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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update

In This Issue:

September 30, 2010


  • President's Message: Follow Me and Learn! (NEW)


  • Final Weeks for Voter Registration: Resources Available (NEW)
  • Review of Barriers to Voting (NEW)


  • A Must-Do to Keep Your League's Tax Exempt Status (NEW)
  • Be Part of the League's Historic 90th Year: Share Your League Story with US Today! (NEW)
  • Learn to Use the Membership Database (NEW)
  • LWVUS Clearinghouse Survey (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Civic Education; Global Democracy; Fair Judiciary)

  • Civic Education: LWVUS Featured on Panel (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: South Carolina "Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary" Campaign (NEW)
  • Global Democracy: News from Madagascar (NEW)


  • National Women's History Museum (NEW)
  • 90th Anniversary Items: 50% Off-Sale at League Store
  • Update Your Will


Dear League Leaders:

I hope you have been reading my blog. I returned to Atlanta earlier this week, energized by my experiences during this first leg of my multi-state tour. Having taken a few days off to process all that I learned, I am struck by two things: (1) that anonymity is the enemy of truth in almost every case, including electioneering, and (2) even the most informed voter can be easily distracted by well constructed efforts to change the terms of a debate.

With regard to anonymity, we need look no further than the false information being put out by special interests with regard to health care reform. And, as the New York Times recently reported, these special interests can hide their identities by donating to nonprofit groups with innocuous sounding names with no duty to reveal the names of their donors.

This is the direct result of the Citizens United decision, which was represented to a group of knowledgeable League members in Phoenix two weeks ago as an effort by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike a blow for the little guy struggling to make sense of complex federal regulation. A panelist made this characterization with a straight face, and only one person in the room challenged it. Moreover, the other panelists did not challenge it!

There has never been a time when the League was needed more than it is today. Not only do we need to inform the public of the true facts of the issues in our communities, but we need to inform ourselves. Even as we arrange forums and do our best to present balanced information, we need to be prepared to challenge absurd assertions and outright falsehoods.

Tomorrow I return to the road, first to Wisconsin, then on to Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina. Now, you can follow me via RSS feeds. Please sign up and follow me!

In League, on the road again and blogging,



Please note that we have added this special section for the duration of the 2010 election season.

Final Weeks for Voter Registration: Resources Available (NEW)
With many states' voter registration looming as early as next week, Leagues around the country are working overtime to help new voters register in time to vote on Nov. 2. Whether you're a novice registration drive planner who needs some help getting started or a veteran looking for new ideas, the LWVEF wants to help! Please download our handy registration drive checklist. Here are additional tips for successful registration drives.

Review of Barriers to Voting (NEW)
This past month we have been discussing the last minute barriers to voting that may pop up around the country. If you do see any barriers in your state please let Tim O'Brien know. Here is a review of resources regarding last minute barriers to voting that you may find useful: Voter Caging and more about this issue in Wisconsin, Foreclosure, Targeting College Students, and Voter List Purging.



A Must-Do to Keep Your League's Tax Exempt Status (NEW)
If your League receives less than $25,000 in annual income, you must file an e-postcard return, also known as Form 990N, every year (unless your League is included in your state League's group return). If your League hasn't filed the online form yet, please do so immediately. More information online here.

Be Part of the League's Historic 90th Year: Share Your League Story with US Today! (NEW)
The LWVUS is recording our vast and diverse history by collecting and sharing personal stories from League members just like you: stories of personal development, friendship, and achievement. Please share your unique League story with us online. Tell us why you joined the League, why you love being a member, or what the League means to you. Help us save the memories we've made and encourage more individuals to get involved.

Learn to Use the Membership Database (NEW)
Have questions or need some help updating new officer information or changes to your roster? LWVUS staffer Betty Taira is ready to serve you! Please contact her at membership@lwv.org with questions or to schedule a training session. Want to get started now? Follow the link on the right side of this webpage to use the database manual.

LWVUS Clearinghouse Survey (NEW)
Has your League embarked on a project and wondered what other Leagues have done? The LWVUS Clearinghouse Ad Hoc Committee is exploring the establishment of a website for sharing League study materials, such as study reports, study kits, consensus questions and resulting positions. Please take this short survey to give your input on the information your League would like to see shared.


EDUCATION FUND (Civic Education; Fair Judiciary; Global Democracy)

Civic Education: LWVUS Featured on Panel (NEW)
Yesterday, the Knight Commission marked the one-year anniversary of its Report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, in which it presented 15 recommendations for improving the information health of communities and our democracy. The Aspen Institute gathered key national leaders, including LWVUS Executive Director Nancy Tate, for a symposium, "Toward Healthy Informed Communities: The Knight Commission Report One Year Later." This recorded discussion of how the recommendations have been implemented will soon be available online. The Knight Commission report and its recommendations were featured at LWVUS National Convention in June.

Fair Judiciary: South Carolina "Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary" Campaign (NEW)
The LWV of South Carolina is joining the LWV of Kansas in a year-long statewide "Safeguarding Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary" campaign, focusing on the importance of judicial diversity and independence in ensuring fair courts in the state's judiciary. The kick-off is an October 8 public conference, "Ensuring an Independent and Diverse State Judiciary," in Charleston. Speakers include LWVUS President Elisabeth MacNamara; the Honorable Rebecca Love Kourlis, executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and former Justice on the Colorado Supreme Court; Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice; the Honorable Donald W. Beatty, South Carolina Supreme Court Justice (invited); and the Honorable David Weeks, Carolina Legislative Black Caucus chair. The Transparency and Integrity Fund of the Open Society Institute and the LWVUS are providing support. For more information, please contact Cynthia Padera.

Global Democracy: News from Madagascar (NEW)
LWVUS Deputy Executive Director Zaida Arguedas, currently in Madagascar at the invitation of the U.S. Department of State, just concluded two days of workshops for a group of 32 young leaders on the importance of nonpartisan efforts to engage youth in that country. Ms. Arguedas will also make a presentation to an English class at the University of Madagascar and participate in a press conference scheduled for October 1.



National Women's History Museum (NEW)
LWVUS Executive Director Nancy Tate attended a recent National Women's History Museum (NWHM) event, celebrating "Our Nation's Daughters." The NWHM, a League coalition partner, is working for passage of legislation to allow construction of a museum on the National Mall. Meryl Streep was the featured guest at the event.

90th Anniversary Items: 50% Off-Sale at League Store
League 90th anniversary items are on sale from October 1 - December 31, 20, just in time for the holidays! Key chain with valet key separator (currently $4.25) on sale at $2.00 with purchase of five or more; Luggage tags ($4.00) on sale for $2.00 with purchase of five or more; Lapel pins ($3.25) on sale for $1.25 with purchase of 12 or more; USB Drive ($15.00) on sale for $8.00 with purchase of five or more.

Update Your Will
Have you recently moved to a new state? Had a child? Did you get married last year? Or maybe there's a new grandchild or step-child in your life? Any one of these major life events is reason enough to update your will. It is always important to stay in touch with your attorney regarding any changes in estate and probate law. While you're updating your plans, don't forget to include a gift for your favorite charities, like the League of Women Voters Education Fund - to strengthen the pillars of our democracy for years to come. If you have already included a gift for the LWV in your will or trust, but have not previously informed us, or if you have been thinking about setting up a gift that provides income, such as a charitable gift annuity, please contact Lauren Frank by email or at 202-263-1355.


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