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Leader's Update

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Leaders Update

In This Issue:

February 10, 2011


  • President’s Message: Serious Budget Issues (NEW)


  • Welcome to the 2011-2013 Class of LWVUS Ruth S. Shur Fellows! (NEW)
  • Press Template Available: League’s 91st Birthday Is February 14
  • "Membership Moments" Now on Video! (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND (Openness in Government; Climate Change; Fair Judiciary)

  • Coalition Building Planning Tool Available (NEW)
  • SAVE THE DATE: Sunshine Week 2011 – A Turnkey Opportunity for Leagues (NEW)
  • Climate Change and International Women’s Day (NEW)
  • Fair Judiciary: Increasing Diversity on the South Carolina Courts (NEW)


  • League Urges Senators to Oppose Repeal of Presidential Public Financing (NEW)
  • Coming Soon: Earth Day – April 22, 2011 (NEW)


  • You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!



Dear League Leaders:

As the LWVUS Budget Committee gathers in Washington, DC, this weekend to tackle the regularly recurring task of matching our aspirations with our means, I have been noticing from the discussion lists that many of you are focusing on the serious budget issues confronting your states and local communities. Since my earliest days with the League I have been impressed by the attention that League members pay to budgets. The budget process offers an opportunity for education and for serious discussion about community priorities. For the foreseeable future, it will be in the appropriations process that Americans will determine whether our children are educated, health care is available to all and our environment protected.

All across the country, tough choices confront lawmakers. Those choices should be made only after careful consideration of the needs of the community in the future and with as much transparency and input as possible.

Apropos of this concern, I’d like to note that the League’s Public Advocacy for Voter Protection (PAVP) project is also focused on the relevance of state budgets and their impact on messaging. In combating voter photo ID (VPID), we have found that successful messages focus on the fiscal impacts these laws would have on state budgets already in crisis. However, many of the fiscal estimates attached to VPID bills underestimate the impact, often stating that the true impact is unknown, but will likely not cost much.

To counter this argument, Leagues need to look at other states' legislation and point to the fiscal impact of those bills. Then, analyze your state's fiscal notes to ensure they include the cost of supplying free ID to voters as well as the other significant costs of: poll worker training, public education, lost revenue (often tied to transportation funds), defending against possible lawsuits, processing additional provisional or absentee ballots, providing free copies of birth certificates (if applicable), and possibly extending the hours of operation of some local government offices. States may hide the costs by passing them off to local governments, but when you take all of these factors into consideration, the fiscal impact quickly increases. A report by a bipartisan commission of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors found that Indiana has spent over $12.2 million since 2007 to implement its photo ID law, and this amount only covers the cost of free IDs and voter education. 

Once again, hats off to the League for reminding public servants and community members that the issue is not bigger or smaller, but more effective government that can address the issues that are too large for any single body to deal with.

In League,




Welcome to the 2011-2013 Class of LWVUS Ruth S. Shur Fellows! (NEW)
The LWVUS received many applications and nominations of qualified, enthusiastic candidates to become part of our dedicated, elite group of national volunteers, the Ruth S. Shur Fellows. The eight new national coaches will support and work in partnership with state and local Leagues in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions on the League’s successful membership/leadership development program. Congratulations to the 2011-2013 class of Fellows: Eileen Burke-Trent (CA), Charolette Fox (CA), Shelia Martin (MA), Eileen Olmstead (PA), Brenda Rogers (NC), Eva Rogers (NC), Elona Vaisyns (CT) and Penney Van Vleet (WA). They join the inaugural 2010-2012 class of 10 Fellows, who are currently working with 21 states in the Southeast and beyond. The work of the Shur Fellows is supported by the Leadership Fund. Our thanks to all who applied and the Selection Committee!

Press Template Available: League’s 91st Birthday Is February 14 (NEW)
On February 14, the League of Women Voters celebrates its 91st birthday! This is a great opportunity to reach out to your local media to get visibility for the League. The LWVUS has created a press template for your local League to use. The LWVUS Web site also has a list of other suggested activities to mark this anniversary or other historic milestones, such as Women’s History Month (March). Go here for additional tips and a list of suggested activities.

"Membership Moments" Now on Video! (NEW)
View LWVUS Board Member Marcia Merrins present tips on being a “Welcoming League.” Want more of Marcia’s helpful tips? Visit the Leader’s Section of the LWVUS website for more great League advice!


EDUCATION FUND (Fair Judiciary; Openness in Government; Climate Change)

Coalition Building Planning Tool Available (NEW)
Download and print this handy coalition-building tool to help plan your next campaign! Originally designed to help Leagues identify and collaborate with partners for the 2011 redistricting cycle, this tool is universally useful and will help put your team on the path to success.

SAVE THE DATE: Sunshine Week 2011 – A Turnkey Opportunity for Leagues (NEW)
On Friday, March 18, 12:00-1:30 PM (ET), the LWVEF again will co-host the Annual Sunshine Week National Dialogue. The event, "The Road Forward on Open Government," will be broadcast live via the web and is a great opportunity for Leagues to gain visibility on a core League issue. State and local Leagues are encouraged to host “viewing parties”– perhaps in conjunction with a local university or law library. Panelists will take questions from the live and viewing audience. To learn more, visit our event partner at www.OpenTheGovernment.org.

Climate Change and International Women’s Day (NEW)
Want to hold an event in your community that highlights climate change? Our partner in the fight against climate change and its effects on women, Oxfam America, is offering a toolkit for Leagues to do just that. The kit contains an organizing guide, sample letters to the editor and much more.

Fair Judiciary: Increasing Diversity on the South Carolina Courts (NEW)
We are pleased to announce that our state-wide educational campaign in South Carolina is yielding successes due to the hard work of LWV of South Carolina. On February 2, the South Carolina General Assembly appointed DeAndrea Gist Benjamin (5th Circuit), Stephanie Pendarvis McDonald (At-Large) and Letitia H. Verdin (13th Circuit) to the Circuit Courts, and Daniel E. Martin, Jr. (9th Circuit), to the Family Court. The addition of these knowledgeable and proven legal scholars will help the South Carolina judiciary better mirror the state's population.



League Urges Senators to Oppose Repeal of Presidential Public Financing (NEW)
The League and coalition partners sent a letter to Senators urging them to oppose legislation to repeal presidential public financing and support modernization legislation instead.

Coming Soon: Earth Day – April 22, 2011 (NEW)
Every April, in communities around the globe, people come together to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement – the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 – and to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. The theme of this year's Earth Day is “A Billion Acts of Green,” a campaign to encourage individual green acts – to total one billion – in advance of the 2012 global Earth Summit in Rio. Make plans now for your League to participate in this campaign to advance sustainability at home and around the world. Find more information and some ideas for your Earth Day celebrations here.



You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Some things never change even in these challenging economic times. The League of Women Voters Education Fund continues to be at the forefront of public policy issue education which allows citizens to thoughtfully engage in the democratic process. By making a gift of cash or securities of $5,000 or more to the LWVEF Pooled Income Fund, you can receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift's value and continue earning a quarterly return on the interest earned for life. Best of all, you can name your state and/or local League, along with the LWVEF, to benefit from the residual funds when you're gone. For more information, please contact the Development office at 202-263-1355 or plannedgiving@lwv.org.

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