September 17, 2015
Today is Constitution Day. There has been a lot of political rhetoric surrounding the Constitution lately and it is easy to lose sight of the genius of the document. The Constitution resulted from the need to form a more perfect union among the states and people of the United States in the Eighteenth Century. Since the original and only Constitutional Convention, successive generations of Americans have refined and redefined that more perfect union. The arc of American history has always been toward ever greater inclusion and an ever broader definition of equality. That is no less true in the 21st Century than it was in the years preceding.
Critical to finding our own more perfect union is free and fair participation in government. The key to that participation is free and fair access to the polls by every eligible voter. Once limited to white men of property, the vote is now guaranteed to every citizen over the age of 18. In the best of circumstances, our diffuse system of election laws can limit the ability of many eligible voters to take advantage of that guarantee to cast their votes and make their voices heard. Despite the media focus on the presidential contest next year, this is an election year, too. Next week Leagues will again participate in National Voter Registration Day. If voting is the key to participation, then registration is the key to voting. This year, once again, the League is on track to be the single largest on-the-ground partner with thousands of League leaders hosting 250+ registration events.
Whether your League has an event planned next week or not, let us take advantage of this Constitution Day to remind our communities that the most fundamental right embodied in the Constitution is the right to vote.
NOTICE: Due to full day Board meetings, there will be no League Update on Thursday, September 24, 2015
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 DEVELOPMENT
- Apply to be a National Coach (NEW)
- Has Your League Filed Its Form 990-N Yet? (NEW)
- League Visibility Tools Available (REMINDER)
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
- Help Voters Get Ready for Election Day 2015 (NEW)
- Kansas League Testifies Against New Voter Registration Rulings (NEW)
- Online Voter Registration Begins in Three More States (NEW)
- Elections: “Electing the President” 2016 Supplement Now Available (REMINDER)
EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY
- LWV Constitutional Amendment Discussion Group Now on Yahoo (NEW)
- Short Background Paper on Money in Politics (MIP) Review Now Posted (NEW)
- LWVUS Climate Change Google Group (NEW)
- What You and Your League Can Do to Support the Clean Power Plan (NEW)
- National Voter Registration Day and Voter Registration Sample Social Media & Media Outreach Content (REMINDER)
- Share your Voter Registration Plans and Photos With Us (REMINDER)
- Margery Cohen, Long Time League UN Observer Retires (NEW)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
Apply to be a National Coach (NEW)
Are you creative, patient, flexible and passionate about League? Apply to be a Ruth S. Shur Fellow or national coach! Coaches are a core part of the Membership & Leadership Development (MLD) team, which is helping to grow the League and our impact nationwide. Learn more about the key qualities of successful coaches and consider applying or nominating another League leader. The application deadline is October 23.
Has Your League Filed Its Form 990-N Yet? (NEW)
Leagues — both operating funds (501c4) and education funds (501c3) — that receive less than $50,000 in income must file an e-postcard return (also known as Form 990N) every year with the IRS. The e-Postcard is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year. For example, if your tax year ended on June 30, the e-Postcard is due November 15. For more information, please visit the League Management Website for further details.
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 especially for the busy upcoming election season, please complete this survey. Note that orders only will be filled once per month, so be sure to get your League’s request in early. Membership brochures and insert templates also are available for download any time.
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
Help Voters Get Ready for Election Day 2015 (NEW)
While the presidential election next year is newsworthy and candidate debates have already started to help voters learn where the candidates stand on important issues, there are thousands of important state and local elections happening on Election Day 2015! As with any election year, it is important for voters to feel prepared to participate in the elections happening in their communities. Read and share our recent blog post on how voters can start getting ready to vote on November 3.
Kansas League Testifies Against New Voter Registration Rulings (NEW)
On September 2nd the LWV of Kansas gave testimony opposing a new change to Kansas voter registration laws that could potentially disenfranchise thousands of people across the state. “We have terrible barriers to voting and to voter registration in our state and they are unnecessary,” Marge Ahrens, co-president of the Kansas League said in an interview with the Wichita Eagle.
Online Voter Registration Begins in Three More States (NEW)
Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Iowa all join the growing list of states that allow citizens to register to vote online. LWV of Pennsylvania worked with coalition partners and the Secretary of State’s office to push for the online system, which went into effect in late August. Nebraska will have online voter registration on September 22nd, also National Voter Registration Day, and Iowa’s systems will be in place later early 2016. For more information on how your state can push for pro-voter reforms such as online voter registration, contact Cynthia Sebian-Lander at CSebianLander@lwv.org.
Elections: “Electing the President” 2016 Supplement Now Available (REMINDER)
The LWVEF has once again teamed up with the Newspaper in Education Institute (NIE) to produce “Electing the President,” a comprehensive supplement designed to help voters, especially young and first-time voters, understand the presidential election process. Leagues are encouraged to reach out to participating local newspapers and request that they run the insert and/or make copies available to local schools. In order to cover costs associated with printing the insert, the local newspaper may want you to collaborate with them in fundraising from local businesses or foundations. You may also download the PDF here and print copies for use at voter service events.
EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY
LWV Constitutional Amendment Discussion Group Now on Yahoo (NEW)
Subscribe to the newly-formed Yahoo group to discuss the League Constitutional Amendment Study and share information with other League members. To subscribe, send an email message to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an email back inviting you to join the discussion group. Follow the instructions in this email and you will be signed up for the CA discussion group. Be sure to check out the Constitutional Amendment page on the LWV web site, which includes the Study Guide, Consensus Questions and background materials. Questions can be sent to Pat Donath, CACommitteeChair@lwv.org.
Short Background Paper on Money in Politics (MIP) Review Now Posted (NEW)
Newly posted is a brief background paper (2 pages) on the current LWVUS Money in Politics Review and Update. This short paper provides key points of the MIP Review including scope of work, timeline, current position, background and history. Feel free to use this paper as a handout for your MIP events, as notes for an introduction to an event, as talking points, or as a newsletter article. For additional information, please contact Barbara Zia, MIP Committee Chair at MIPCommitteeChair@lwv.org.
LWVUS Climate Change Google Group (NEW)
The LWVUS Climate Change Google Group is Up and Running! League members are busy discussing what they are doing to support the Clean Power Plan. Sign up to join the Climate Change Google Group today! (It replaces the former Climate Change Forum.) If you would like to join the new group, click on this attached link and follow the instructions: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/lwvus-climate-change. You need a Google account to participate. Questions can be sent to email@example.com.
What You and Your League Can Do to Support the Clean Power Plan (NEW)
The Climate Action Toolkit now includes a section outlining what Leagues and League members can do to help build support for, and promote compliance with, the Clean Power Plan. Included are suggestions of state and local organizations that could be good partners for League action efforts as well as ideas for education and advocacy initiatives. The toolkit also includes basic background information about the Clean Power Plan itself.
National Voter Registration Day and Voter Registration Sample Social Media & Media Outreach Content (REMINDER)
Please use these draft social media messages to promote your National Voter Registration Day activities as well as voter registration and voter registration deadlines during the 2015 election season. We encourage you to tailor these messages to fit the elections in your community—or, if you don’t have elections this year, to start helping prepare voters for next year’s big elections. You should also utilize the League's NVRD template press release and the official National Voter Registration Day communications toolkit, which includes additional images, to generate visibility and engagement around your League's NVRD activities. As elections season continues, we plan to roll out additional content that will be highlighted through the League Update.
Share your Voter Registration Plans and Photos With Us (REMINDER)
Do you have exciting voter registration events planned for National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) on September 22nd? We'd love to highlight some state and local examples in the national communications we'll be putting out to support your NVRD efforts. We'll also be putting together a photo album of your great registration activities and would love to feature your photos. Please send details on your events and photos of any registration activities you've done this year to Stephanie Drahan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Margery Cohen, Long Time League UN Observer Retires (NEW)
In June of this year, Margery Cohen, long time League of Women Voters UN Observer, announced her retirement. During her twenty-plus year tenure as both the Main and Alternate UN Observers, Margery has been instrumental in enhancing the prestige of the League of Women Voters at the United Nations. We salute Margery and her many achievements and thank her for many years of service and leadership.
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