting rights of American citizens. Despite public outcry since the Supreme Court’s decision, Congress has ignored widespread voter discrimination and the will of the American people. Every day that Congress fails to repair the VRA, Americans are in danger of increased barriers at the polls. Raise your voice and tell your Representative that now is the time to restore the VRA!

League Urges Senators to Oppose S. 1324 (NEW)
The League joined other environmental partners on a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing S. 1324. The legislation introduced by Senator Capito (R-WV) would dismantle the Clean Air Act and block the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

White House Holds Summit on Public Health and Climate Change (NEW)
On June 23, The White House held its first ever summit on Climate Change and Public Health. This event brought together senior White House officials, health professionals, academics, and other important stakeholders. The goal of the Summit was to empower communities with the information and tools they need to protect public health in the face of climate change. Read our blog for more details on the event!

Tell Your Representative to Redefine Coordination (REMINDER)
It’s time to close the loopholes in our campaign contribution system and strengthen the rules prohibiting coordination between candidates and outside spending groups. Tell your Representative to cosponsor and support HR 425, the “Stop Super PAC -- Candidate Coordination Act” introduced by Representatives David Price and Chris Van Hollen.

COMMUNICATIONS

Visibility Opportunity:Letter to the Editor Template (NEW)
Use this letter to the editor template to call attention to voter registration this July 4th. Promote this piece that is so core to our mission while getting some good visibility for your League!

Communications Resources from Council 2015 (NEW)
It was great seeing so many of you at Council last week! You can now access our Messaging for Impact powerpoint slideshow on the League Management Website. You can also find many other useful resources under the Visibility and the Online Communications sections we referred to throughout the weekend, including the template press statement for Council attendees. Don't forget to check out our members-only New Media Facebook group, too.

Is Your League Website a Fresh Feast or an Old Fish? (REMINDER)
Imagine that a new friend invites you over for a lunch, but serves you leftovers from last month. No one would think that is acceptable! Why is it ok for your website to stink like an old fish? When you see a League calendar full of exciting upcoming events, you feel like you’re invited to a feast. Don't let out of date content cause your League to look incompetent and uninviting online. We're adding features to the new League Easy Web (LEW) system to help our users be sure to keep their website up-to-date. All Leagues are invited to try the LEW system for free: just contact us

OTHER

Importance of Local Studies to the League Clearinghouse (NEW)
The League Clearinghouse definitely wants your local studies--they help other Leagues learn how your League handled the scope and focus of a topic, the research methodology, experts consulted, clues about positions and consensus questions, etc. All studies provide valuable information and benefit other Leagues. Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without their supporting 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!

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