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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

August 8, 2013

In This Issue:

ADVOCACY

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Fix the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
  • March for the Dream on August 24th (NEW Information)
  • League Sends Letter to FEC Commissioners (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Sign Up for National Voter Registration Day by September 1st and Receive Free Materials (NEW)
  • FREE WEBINAR TRAINING: Voter Registration Tips and Best Practices - Aug 22 at 3 PM EDT (NEW)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Planning a Calendar for the Coming League Year (NEW)

OTHER

  • LWV Clearinghouse: the perfect place to find studies and share your own (NEW)

Glad You Asked!

This new section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know.

We will be responding to questions we receive from League leaders across the county. 

Recently, I heard the term “membership ambassadors.” Who are they and what do they do? 

“Membership ambassador” is a term that sprung up as part of the Membership & Leadership Development (MLD) program.    In short, “ambassadors” are a designated group of members who are trained to effectively and consistently communicate the value of membership to non-members at League events. The main job of the ambassador is to welcome non-members, share their own personal story about being part of the League (e.g., why they joined and the impact it has had on their lives), and most importantly, to ASK others to join the League!

Read more about “membership ambassadors” and other welcoming techniques your League can use to attract new members.

Send your question to kmcfarland@lwv.org with "Glad You Asked" in the subject line.

Dear Supporter,

This week marked the 48th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. As we remember how important the VRA has been in guaranteeing that our elections are free, fair and accessible to every eligible voter, we must resolve to do everything we can to continue to protect voting rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. While much attention has been devoted to state action following the decision – Texas, Alabama and Mississippi all rushed to enact restrictive voter photo ID and North Carolina passed legislation likely to suppress the vote in that state – an even greater threat to voting may result from seemingly innocuous local decisions regarding polling place resources.

Voter ID requirements, cut backs to early voting and unfair redistricting represent what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg called, in her dissent, ‘second generation’ repressive practices, but decisions impacting polling place locations, hours and resources threaten to have an equally repressive impact, regardless of the intent of the decision makers. Reducing the number  and accessibility of polling places, along with their hours, and budget cuts to registrar’s offices receive very little attention until the day of an election when the long lines and confusion that results are apparent for all to see. Action at the state or national level occurs in the glare of a media spotlight that rarely falls on myriad local decisions.

But the League of Women Voters is a true grassroots organization with roots in many communities. We understand the importance of local resources, and we are ready with the tools to discover and perhaps event prevent decisions that will have disastrous results on Election Day. This is the time to strengthen relations with local elections officials, to attend local elections board meetings to ask questions and, if necessary, insist on open meetings, open records and public notice of polling place changes. Now is the time to recruit poll workers and observers and to educate our communities as to how elections really work.

Activities such as these at the local level can have impacts all the way to Congress. The more that voters understand how elections are really run, and the more information we, as advocates, can collect about the impact of election changes in our communities, the better positioned we will be to overcome proponents of voter suppression and fix the VRA in Congress. We know how to do this. Let’s get out there and, in the words of Representative John Lewis, let’s get in the way!

In League,
Description: Elisabeth

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League Leaders:
To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. 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. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.

Advocacy

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Fix the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
Earlier this summer the U.S. Supreme Court erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been critical in protecting our democracy. The damage to the Voting Rights Act (VRA) can and must be fixed – Congress has the power to act swiftly to restore the effectiveness of the VRA. Tell your members of Congress to work quickly to repair and restore the VRA. Check out our most recent blog on Huffington Post about the 48th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

March for the Dream on August 24th (NEW Information)
The League is a partner of the 50th anniversary March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This celebratory event is Saturday, August 24th from 8 AM- 2 PM at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. We are encouraging League members to let us know if they are coming by filling out a short registration form. The League is not providing funds for buses for those wishing to come from far away, but many buses are coming from various points around the country. Information about buses can be obtained at the National Action Network website or by calling 877-626-4651.

League Sends Letter to FEC Commissioners (NEW)
The League joined other reform groups on a letter sent to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding the agency's enforcement manual. The letter expresses opposition to a statement made by Representative Candice Miller (R-MI) and urges the FEC Commissioners to hold off approving the Enforcement Manual until a balanced commission can make sure that decisions are not being made on a partisan basis.

education fund - elections

Sign Up for National Voter Registration Day by September 1st and Receive Free Materials (NEW)
Don’t miss out. Join the 190+ Leagues that have already signed up to host a voter registration drive on this year’s National Voter Registration Day (Tuesday, September 24, 2013). Visit www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org  before September 1st to sign up your League to host a registration drive in your community. You’ll receive free posters and other materials when you sign up. Follow the League’s Facebook and Twitter pages for lots of exciting updates about National Voter Registration Day (NRVD).

FREE WEBINAR TRAINING: Voter Registration Tips and Best Practices - Aug 22 at 3 PM EDT (NEW)
Need a refresher course on effective voter registration drives? Want to engage new volunteers in voter registration? Join LWVEF experts for an interactive training webinar covering all you need to know to conduct successful voter registration in 2013 and 2014! Learn helpful time-saving tips and share your own experiences with your colleagues across the country. Sign up for the free training webinar. The webinar will start promptly at 3 PM EDT on Thursday, 8/22, and last about one hour.

Membership & leadership

Planning a Calendar for the Coming League Year (NEW)
Community organizers will tell you that one of the secrets to success is to be intentional about each action taken – and to plan them all out in advance. With new local and state boards settling in to their roles, now is the perfect time to get intentional about planning for the year ahead. Learn more about planning for the League year in this Membership & Leadership Development (MLD) program memo.

OTHER

LWV Clearinghouse:  the perfect place to find studies and share your own (Reminder)
The Clearinghouse is organized by LWVUS positions - Government, International Relations, Natural Resources, and Social Policy and provides information, links to and actual documents on the study plus an easy way to contact League for more information. Just a click away: http://clearinghouse.lwv.org.

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Phone: 202-429-1965

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