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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update

In This Issue:

November 4, 2010

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

  • President’s Message: We Made a Difference! What Next? (NEW)
  • LWVUS Education Study (NEW)
  • Guidance to the Board (NEW)

ELECTIONS

  • Beyond Election Day: Young People Getting Involved in Democracy (NEW)
  • Celebrate Your Election Work by Applying for the 2010 Democracy Award: Application Deadline Approaching!
  • LWVUS Election Outreach in the Final Days (NEW)
  • Another Election Year Full of Nonpartisan, Informative (Sometimes Heated) League Events! (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • National Voter Registration Act Victory in Arizona (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • How to Code Nationally Recruited Members (NRMs) in the Database (NEW)
  • Webinar: Learn How to Become an LWVUS Ruth S. Shur Fellow
  • Request for Your Personal League Story (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Fair Judiciary; Global Democracy)

  • Fair Judiciary: "Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary" Applauds Supreme Court Appointment in Kansas (NEW)
  • Global Democracy: Civic Hosting Program Update (NEW)
  • Global Democracy: Legislative Fellows from Brazil and Colombia in Washington, DC (NEW)

OTHER

  • 90th Anniversary Items: 50%-Off Sale at League Store
  • Leaving a Legacy

 

PRESIDENT’S CORNER

Dear League Leaders:

Give yourselves a big hug and pat on the back for a job superbly done! The League has served our communities and the nation in incredible ways during this entire election season. Read my Election Day statement here. I know we do this work year after year and we often think it’s no big deal, but it is a big deal! So, let’s sit back for a moment and recognize and appreciate our accomplishments. We made a difference!

But now (yes, the inevitable but), we have much work ahead of us. High on the list are two elements that were major players during this election season and go deeper than which party controls the House or the Senate: secret money and incivility. The former can be mitigated with proper legislation, while the latter cannot and requires constant supervision.

Voters were overwhelmed by millions of dollars in negative ads but didn’t know who paid for many of them. They will be hard pressed to know if their elected officials are in Washington to serve the public interest or the special interests. Pay-to-play politics won’t change until we know who the special interests are that are pouring money into our elections. The Media has covered the League’s position.

This election demonstrated the critical need to improve our governmental structures. Because of the failure of Congress to act, there are no disclosure requirements governing the huge amounts of money that the Supreme Court recently turned loose in American politics. We must continue the fight for passage of the DISCLOSE Act, which would restore some transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections. We also must continue to work for preservation and extension of ethics enforcement. The special interest money in this election is further indication that Congress must not fail in enforcing ethics standards in their ranks.

As for the element that cannot be legislated, the incivility and tone of the 2010 campaign exhibited a disturbingly new low in American politics. Not only was this evident in the expensive advertising, but we also saw it in candidate debates and forums and in the public discourse. We will continue to highlight the importance of civility in discourse and speak out against incivility when we observe it in action.

We believe that voters, not money, should be at the center of our democracy. Let’s roll up our sleeves once more and continue to help our fellow citizens debate the issues in a civil and effective way and fight for transparency, accountability and disclosure in America’s elections!

Proudly in League,

Elisabeth

LWVUS Education Study (NEW)
Delegates at Convention 2010 adopted a study of the role of the federal government in public education. The Education Study Committee has now been appointed. Its members are Pat Aaron (IL), Gail Glick (MA), Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins (CO), Patricia Libutti (NJ), Jean Pierce (IL) and Janelle Rivers (SC).  Peggy Hill (LWVUS Board Member, TX) and Joanne Leavitt (CA) chair the Committee, which will work on producing background study materials to be posted on the LWVUS website and sent out to Leagues beginning in spring 2011.

Guidance to the Board (NEW)
At Convention 2010, delegates provided “Guidance” to the LWVUS Board during the final plenary session and through written submissions. The LWVUS Board appreciates all the suggestions as well as the opportunity to hear concerns of members. Member input is critical to the decision-making process. The Board has responded to the individual “guidance,” and an overview of submissions and the responses on a wide range of topics is accessible online.

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

Beyond Election Day: Young People Getting Involved in Democracy (NEW)
Just days before Election Day, the League hosted a timely forum with a diverse audience, including League members, leaders in civic engagement, and young people, to discuss the trends that impact civic participation among young people. While initial Election Day reports indicate young people turned out to vote in numbers comparable to past midterm elections, we know much more needs to be done to empower young people, especially underrepresented youth. The October 28 conversation serves as a helpful springboard for planning broader youth engagement activities in the future. We encourage all Leagues to watch the video, then head to our Facebook page to share successful youth outreach stories!

Celebrate Your Election Work by Applying for the 2010 Democracy Award: Application Deadline Approaching!
Now that Election Day has passed, what better way is there to celebrate your League’s great youth engagement efforts than to apply for the 2010 Democracy Award? The LWVEF and Smackdown Your Vote! are accepting applications for this brand-new award, aimed at celebrating Leagues for their innovative approaches to engaging young people in the political process. Cash awards will be presented in 2011. Fill out the application by November 30 or contact Maggie Duncan with questions.

LWVUS Election Outreach in the Final Days (NEW)
The LWVUS sent out messages in the final days (here and here), on Election Eve and Election Day. In addition, the October 2010 LeaguE-Voice newsletter focused on Election 2010. Thanks to the efforts of Leagues across the country, registering, educating and urging voters to participate in this important election, the League made a powerful contribution to election 2010. We are proud of each and every League!

Another Election Year Full of Nonpartisan, Informative (Sometimes Heated) League Events! (NEW)
Great job to all the local and state Leagues who held successful registration drives, put on candidates’ forums, and published voters’ guides this year! We share here just one of many stories. The LWV of  Cuyahoga Area (OH) ran a successful mock election in a local high school, in which over 400 students participated. "We really are trying to develop a lifelong interest in the democratic process and voting," said Mary Lou Jones, executive director of the LWV Cuyahoga Area Education Fund. Well done, League leaders! Thank you for your civic service!

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ADVOCACY

National Voter Registration Act Victory in Arizona (NEW)
In a major decision last week, a federal appeals court invalidated Arizona’s requirement for proof-of-citizenship in order to register to vote.  The three-judge panel, with Sandra Day O’Connor “sitting by designation,” agreed with the LWVUS amicus brief that the requirement violates the National Voter Registration Act. 

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MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

How to Code Nationally Recruited Members (NRMs) in the Database (NEW)
The names of NRMs will be removed from your local League's membership roster on December 31, 2010. If you have reached out to NRMs and they have paid dues to your local League, please update their membership status in the LWVUS database (change from N1 to R1). If NRMs have not yet paid dues to your local League, please do NOT update their membership status as they will become part of your League’s annual membership count if you do (i.e., your League will owe PMP on them starting July 2011). Please direct questions about the NRM program to LWVUS Board Member Judy Davis and questions about the database to Betty Taira.

Webinar: Learn How to Become an LWVUS Ruth S. Shur Fellow
Register for the webinar now and tune in on November 16, 2010, 3:00 pm ET, to learn how to become a Ruth S. Shur Fellow and join a national coaching team that mentors state Leagues – ensuring that they are healthy, vibrant and strong for years to come! Applications and background information are posted on our website. Applications must be submitted online by December 1, 2010.

Request for Your Personal League Story (NEW)
The LWVUS is working in partnership with state and local Leagues across the country to strengthen our great organization. Please help us by submitting your personal story to the LWVUS Storybank. Why did you join the League? How has membership enhanced your life? Your story will help the League reach the hearts and minds of potential members and demonstrate the value of League membership in a more intimate way. To do your part, submit your story here.

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EDUCATION FUND (Fair Judiciary; Global Democracy)

Fair Judiciary: "Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary" Applauds Supreme Court Appointment in Kansas (NEW)
The League of Women Voters of Kansas has worked for the past 12 months – since October 2009 – in a concerted, statewide education campaign calling for increased gender diversity on the Kansas judiciary. The League and its education program, “Safeguarding U.S. Democracy:  A Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary,” are excited to announce that on November 1, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson appointed Judge Nancy Moritz Caplinger to the state Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Robert Davis, increasing the number of female Justices on the Court to three!

Global Democracy: Civic Hosting Program Update (NEW)
This week the Leagues of Edina, MN and Kansas City/Jackson, Clay and Platte Counties, MO are hosting international visitors in their communities as part of the 2010 Eurasia Civic Hosting Program. The Edina League is hosting a delegation of journalists from Moldova, while the Kansas City League is hosting a delegation of journalists and diplomats from Azerbaijan. Each League has arranged a comprehensive program focused on elections and good governance, providing unique opportunities for the visitors to witness the American election process and meet their professional counterparts. Learn more about the 2010 Civic Hosting Program for Eastern European and Central Asian Leaders.

Global Democracy: Legislative Fellows from Brazil and Colombia in Washington, DC (NEW)
On November 7, the League’s Legislative Fellows, two from Brazil and eleven from Colombia, arrive in Washington, DC, to participate in the 2010 Legislative Fellows Congress, November 8-9. They will join 90 Fellows from Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan for meetings and activities hosted by the U.S. Department of State. This Congress is organized to provide all 100 Legislative Fellows an opportunity to network world-wide and share their U.S. experience. Roundtable discussion topics include: Grassroots and Youth Engagement in Civil Society; Transparency, Accountability, and Corruption; Women Participation in Civil Society and Politics; Advocacy and Action; and the U.S. Electoral Process. The League Fellows return to their countries on November 10.

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OTHER

90th Anniversary Items: 50%-Off Sale at League Store
Just in time for the holidays! League 90th anniversary items are on sale until December 31, 2010. Key chain with valet key separator (currently $4.25) on sale for $2.00 with purchase of five or more, Luggage tags ($4.00) for $2.00 with purchase of five or more, Lapel pins ($3.25) for $1.25 with purchase of 12 or more, USB Drive ($15.00) for $8.00 with purchase of five or more.

Leaving a Legacy
Including the League of Women Voters Education Fund in your will is among the easiest ways to offer support of the LWVEF's work for years to come. We suggest the following language to include the League as a beneficiary of a will or trust: " I give, devise, and bequeath to the League of Women Voters Education Fund, a charitable organization formed in the District of Columbia, with offices at 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, {the sum of $___ } {___ percentage of my residuary estate}." If you already have a will, you can have your attorney add a codicil to include the LWVEF. After you've added the League, please contact Lauren Frank so we can list you as a member of our Carrie Chapman Catt Legacy Society.

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