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League of Women Voters
The League Update
JULY 4, 2019

Happy Fourth of July!

Friend,

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in our partisan gerrymandering cases that no fair test exists for courts to determine when partisan gerrymandering has gone too far. While we are disappointed in this outcome, we know that now our work for fair maps has never been more important. We will continue to push for independent, citizen-led redistricting commissions—like those passed in Colorado, Michigan, and Utah in 2018. We will continue to lobby for the passage of the For the People Act, which includes fair redistricting standards for the entire country. 

The timing of the decision in Rucho v. LWV of North Carolina could not be more crucial as we gear up for the 2020 Census—the subject of another important case the Supreme Court decided last week. The Supreme Court ruled in Department of Commerce v. New York that a citizenship question in the U.S. Census report cannot proceed for 2020. We celebrate the Court’s ruling and are relieved that the question will not appear in the census questionnaire—but there is still much work to be done to ensure everyone is counted.

This Independence Day, I am reminded that our democracy is truly a work in progress. And the best way to celebrate our freedom is to continue that noble work.

In League, 

Chris

Making Democracy Work Campaign

DATE CHANGE: LWVUS Webinar on the Census

The upcoming LWVUS policy webinar covering Census 2020 has been moved to July 30 from 3 to 4 PM Eastern. The webinar will cover basic information about the Census, a three-phase campaign for LWV involvement, and an overview of the tools available from LWVUS. Register for the webinar here.

SCOTUS Wrap-Up: A Mixed Bag of Emotions 

Last week closed the latest term at the U.S. Supreme Court, and with the last day came three of the most awaited decisions of the term: two redistricting cases out of North Carolina and Maryland, and the Census litigation out of New York. In the redistricting cases, the court ruled that partisan gerrymandering is a political question that is out of the purview of federal courts. In the Census case, the court ruled to suspend the citizenship question’s inclusion for 2020. LWVUS will be rolling out an updated toolkit focused on education, Get Out the Count guidance, and watchdog reporting for Leagues to use in preparing their work on the Census. We'll also be updating the redistricting toolkit shortly thereafter. Please be on the lookout for an official toolkit launch in the July 18th League Update!

League Marks 6th Anniversary of Shelby v. Holder Decision

June 25th marked the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act. We encouraged all Leagues to join us in a week of action that included blogs, a hearing on the Hill, and an action alert. Read our blog post about why the VRA is still needed and how you can make an impact. You can also take action to tell your members of Congress to #RestoreTheVote!

LWV Iowa Fights Voter Purge Aimed at Returning Citizens

The League of Women Voters of Iowa, in partnership with Brennan Center, sent a letter notifying Iowa's Secretary of State that the state's voter list maintenance practices for people disenfranchised because of felony convictions appear to violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Iowa state constitution. Some of the listed voters had not been convicted of felonies and remained eligible to vote. Read the letter here.

LWVUS Joins Partner Petition Promoting the Census

LWVUS has joined with partners on a petition promoting a fully funded and fair Census. Add your name and tell elected officials across the country that we need a full count. By adding your name, you agree to receive occasional emails on this and related campaigns from other participating organizations.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

How Texas Prevented Black Women From Voting Decades After The 19th Amendment

This article from Houston Public Radio features LWV Houston leader and professor at Lone Star College Annie Johnson Benifield in its exploration of how the state barred black women from the polls. As celebrations of the 19th Amendment anniversary take place this year and next, it is important to understand the legacy of the ways in which it was not equally applied to all women.

DEI Webinars

LWVUS is hosting a series of webinars on DEI in 2019.  

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in our Spring webinars and provided feedback. We have a new cycle of webinars scheduled for June through September. We will be using this series to take a deeper look at the topics we’ve been exploring for the past year and offer tools every member can use in their League work.

July 25: Tips & Resources for Making a Personal DEI Commitment Register

August 29: Register

September 26: Register

Recordings and resources from our previous webinars can be found on the League Management Site.

We want to hear from you!

Is your League embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a new way? Do you have a special interest in this topic or expertise to share? The LWV DEI Committee, chaired by Dr. Deborah Turner, wants to hear from you. Share your questions, story or feedback by email to cdavis@lwv.org.

News of the Week

LWV of Michigan president Judy Karandjeff stuck to the positives when asked how the Rucho and Benisek SCOTUS decisions would affect fair maps in Michigan. Read the story here.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against LWV of Wisconsin in their lawsuit against the state legislature's harmful lame-duck session laws. Read the story here.

LWV of Florida is still fighting to protect the newly restored vote for formerly incarcerated persons. Along with partner organizations, LWVFL filed a lawsuit against the implementation bill that created hurtles for re-enfranchised individuals to exercise their right to vote.

Advocacy

League Supports Legislation to Mitigate Harm to Children at U.S. Borders

The League joined more than 150 organizations in support of the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act and Help for Separated Families Act (H.R. 3451/H.R. 3452). The two bills would help mitigate the harm to children impacted by interior immigration enforcement actions.

D.C. Voting Rights Hearing in U.S. House Oversight Committee

The U.S. House will hold a hearing on HR 51, the Washington D.C. Admission Act, on July 24. This is the first hearing on D.C. statehood in several years. LWVUS will be including materials for those wishing to host house parties or write a local letter to the editor on this issue in the coming weeks. Please email us at advocacy@lwv.org if you are interested in getting involved with this issue.

League Urges Congress to Lift Severe Caps on Discretionary Spending

LWVUS joined organizations connected to the Coalition on Human Needs on a letter urging members of Congress to lift severe caps on domestic and international discretionary spending in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. Failure to raise the caps would result in sharply reduced funding for domestic and international discretionary programs (together known as “non-defense” or NDD) from $597 billion in FY 2019 to $543 billion in FY 2020, a $54 billion drop, or 9 percent, not counting inflation. Read the letter here.

League Urges OMB to Review Considerations for Poverty Threshold Calculations

LWVUS joined organizations connected to the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) on a letter expressing collective concern with revising the methodology for adjusting the official poverty measure or poverty thresholds. The letter urges the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consider the potential impacts to people relying on financial assistance tied to poverty thresholds before making any changes. Read the letter here.

League Urges Co-Sponsorship of Resolution Establishing Democracy Month

The League of Women Voters sent a memo to U.S. Senators urging them to co-sponsor S. Res 252, a resolution to establish September as National Democracy Month. Read the memo here.

Membership

2019 LWVUS Council Highlights

The 2019 National Council of state League leaders convened June 20 - 23 in Leesburg, Virginia for four days of trainings, presentations, and networking. Check out some of the takeaways and messages here.

Photography/Videography Notice and Release Forms

We have created waivers and notice templates for Leagues to use when conducting photo and video shoots of your events. It is important to use these forms in order to protect the League's right to photos and videos recorded for organic and promotional use. You can find these templates here. They are also provided as a link under Resources on the Brand Standards page.

Call for Nominations for the 2020-22 LWVUS Board and Nominating Committee

Applications are now available for the 2020-22 LWVUS Board and Nominating Committee. To learn more about these amazing leadership opportunities, please review the FAQ and job descriptions for LWVUS Board and Nominating Committee or contact the LWVUS Nominating Committee at nominatingcommittee@lwv.org. Consider submitting an application or recommending another leader!

LEAGUE LEADERS

Special Notifications: Please do not reply to this message. For additional information, contact the individual listed or visit our websites: lwv.org and the League Management Site. To help keep your members informed, consider forwarding this bi-weekly message. Want to sign up to receive this email? Use this form. 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.

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