September 5, 2013
In This Issue:
- Day of Action on Keystone XL Pipeline (NEW)
- TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Fix the Voting Rights Act (Reminder)
EDUCATION FUND- - Elections
- How are you promoting your National Voter Registration Day event? Communications Toolkit Available (NEW)
- New Wisconsin Election Bill Raises Concerns (NEW)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- Apply to be Part of the LWVUS Board: Deadline Sept 30 (NEW)
- Alaska and Utah Leagues Participate in Leadership Training (NEW)
- Constitution Day is September 17: Template Available (Reminder)
Glad You Asked!
This section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know.
As a new League leader, I want to make sure that I’m using my leadership team’s time as effectively as possible. Do you have any tips on running a meeting?
League leaders are known for their ability to run effective and efficient meetings. It is a wonderful and transferable skill (i.e., something that can help in all aspects of our lives). There are some tips available on the LWVUS website to help foster this skill. Glance at our tips for successful meetings, and refer to Appendix N to learn more about effective, streamlined board meetings.
Fifty years ago, Jim Crow laws were naked, unapologetic barriers to voting. Today, new voter suppression laws, what the Reverend Al Sharpton refers to as James Crow, Jr., Esq., are presented as common sense protection of the election process or as sensible cost saving measures. Since the Supreme Court effectively ended preclearance of the laws of certain jurisdictions by the Department of Justice (DOJ) through the Voting Rights Act (VRA), state governments have rushed to implement restrictive voter photo ID, proof of citizenship and cutbacks in early voting. These laws have received much media attention and the DOJ is intervening in states like Texas using the remaining remedies available under the VRA.
Getting less attention are local changes that could have dramatic impact on access to the polls. A recent example comes from Carroll County, Georgia where the County Registrar and County Commission had agreed to reduce the number of polling places from six to three. Carroll County, west of Atlanta and almost on the Georgia/Alabama line, is also the home of the University of West Georgia. While the Commission and the Registrar promised opportunities for public comment, the reduction in polling sites popped up on the commission agenda without any comment period. Fortunately for the voters in Carroll County, the League of Women Voters of Carrollton-Carroll County was paying attention. Rallying local partners, the League insisted that the Commission reconsider this decision. After discussions with city and county officials, the Commission agreed to stop plans for consolidation of polling sites.
The stated reasons for the change were cost savings enabled by the popularity of early voting. While this may indeed be the motivation of those proposing the changes, it is these local actions that produce long lines at the polls in certain areas on Election Day. Such a move would have required approval of DOJ prior to the Shelby County decision, but now we must step up to demand careful consideration of any such changes.
The League is ideally suited to the task. State Leagues have been very active in fighting voter suppression measures and have had some notable successes in places such as PA, FL and SC and beyond. Now it is time, at the local level, for the League to take action. Whether or not there are elections in your community this year, now is a good time to contact your local elections officials to discuss plans for the next election. In doing so, remember that James Crow, Jr., Esq. impacts a broad group of voters from racial and ethnic minorities to the young, the elderly and the disabled. By taking local action, we have an opportunity to insure that our elections remain free, fair and accessible.
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.
Day of Action on Keystone XL Pipeline (NEW)
On September 21, organizations from around the country will gather for a day of action around the Keystone XL pipeline. The League is not a partner of this event, but if you are interested in getting involved with an event in your area visit the 350.org webpage and sign up.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Fix the Voting Rights Act (Reminder)
We have had a tremendous response from Leaguers telling their members of Congress to work quickly to repair and restore the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Please continue to take action on this important issue and encourage your friends to do the same. We have also had many local Leagues submit letters to the editor about the importance of fixing the VRA. We have compiled a list of letters that have been published in papers around the country. If your League has had a letter published, please forward a link to be included on our website to Kelly Ceballos.
How are you promoting your National Voter Registration Day event? Communications Toolkit Available (NEW)
Is your League participating in National Voter Registration Day? Make sure your community—especially potential new voters—know about your event! First, please be sure to register your event(s) on the NVRD main website by clicking on the link recently sent to your email by Maggie Duncan. Then, be sure to download the handy toolkit and template communications materials. The time to start promoting your events is right now! Read about some of the exciting plans underway in our new blog post.
New Wisconsin Election Bill Raises Concerns (NEW)
Legislation proposed by a Wisconsin lawmaker is raising some issues for groups that seek to promote voting rights in Wisconsin. Read this article to see what LWVWI Executive Director Andrea Kaminski has to say about the proposed bill.
Membership & leadership
Apply to be Part of the LWVUS Board: Deadline Sept 30 (NEW)
The Nominating Committee does not actually nominate people. You, the members, do that. Working through our nominating process, the Nominating Committee puts together a slate from recommendations you send to us or from recommendation forms sent to us by members you have encouraged to take the next step in leadership and nominate themselves. We actively solicit recommendations but we can only work with the completed recommendation forms we have received from the membership. Bottom line: It all comes down to you. Please help the Nominating Committee build another great LWVUS Board! Read our FAQ for all you need to know on the nominating process.
Alaska and Utah Leagues Participate in Leadership Training (NEW)
Representatives from across Alaska and Montana gathered in Salt Lake City for a two-day LWV leadership training. Facilitated by LWVUS Board member Susan Wilson, staff member Kelly McFarland Stratman and national coaches Linda Mahan (CO) and Haley Richards (FL), participants explored ways to build upon their programmatic work by generating more visibility, attracting new members, and developing new leaders. Read Haley's blog about the experience. Leadership training is part of the Membership & Leadership Development Program and is funded by the Fund for Local League Growth.
Constitution Day is September 17: Template Available (Reminder)
Customize this press release template to draw attention to Constitution Day, the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17.
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