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The League Update
February 25, 2021

Pictures of Black LWVUS staff at rallies and events

Friend,

February has been a time for celebration! This month we celebrated our 101st birthday, reinforcing our commitment to nonpartisanship despite the hyper-partisan times we are in. We are still celebrating Black History Month, expressing gratitude for the contributions to voting rights advancement from Black people, reflecting on the work that needs to be done to ensure that Black people have equal opportunity, and celebrating the Black history in the making within our organization.

Looking ahead to March – Women’s History Month begins next week, and this is the right time to advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to finally be added to our constitution. Leagues have worked passionately for decades to see the ERA ratified by the states, and 2021 is the year that we could get it past the finish line. We also anticipate the For the People Act (HR 1) to pass in the House early March. There is still time to make sure your representatives are supporting HR 1. We expect the Senate version of the For the People Act, S 1, will be introduced in the coming days.

I also want to address the blatant voter suppression tactics being used by several states. Since the 2020 election, we have seen more than 100 voter suppression bills in state legislatures across the country. As Leagues continue to assess the potential impact of these bills, the LWVUS Election task force will be monitoring what's happening and working with states to develop a unified approach to push back on these bills and to fight any bad laws that threaten our mission to empower voters and defend democracy. In 2020, we helped millions of voters gain access to the ballot. In 2021, we cannot let these bills take us backwards.

I am thinking of those of you in Texas and other states who were impacted by last week's winter storms. Please continue to stay safe! 

 

In League, 

Deborah Ann Turner, MD, JD

Deborah

Campaign for MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK®


Save the Date! People Powered Day of Action April 29, 2021

Since the 2020 census and election cycle have wrapped up, redistricting is on everyone’s mind. On April 29, 2021, we are hosting a People Powered Day of Action as an opportunity for state and local Leagues and partners across the country to come together to shine a light on the redistricting process and demand fair maps. Leagues throughout the country will be hosting a variety of local, state, and national events to increase public awareness about and engagement in the redistricting process to ensure public input on how our maps are drawn. As you plan your (virtual or safely in person) events and activities for Day of Action, please register all events!

We held our February Community Call on February 23 to discuss our Day of Action. During the meeting, we discussed the goals for the Day of Action and League members brainstormed some awesome ideas for engaging their communities around redistricting! Check out the call recording and our Frequently Asked Questions about the People Powered Day of Action. Reach out to the Organizing Team at organizing@lwv.org with additional questions!

LWVUS will have a more public announcement of the Day of Action next month. Please refrain from sharing the planning tools at this time.

Join us March 3: For The People Act “Friendbank”

The For the People Act (HR1) is expected to be brought to a vote in the House of Representatives soon! HR1 is a top priority for the League of Women Voters because it addresses some of the most pressing issues facing our democracy. To get this bill passed, we need to contact our representatives and mobilize our networks to do the same! Inviting our own friends, families, and acquaintances to take action builds our collective power by multiplying our efforts and showing our representatives we are watching and care about these reforms.

Join LWVUS for our “Friendbank” on March 3 from 5 – 6 pm ET for the opportunity to engage your friends, family, and networks in this crucial work of democracy reform! We will have a brief training on how to use our relational organizing tool, OutreachCircle, to contact your networks via text and/or email, and then spend some time in breakout rooms contacting our family and friends together. Sign up now!

Voter Registration Webinar: Recording and Resources

Thank you to those that were able to join us for our Voter Registration: Maintaining Our Momentum webinar on February 11. We discussed how to continue registering and engaging our communities as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and learned some best practices that we can use to sustain our impact. Also check out our guidance on conducting voter registration activities during COVID-19 and a list of ideas for planning your own voter registration and engagement activities.

Continuing to Counter Disinformation about Elections

Mis- and disinformation about the 2020 election continues across social media and fringe media outlets. These lies have spurred violence and continue to threaten our democracy. The only way to effectively win against the lies is to avoid spreading them and counter with facts. If you see a lie about elections on social media, do not engage with it. Do not comment or share, even to provide the truth. Any engagement will boost the algorithm and ensure the false post is seen by more users, which helps the disinformation spread more. Use your platforms to instill confidence in our elections and continue to celebrate the remarkable resilience of the American voters in 2020 who made their voices heard. You can use our mis- and disinformation graphic series on social media to help get out the right message.

Webinar: How to Effectively Assess Litigation Opportunities

Following the 2020 election, LWV has seen a surge in bills across the country that restrict voting, drastically reduce mail-in voting options, and seek to implement strict voter ID. As these bills are being steamrolled in legislatures across the country, more Leagues have reached out to talk about potential strategies to fight back. The League’s mission to empower voters and defend democracy is often achieved through strategic litigation, particularly when centered around our Making Democracy Work® issues. Last year, Leagues engaged in over 60 lawsuits in state and federal court on topics ranging from COVID-19’s effect on voting rights, redistricting, voter access and participation, campaign finance, and climate change. Join us for a candid discussion on how to evaluate potential litigation opportunities in the wake of aggressive voter restrictive laws. This webinar is ideal for state presidents, state board members, and advocacy chairs. Register now.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

March DEI Webinar: Gender Identity

All are welcome to join us on March 11 at 7pm ET for our monthly webinar. The topic for March will be gender identity and will explore the terminology of gender identity and how issues such as trans rights intersect with our League work. Register now.

Spotlight on the DEI Lens

A DEI lens is a way of examining a program, a process, a product, etc., with regards to how it is perceived by a variety of communities, voices, and perspectives. Through the lens, we look at what, if any, barriers may exist that prevent the project from being equitable or inclusive of everyone. This lens consists of a series of questions that Leagues are encouraged to include in their planning and discussions.

News of the Week

New Jersey is the only state that allows political parties to help determine how candidates appear on the ballot. The result is a system that diminishes the power of voters and ensures that politically connected candidates are elected over and over again, LWV of New Jersey explains in an op-ed.

LWV of Kentucky released poll results which suggest that majority of Kentuckians support automatic voting rights restoration. Read about their extensive work to restore voting rights in Kentucky.

LWV of Montana president, Nancy Leifer, spoke out against SB169 in Montana, which will create more voter restrictions with voter ID laws.

Advocacy

Upcoming Policy Webinar Schedule     

Check our page on the League Management Site to see a listing of all future and past webinars from the LWVUS Advocacy and Litigation team! Webinars will cover setting Legislative priorities, putting together action alerts, policy briefings on legislative issues, and preparing for your next legislative session. Currently, webinars are scheduled through April 2021.

LWV Redistricting Speakers Bureau Program 

We are happy to share with you all our new Speakers Bureau Program. As part of our People Powered Fair Maps work, the advocacy team has created a packet on how your League can create your own redistricting focused speakers bureau. This packet has all the information you need to start recruiting, advertising, and building out your own speakers bureau program. Find the packet on the League Management site. 

Rep the League Is Happening Now!

The League has released our revamped congressional interview program: Rep the League! The 117th Congress provides League advocates with an extra opportunity to connect with freshman and returning lawmakers. State and local Leagues are expected to interview their congressional delegate and report back by June 1, 2021. Read our guidance, find a background on congressional interviews, meeting tips, and information on reporting back to LWVUS on the League Management Site.

League Calls for TPS Protections for Mexican Immigrants 

LWV joins over 125 advocacy and civil rights organizations to call upon President Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to exercise their executive authority to designate Mexico for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as a result of the country’s worsening COVID-19 crisis. Read the letter.

LWV Calls on Biden to Reinstate Moratorium on Death Penalty   

League urges President Biden to fulfill his promise of equality, equity, and justice in our criminal legal system by immediately commuting the sentences of all individuals under federal sentence of death and reinstating the federal moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Read the letter.

LWV Joins Amicus to U.S. Supreme Court, Cochran v. Gresham

The League joined our partners at the National Women’s Law Center and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in a case involving challenges to Health and Human Services approval of Medicaid demonstration projects in Arkansas and New Hampshire that impose work requirements as the condition for receiving Medicaid benefits, among other coverage changes. In the brief, we highlight the devastating impact that these projects will have on women and people of color, and underrepresented communities. Read our press release.

ORGANIZING

Follow LWVUS on OutreachCircle!      

Want to stay engaged with empowering voters and defending democracy efforts? Follow the League of Women Voters U.S. on OutreachCircle, our one-stop shop for resources, action alerts, and volunteer opportunities. You can even use this tool to send emails and texts to your network and post on social media! The LWVUS Organizing Team regularly posts updates on our Circle to make sure our supporters stay in the loop! Click here to join the LWVUS OutreachCircle! (You will be prompted to create an account.)

Membership

Meeting Planning Resources    

As many Leagues get ready to plan a busy spring of virtual meetings, we want to remind you of the resources available to help with planning:

2021 Council    

Planning for the virtual 2021 Council, on June 24-27, is underway. Registration will open in April to allow us to build the platform for this virtual event. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Roster Manager Portal Updates  

There are two feature enhancements rolling out to the Roster Manager Portal in the coming weeks:

1. Leagues will be given direct control over what email address receives mail generated from the “Find Your Local League” section of the LWVUS website. Additional details on this change will be sent directly to roster managers.
2. State abbreviations will be standardized for addresses. We will be ensuring that the states are always the standard two letter code and not spelled out. This will help with overall data integrity and reporting and make data entry a little easier.

Guidance for Building a Strong Board

Revisit the League Management page for Recruiting and Building Strong Boards! On this page you can find a recording of a webinar presented by LWV staff on building strong boards and a list of resources like components of a board orientation, the LWV DEI Lens, and a sample board member job description.

Staff Highlight

Meet Our VOTE411 Project Coordinator  

Isamar Garcia-Hernandez is the VOTE411 Project Coordinator for the League of Women Voters. In this role, Isamar ensures that voting information is both accurate and accessible for voters in all 50 states and Washington D.C. on the VOTE411.org website, in addition to serving hundreds of state and local Leagues providing election information through the online voters' guide. Before joining the League, Isamar completed a Public Policy Fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in the office of Congressman Joaquin Castro. Isamar is originally from Springdale, Arkansas, where she first gained experience in local organizing and advocacy through political campaigns and various organizations.  In her free time, you can find Isamar on any given outdoor adventure or sipping on the best local chai.

LEAGUE LEADERS

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