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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

July 23, 2015

Dear Friend,

Earlier this week, we celebrated the 167th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. The gathering of 300 women and men on July 19-20 1848 produced the Declaration of Sentiments, one of the nation's most important historical documents advocating for women's rights, including the first official call for the right to vote for women. With the passage of the Declaration of Sentiments and its support for the right to vote for women among them, the Convention laid the initial framework for the women's suffrage movement. The men and women of the Seneca Falls Convention understood that access to the vote is not about politics, but about justice and equality. The document made a powerful call for equal voting rights, declaring voting both a “duty” and a “sacred right.”

Today, the League honors the women and men who gathered at the Seneca Falls Convention and their tireless work to end barriers denying American women equality and the right to vote. Ninety-five years after our founding, League members continue their work by Making Democracy Work® and continuing to fight to protect the right to vote and make sure access to our elections are free and fair. We are advocating for restoration of the Voting Rights Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court partially gutted just over two years ago and helping to lead the challenge of North Carolina’s election law, the most restrictive anti-voter law in the country, in federal court. The North Carolina League is actively participating in the federal trial and we look forward to hearing more about the arguments over the next several weeks. The decision in this case could have a major impact on voting rights across the country. The League stands ready to fight for equal access to the ballot for the next 95 years and beyond.

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

  • LWVUS Online Database Build - Progress Report (NEW)
  • Board Orientation/Retreat Tip (NEW)
  • Lead the Way and Embrace the Future (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • VOTE411 Webinar Recording (NEW)
  • National Voter Registration Day: Free Materials Guaranteed if you sign up by 7/31 (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Money in Politics Review Paper on Independent Expenditures is Online (NEW)
  • Webinar Announcement: Overview of MIP and Constitutional Amendment Studies (UPDATED)
  • Money in Politics Review PowerPoint is Now Online (REMINDER)
  • Constitutional Amendment Study: Consensus Questions and New Deadline! (REMINDER)

ADVOCACY

  • League Calls on Senate to Support Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act (NEW)
  • League Joins Comments to Census Bureau (NEW)
  • Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (REMINDER)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Draft Social Media and Images for 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
  • Websites: Why Consider a New Website in 2016? (NEW)

OTHER

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

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

LWVUS Online Database Build - Progress Report (NEW)
The Leagues selected to preview the new database have provided LWVUS with beneficial feedback. In reviewing the feedback, we are making minor adjustments to the training materials and fine tuning the online database to best fit local and state Leagues’ needs. Soon LWVUS will be sending out training materials to begin the roll out process. Thank you for your patience and participation in this exciting transition for the League of Women Voters!

Board Orientation/Retreat Tip (NEW)
Take the time to get to know one another! You will all be working together, probably a lot! Having good relationships is key to having a fun and productive board. Icebreaker activities are a great way of getting to know other people. If you have more time, try the Leadership Compass activity. It is a great way to break the ice and learn more about your fellow Board members’ leadership styles. For a full list of tips, which was generated by the national coaches (Shur Fellows) of the MLD program, please click here.

Lead the Way and Embrace the Future (REMINDER)
The LWVUS Nominating Committee is in search of leaders who will EMBRACE THE FUTURE: LEAD THE WAY. One of our current National Board members, addressing the need for bold and courageous leaders, stated: “Our country is in a time of political polarization, national discord and mistrust of officials. Yet here are many that want to change the political dynamics. Because of the League’s history we have the experience to lead and impact that change. Our challenge is and will continue to be to lead our organization through its needed change, so LWV can continue to impact American politics.” For either the LWVUS Board or the LWVUS Nominating Committee. Click here to find out more about these opportunities.

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

VOTE411 Webinar Recording (NEW)
Unable to attend the VOTE411 webinars held recently? Still interested in learning more about the VOTE411 program and how you can participate? LWVEF recorded the July 15th webinar and you can view the recording at any time through this link! If you have any questions about the webinar, or about VOTE411 in general, please contact Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org).

National Voter Registration Day: Free Materials Guaranteed if you sign up by 7/31 (REMINDER)
With presidential primaries just around the corner, now is the time to sign up to host a voter registration drive in your community on September 22nd, National Voter Registration Day! Leagues who sign up as partners before July 31st are guaranteed to receive free posters and stickers if you want them. Join hundreds of Leagues and other groups in celebrating democracy nationwide this year. Additional training opportunities and toolkits will be made available once you sign up. Contact Maggie (Duncan) Bush (mbush@lwv.org) with questions.

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Money in Politics Review Paper on Independent Expenditures is Online (NEW)
The MIP paper on Independent Expenditures is now posted on the Money in Politics page. MIP: Independent Expenditures describes the history of independent expenditures and the evolution of regulations addressing them. It also examines recent trends in this type of spending and why it matters. A second link is also posted to the e-book entitled The New Soft Money by Daniel P. Tokaji & Renata E. B. Strause. This book documents the effect of the new soft money on federal elections by interviewing those directly involved with the system. A PowerPoint of Professor Tokaji’s presentation to Council 2015 can be found on the Convention and Council page.

Webinar Announcement: Overview of MIP and Constitutional Amendment Studies (UPDATED)
On Wednesday, July 29, at 3 p.m., LWVUS Board members, including the Chairs of the LWVUS Money in Politics Review and Constitutional Amendment Study Committees will provide a webinar with general background on national studies and an orientation to the two current studies. Registration for the webinar is now closed as we are at capacity. However, the webinar will be recorded and available in the LWVUS Webinar Library within 24 hours of the webinar. For questions contact Betsy Lawson at blawson@lwv.org.

Money in Politics Review PowerPoint is Now Online (REMINDER)
The Money in Politics (MIP) Review and Update PowerPoint is a meeting-ready overview of money in politics issues for Leagues to use in meetings for members and the community. Along with “Meetings-in-a-Box,” and other materials posted on the Money in Politics Review page, these resources are intended to engage members and the general citizenry on MIP issues as they are evidenced nationally and in states and communities. In addition, the PowerPoint and Meetings-in-a-Box will help prepare members for the LWV update of its campaign finance position. This update of the League’s position on campaign finance will get member understanding and agreement on the extent to which the League thinks that financing a political campaign is protected speech under the First Amendment. Want to be a part of the discussion, join the MIP Google Group. Questions can be sent to MIPStudyChair@lwv.org

Constitutional Amendment Study: Consensus Questions and New Deadline! (REMINDER)
At its post-Council 2015 meeting, the League Board approved the Constitutional Amendment study questions so that Leagues can begin to meet and discuss this all important issue. LWVUS will be asking for the results of your consensus meetings by December 1, 2015. The consensus questions are accompanied by short PRO and CON statements that will help League members consider their responses. Educational materials can be found at the Constitutional Amendment Study page and others will be posted in the coming weeks. This will be an interesting, exciting and important way to kick off fall activities for the League! 

ADVOCACY

League Calls on Senate to Support Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act (NEW)
The League joined a letter to U.S. Senators encouraging Senators to support and co-sponsor the Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act. The bill, sponsored by Senator Leahy (D-VT), would shut down individual-candidate Super PACs which are used to circumvent candidate contribution limits. This is the companion bill to HR 425 introduced in the U.S. House by Representative David Price (D-NC).

League Joins Comments to Census Bureau (NEW)
The League joined national civil rights, voting rights, labor and criminal justice organizations in submitting comments to the Census Bureau asking that incarcerated persons be counted at their home address, rather than the prison facility they occupy on census day. The League believes that if the Census Bureau modified its residence rule with respect to incarcerated persons, all states and localities will have the opportunity to more accurately and equitably reflect the incarcerated population in their redistricting plans. Thanks to the state Leagues who have previously taken action on this important issue.

Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (REMINDER)
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!

COMMUNICATIONS

Draft Social Media and Images for 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
On Thursday, August 6, we will be celebrating 50 years since the Voting Rights Act (VRA) became law. Join the celebration by tailoring these draft Facebook and Twitter messages for your Leagues. Additionally, the national coalition has been having Twitter storms every Thursday at 1 pm ET to keep the pressure on Congress to restore the VRA. Help beat the drum by using the hashtag #RestoreTheVRA. These draft social media messages can also be tailored and repurposed for the Twitter storms.

Websites: Why Consider a New Website in 2016? (NEW)
In 2014, we asked users of the League Easy Web (LEW) web hosting service how to make it better. Based on League member feedback, the new LEW (coming in 2016) will make a typical League website even better. For example, you will be more likely to have people visit your website from search engines. Your site will meet higher accessibility standards (for vision impairment, for example). Sharing content between Leagues means no more double entry! Reports and alerts to help you improve your site will be included. A media library will liven up your site. Multiple accounts with different access levels will be permitted. Read this comparison flyer to learn more of the differences between the current LEW, the new LEW, and Wordpress (a popular alternative). Training webinars will be announced this fall. Contact jwaggoner@lwvc.org for more information.

OTHER

Importance of Local Studies to the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)
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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