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The League Update
April 8, 2021

Friend,

Our fight for an equitable democracy continues as we combat restrictive voting bills in many states and push for the Senate to pass the For the People Act (S1).

We know a major threat to S1 is the use of the filibuster by those who oppose to the bill. Last week, our CEO Virginia Kase released a statement announcing the League’s support for Senate filibuster reform. Reforming the filibuster rules is crucial for the health and safety of our democracy, and to ensure that senators do what voters have elected them to do. Read our latest blog on the filibuster, which goes into the history of it, how its use impacts communities or color and women, and why we support reforming its rules. 

As we push for filibuster reform, I encourage you to keep reaching out to your senators to urge them to vote for S1 and ask your League and personal networks to do the same. Please continue to share our action alert on your social media channels and email communications. 

I am excited that we are only few weeks away from our People Powered Day of Action! Many Leagues have already signed up to participate and are being added to our day of action landing page. I hope those of you who have not yet signed up will be joining us in making redistricting a nationwide priority. It is not too late to sign up your League to participate!

We have created some resources to support League participation in the day of action. On the League Management Site, Leagues can find a League social media toolkit, which includes sample posts and graphics. People Powered Day of Action League Resources also has tons of resources compiled for Leagues to support their day of action events. 

Looking ahead, we are expecting a vote on DC Statehood (HR51) in the US House of Representatives and a hearing on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the weeks to come. 

Finally, I want to remind you all to take a moment to recharge and enjoy the spring weather as we continue to juggle many priorities. Continue to wear your masks and stay safe!

 

In League, 

Deborah Ann Turner, MD, JD

Deborah

Campaign for MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK®


Your People Powered Day of Action Events on the Event Page!

With only three weeks left until the People Powered Day of Action on April 29, we are excited to begin promoting all the amazing events Leagues are hosting across the country! As event details are finalized, we are adding them to our national event landing page. To be included on the event page, please register your event with complete details (including the link). All Leagues that register their events by April 10 will be entered into a raffle and eligible win $250! We are continuing to add new resources to our Day of Action resource page to support you as you finalize your plans. If you have any questions or need additional support, reach out to organizing@lwv.org.

Training: Using Digital Organizing to Advance Redistricting Reform

On April 15, at 1pm ET, join StateVoices, the League of Women Voters, and other democracy reform partners for a training to review key digital organizing concepts and best practices that you can apply to your redistricting efforts on the ground. This training is open to all. Register now!

Invite Your Friends to the People Powered Day of Action!

People Powered Day of Action events, on April 29, provide an opportunity for every person to find an event near them and get involved! On April 27, LWVUS will host a friendbank, where League members, volunteers, and partners can come together to promote their events and invite their friends and family to attend an event near them. Don’t know what a friendbank is? Check out our FAQ. Join us on April 27, at 4:30pm ET, as we invite our friends and families to attend our People Powered Day of Action. Sign up to join us!

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 through 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. Join us on Wednesday, April 21, at 3 pm ET, 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.

Webinar: LWV Semi-Annual Survey 

Join us on May 4, 2021, for a webinar to discuss our second Semi-Annual Survey. During this conversation, we will be joined by LWV Board Members to discuss the areas of focus for the survey and learn about supports to help you track and report on your League’s data. Contact Amilcar Guzman, Ph.D., Director of Evaluation and Outcomes with any questions at aguzman@lwv.org. Register now.

Introducing LWV Redistricting Speakers Bureau Program

As part of our People Powered Fair MapsTM work, the advocacy team has created a collection of materials to help your League create their 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.

LWVUS Opposes Voter Choice Ballot

A new proposal for electoral college reform, known as the "Voter Choice Ballot," has some groups advocating for individual states to enact laws that could unilaterally award their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. A ballot question would appear alongside the presidential vote, asking if voters "want the candidate who receives the most votes in the nation to become the president?" For every voter who votes "yes" on the question but voted for anyone other than the national popular vote winner, their vote will be transferred to the opposing candidate who won the national popular vote, for purposes of determining the winner of that state's electoral votes. The LWVUS National Popular Vote Task Force opposes this measure. Simply put, this proposal would not make every vote equal, would not guarantee the presidency to the candidate who wins the most votes in all 50 states and D.C., and would not solve the problem of most states and voters being ignored in the general election. We expect to have more information available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Leagues working on the Electoral College in your states and communities should refer to our National Popular Vote Task Force page.

LWV CEO Virginia Kase Written Testimony on S1

LWVUS is proud to share written testimony from our CEO Virginia Kase in support of the For The People Act (S1). On March 24, the Senate Rules Committee held a full committee hearing on S1. LWVUS submitted testimony expressing our support for the bill. Read the testimony.

The For the People Act Promises Redistricting Reform

The For the People Act is the democracy reform bill the American people want and deserve. But we often overlook its redistricting reforms and the real transformative change they promise. Over the decades, we have seen the consequences of heavily gerrymandered districts that prioritize political power over representation. The For the People Act takes important steps toward reforming redistricting so that maps are drawn fairly and all voices are valued. The democracy package would require independent redistricting commissions, standardize criteria informing map drawing, and inject much needed transparency into the process. Read more on our blog.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

April Webinar: Applying a DEI Lens to Data Collection

Join us and guest presenter Amilcar Guzman, Ph.D., LWVUS Director of Outcomes and Evaluations, for our April webinar. We’ll discuss the importance of demographic information collection and best practices for collecting it. The webinar is on April 22, at 7pm ET. Register now!

DEI Policy

As state and local Leagues prepare for their conventions and annual meetings, we wanted to remind you of the November 2020 webinar by our Governance and DEI committees. This webinar discussed what the DEI Policy-related bylaws amendment, passed at the LWVUS 2020 Convention, means for all Leagues and offered tips for crafting your League’s DEI policy. Find a recording of the webinar and associated resources.

DEI Success Story: LWVs of Kittitas County (WA) and Skagit County (WA)

We recently spoke with two members of LWV of Washington local Leagues about their Cultivating Civic Conversations project. Cultivating Civic Conversations is a project developed by Katherine Murphy (LWV of Kittitas County) and Wende Sanderson (LWV of Skagit County), and its group sessions are promoted and cosponsored by their Leagues. Read the full story. 

News of the Week

In 2016, Crystal Mason was sentenced to five years in prison for mistakenly casting a provisional ballot while on supervised release. Now her case is headed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and LWVUS Chief Counsel Celina Stewart weighed in on what this case says to voters wishing to exercise their rights. Read the story from the New York Times.

While many states around the country are considering legislation to restrict voting rights, New Jersey recently voted to expand them. LWV of New Jersey Executive Director Jesse Burns applauded the move in a recent New York Times story.

LWV of Texas has partnered with the NAACP and LULAC to urge corporations to stand up for voting rights in the state. Their pressure campaign slogan: "Democracy is good for business." Read about their work.

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.

Rep the League: Congressional Interview Program Is Under Construction!

In January, the League released our revamped congressional interview program: Rep the League! We asked League advocates to meet with their congressional delegation and report back by June 1, 2021. Given the passage of several bills in the House, we are updating our interview questions. All other materials are the same. We will publish the revised guidance on the League Management Site soon. In the meantime, check out our original guidance, including a background on congressional interviews, meeting tips, and information on reporting back to LWVUS and reach out to mschumacher@lwv.org with any questions.

League Endorses Creation of U.S. Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation

As part of its commitment to continuing the fight for racial justice in our democracy, the League endorsed H.Con.Res.19 and S.Con.Res.6, concurrent resolutions urging the establishment of a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation. We notified Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) of our support. Read the letter.

Invitation: UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland!

Now is the time to consider attending the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, November 12, 2021. If interested, please contact Robin Tokmakian (rtokmakian@lwv.org) to request an application form or complete the form here. Any questions can be addressed to Robin. Please note, travel restrictions due to Covid-19 may apply. This is a self-funded opportunity. The application deadline is June 1, 2021.

United Nations Event Recording: We Have Your Back

Last month, the LWVUS United Nations delegates and observers participated in CSW65, the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. CSW is the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment. A recording of the League’s side event, We Have Your Back: Breaking the Cycle from Online Harassment to Threats to Violence against Women & Girl Leaders is available to watch now.

Membership

LWVUS Webinars for State Conventions and Annual Meetings

LWVUS is excited to launch a League Management Site page containing pre-recorded webinars for use during state conventions and annual meetings! This page contains a myriad of webinars and videos, supporting materials, and resources for hosting your virtual events. From increasing your engagement on social media to learning about democracy as a social justice issue, these sessions can be added into your workshop agenda with ease. Though we regret that we can’t be with all of you in person, we hope these resources reach a larger audience than ever before. New additions this week include a welcome message from Virginia Kase and a brand new, multi-faceted DEI webinar titled “Powering Democracy Through Our DEI Lens.”

2021 Council  

Registration for the 2021 Council will open soon. We thank you for your patience as we build a new registration platform for this event. Council will take place virtually from June 24 – June 27. States are invited to send up to four state level leaders at a registration cost of $150 per person. Find the schedule here. Contact cdavis@lwv.org if you have any questions. 

Photo/Video Release Forms

As we gear up for the day of action and slowly began to transition to having in-person events again, this is a reminder that photo/video release form and notice of filming and photography templates are available on the League Management Site. We encourage Leagues to use these forms when there is filming and photography at events to ensure that participants, guests, and/or volunteers consent to being recorded.

LEAGUE LEADERS

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