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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

October 29, 2015

Dear Friend,

For several years, the League of Women Voters and its partners have been lobbying the states and the Obama Administration to bring the health care exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The NVRA was designed to increase voter registration by requiring that eligible persons receive voter registration opportunities when applying for services through agencies that administer a variety of programs, including Medicaid and other forms of public assistance. The ACA requires that persons applying for most health care benefits including Medicaid, do so on a health care exchange created by their state government or facilitated by the federal government. As such, the NVRA requires that voter registration be offered on the health care exchanges.

Those states that have created exchanges have recognized their obligation to bring their exchanges into compliance with the NVRA. To date, the Obama Administration has not. The result is not just a loss of as many as 1.7 million voter registrations through the Federally Facilitated Exchanges (FFEs), but also a backward movement as those applying for or renewing Medicaid benefits do so on the FFEs instead of state Medicaid offices. As the state exchanges come into compliance with the NVRA, the failure of the Administration to offer the same registration opportunity on the FFEs also means that citizens in different states will not be treated equally.

While the FFEs and the ACA were first being implemented and a legal challenge, King v. Burwell, was pending in the United States Supreme Court, the delay was understandable if not acceptable. However, November 1 marks the third open enrollment period using the FFEs and King has been decided in favor of treating the state and federally-facilitated exchanges exactly the same under the law. The time has come to insist that the Administration follow the law. The NVRA permits a private right of action to force compliance. That right of action has allowed for lawsuits by voting rights groups that often have been needed to ensure that states provide the services guaranteed under the NVRA. That right of action may now need to be used to force the Administration to do the right thing.

Yesterday, the League and its partners, Demos and Project Vote, delivered a letter to the President asking for voluntary compliance and alerting the Administration to our intent to sue if necessary. The ball is in the President’s court. With so much at stake for our democracy, it is essential that every eligible voter be protected by every available means. The NVRA is an important voter protection that the League worked hard to get. Voters deserve a chance to use it.

In League,

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NOTE: As part of a process to assess and improve our communications with League audiences, the League Update will now be issued every other Thursday.

League Leaders

To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this biweekly 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

  • LWVUS Database Rollout is Underway (NEW)
  • Join the National Coaching Team: Application Deadline Extended (NEW)
  • IRS Filing Deadline Fast-approaching for Many Leagues (REMINDER)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Grants Available: 2016 Youth Voter Registration Program (REMINDER)
  • Google Art Talk “Crusade for the Vote” Featuring President MacNamara - Nov. 2 (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Money in Politics Materials are All Posted (NEW)
  • Leagues Encouraged to Hold Constitutional Amendment Study Meetings (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League Opposes Senate Attempts to Block Clean Power Plan (NEW)
  • League Submits Comments to EPA Science Advisory Board (NEW)
  • Support the EPA’S Methane Pollution Regulation (REMINDER)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Free Communications Training for All Members: Register Now! (REMINDER)

OTHER

  • Sign Up for the League of Women Voters United Nations Google Group (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

LWVUS Database Rollout is Underway (NEW)
A few weeks ago, LWVUS began inviting Roster Managers to go through the process of accessing the database. The first group invited into the system was all state League Roster Managers. Many commented on the value of the instructional materials they were provided. Group Two has now been invited to begin this process. Local Leagues will begin to enter the database throughout the next several months. You can find more information on the rollout of the new database (including timing for your League) on the League Management Site.

Join the National Coaching Team: Application Deadline Extended (NEW)
Are you looking for a personal growth opportunity while helping to build the League’s impact? Watch national coach Melissa Currence describe why she applied to be a Shur Fellow or national coach and why you should consider following her lead. Learn more about the Membership & Leadership Development (MLD) team, which is helping to grow the League and our impact nationwide. And read about the Top 7 Reasons to Join the Ruth S Shur Fellows, then consider applying or nominating another League leader. The application deadline is now November 15.

IRS Filing Deadline Fast-approaching for Many Leagues (REMINDER)
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: http://forum.lwv.org/member-resources/article/has-your-league-filed-its-form-990-n-yet

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

Grants Available: 2016 Youth Voter Registration Program (REMINDER)
LWVEF is pleased to announce a new pass-through grant opportunity to help Leagues register and engage high school/community college/technical/vocational school students in the spring of 2016. Friday, December 4, is the application deadline. State and local Leagues are encouraged to download the project description and funding application. If you have questions about completing your application, contact Maggie Bush (mbush@lwv.org).

Google Art Talk “Crusade for the Vote” Featuring President MacNamara - Nov. 2 (NEW)
Please join the National Women’s History Museum on November 2, 2015 for an online conversation on U.S. woman suffrage. A panel of experts featuring LWVUS President Elisabeth MacNamara, will discuss the history of the woman suffrage movement, the National Woman’s Party, women and voting today and the impact of the movement. “Crusade for the Vote” will begin at 12:00 pm on November 2. Visit the Museum’s website to register for this exciting event.

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Money in Politics Materials are All Posted (NEW)
The final MIP background papers in the series have been posted. Hard, Soft and Dark Money presents ways used by outside groups try to influence elections through hard money, soft money and dark money and Options to Reform Money in Politics covers campaign finance reform strategies that are currently allowable in the wake of Supreme Court decisions. The official MIP Consensus form is also posted for Leagues to use to report their consensus reports. All these materials can be found on the Money in Politics page. For additional information, please contact Barbara Zia, MIP Committee Chair at MIPCommitteeChair@lwv.org.

Leagues Encouraged to Hold Constitutional Amendment Study Meetings (NEW)
Leagues that are preparing to hold CA Study meetings should check out the Constitutional Amendment page on the League Management website, which includes the Study Guide, Consensus Questions and the official CA Consensus form. The deadline for response forms is December 1, 2015. Subscribe to the LWV CA 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: lwvconamend-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You will receive an email back inviting you to join the discussion group. 

ADVOCACY

League Opposes Senate Attempts to Block Clean Power Plan (NEW)
The League sent a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing any attempt to block the implementation of the Administration's Clean Power Plan. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can review the implementation of regulations developed by the Administration. Members of the LWVUS Lobby Corps will be visiting Senate offices to discuss this groundbreaking regulation that will save lives and protect the environment. Visit the LWVUS Climate Change Toolkit for background on the Clean Power Plan and a section outlining what Leagues and League members can do to help build support for, and promote compliance with, the Clean Power Plan.

League Submits Comments to EPA Science Advisory Board (NEW)
The League submitted written comments to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB). The comments are in regard to the EPA SAB's study on the effects that hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water sources.

Support the EPA’S Methane Pollution Regulation (REMINDER)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever proposed pollution standard for new and modified oil and gas facilities. These regulations are an important step forward to protect public health and our planet. Thank the EPA for their efforts to protect our children by cutting methane emissions.

COMMUNICATIONS

Free Communications Training for All Members: Register Now! (REMINDER)
Are you ready for a fun, interactive, and practical three-part communications training series made especially for the League by the Nonprofit Marketing Guide? Our goal is to give local Leagues the knowledge, tools, priorities and common cummunications terminology so that we are all more effective online. These aren't just for webmasters or newsletter editors! Learn more and register now.

  • 10/22 Thursday 1pm EST - Communications 101: The Basics
  • 11/16 Monday 1pm EST - Communications Roles & Planning
  • 12/2 Wednesday 1pm EST - Writing for the Web

If you can't attend on those dates, you can still get the training: we will be sharing the recordings. And be sure to let your local League members know they're invited!

OTHER

Sign Up for the League of Women Voters United Nations Google Group (NEW)
Sign up to join the LWV United Nations Google Group today! League members who are interested in following and discussing the role of the League in the United Nations are invited to join the UN Google Group. To sign on, contact LWV UN Google Group administrator, Chris Sagona at chrissagona@gmail.com.

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