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The League Update

February 13, 2014

Dear Friend,

Tomorrow, we will be just six years away from celebrating 100 years of making democracy work. As I sit at my desk in Atlanta watching the sleet and ice from winter storm Pax coat my yard and my trees, praying that I don’t lose power, I am grateful for all the work our founders did to guarantee my right to vote and make my voice heard on issues like climate change. I am equally determined that the League of Women Voters will continue to be a voice for citizens and a force for change now and in the future.

This anniversary, like every anniversary, is a wonderful time to take stock of all the League has meant to the nation, to the states and to hundreds of local communities. Let's celebrate our proud history together as well as the impact being made today by thousands of volunteer and community League leaders. Tomorrow we can celebrate the League’s birthday by supporting the efforts of the EPA to control carbon pollution, a major cause of the climate change that we can see all around us in the form of ever increasing, ever more severe storms. We can send a message to Congress urging swift passage of the Voting Rights Act Amendment of 2014 insuring, in the words of our founder Carrie Chapman Catt, that ‘every responsible….adult…without regard to race, sex, color, or creed has his or her own…voice in government.” We will continue our important elections work, planning and executing voters’ service plans, and registering and educating voters in this important election year. And we will weigh in with our own comments on the proposed IRS rules regarding 501(c )(4)s and provide guidance to Leagues on this vital issue in the very near future.

With so many state legislative sessions well under way, we can urge our state representatives to protect our environment, expand Medicaid, and guarantee that our elections are free, fair and accessible to every eligible voter. In this federal election year, we will use our trusted, nonpartisan voice and local relationships to encourage our elections officials to adopt the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration so that as we administer our elections this fall, we put voters first and politics aside.

Our founders understood the importance of voting and the critical role of citizens in a democracy. Their legacy was decades of struggle just to get the right to cast a ballot. Our legacy is the commitment of our founders and all our predecessors to the cause of a government truly of, by and for all the people. Every time we speak up for our cause or go out in our community to engage new voters we honor that legacy.

The League was founded to finish the fight, to serve as a living memorial to the cause of universal suffrage. We are that League. Let’s finish the fight!

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.

In This Issue:

CONVENTION

  • Wares Market at Convention 2014 (NEW)
  • Request Caucus Space at National Convention (Reminder)
  • Learn More about Convention 2014: Join the Webinar on February 26 at 3 pm ET (Reminder)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • New Look for the Members Area of League Website (NEW)
  • Win an Award for Your League’s Good Work – Deadline March 1 (Reminder)

ADVOCACY

  • League Supports EAC Decision to Reject Proof of Citizenship Requirement (NEW)
  • League Urges U.S. House Committee to Oppose Legislation Stalling New IRS 501(c)(4) Regulations (NEW)
  • Presidential Election Commission Recommends Election Changes to U.S. Senate (NEW)
  • Keystone XL Report Deeply Disappointing, Misguided (NEW)
  • Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)
  • Support EPA's Limits on Carbon Pollution (Reminder)

EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS

  • Georgia moves to shorten early voting – LWV Georgia Responds (NEW)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Read Our Huffington Post Blog on the League’s 94th Birthday! (NEW)

OTHER

  • Agriculture Update (NEW) 
  • Congratulations to Jody Lang Bender, Pennsylvania League of Women Voters Board Director! (NEW)
  • Program Planning (Reminder)

Convention

Wares Market at Convention 2014 (NEW)
State or local Leagues wishing to exhibit and/or sell wares at Convention 2014 are invited to request a table in the Wares Market, which will be located in the foyer outside the plenary ballroom.  Typical wares market items sold by Leagues at conventions include pins, bags, posters, books and other small- to mid-size items.  The Wares Market will be open from Saturday through Tuesday when there is no plenary session or special event scheduled.  

Request Caucus Space at National Convention (Reminder)
Interested in holding a caucus at Convention 2014? More information is available here. All requests should be made using the online form. Space is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Questions? Contact Vicky Strella at vstrella@lwv.org.

Learn More about Convention 2014: Join the Webinar on February 26 at 3 pm ET (Reminder)
Curious about what happens at a national convention? Do you want to know the specifics of this year’s convention in Dallas? Join national Board and staff for an informational webinar about Convention 2014 on February 26, at 3:00 pm ET. Register here to participate! Until then, visit our Convention 2014 page to see what is planned and visit the Convention Forum for the latest discussion!

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Glad You Asked!

This section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know. If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

This week, we are changing the focus of this area. Instead of answering a question, we’d like to ask one of you: How is your League marking the League’s 94th birthday?

Send your responses to membership@lwv.org with “Birthday” in the subject line.

Happy Birthday to us!

If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

Membership & leadership

New Look for the Members Area of League Website (NEW)
In celebration of the League’s 94th birthday we are excited to announce that you will be seeing an updated Members’ website next week! Based on feedback from many of you, we have redesigned our Members’ site to be more user-friendly and allow for customization based upon the information each League leader and member most needs.

As we prepare to launch these improvements, take a moment to login to the Forums and read our recent blogs (you can find them on the Forums homepage) that previews what you can expect to see in the streamlined Member areas, like the new Our Work section and the Manage Your League sections.

To access the League Forums, you must be logged into the LWV.org member system. If you don't know your login or need additional directions to get you Started on the Forums, a quick guide is available on the lwv.org website under Members > League Essentials >> Blogs / Lists.

Win an Award for Your League’s Good Work – Deadline March 1 (Reminder)
Power: Our Voices, Our Votes Awards will reflect the Leagues’ work to strengthen our democracy, including protecting the right to vote and advocating for change. Leagues may apply for awards in four categories: Effective Member Engagement, Strengthening Democracy, High Impact Online Engagement, and Community Connection. Finalists will be announced on www.lwv.org, and the winners will be announced at Convention 2014. To learn more or apply, click here. All applications are due by March 1.

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Advocacy

League Supports EAC Decision to Reject Proof of Citizenship Requirement (NEW)
The League filed a merits brief in the U.S. District Court in Kansas supporting a decision by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to reject a request from Kansas and Arizona to require proof of citizenship with the national mail voter registration form. The League argues the EAC was correct in rejecting the request because the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), the existing regulations and EAC policy all consistently hold that documentary proof of citizenship cannot be required by a state when the applicant uses the federal form. You can also read our press release on this hearing.

League Urges U.S. House Committee to Oppose Legislation Stalling New IRS 501(c)(4) Regulations (NEW)
LWVUS joined coalition partners on a letter to members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee urging them to defeat legislation blocking new IRS regulations related to 501(c)(4) organizations. The League believes new regulations are needed to stop the “dark money” abuses that have injected millions in secret money into candidate campaigns; the League also believes the proposed regulations need to be modified to ensure that truly nonpartisan voter service activities are allowed.

Presidential Election Commission Recommends Election Changes to U.S. Senate (NEW)
The Presidential Election Commission (PCEA) presented its final report to the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing entitled, “Bipartisan Support for Improving U.S. Elections: An Overview from the PCEA.” The League has called the report solid and comprehensive and an important boost to efforts to fix our election system while pointing to shortcomings in the report related to online voter registration.

Keystone XL Report Deeply Disappointing, Misguided (NEW)
The U.S. Department of State released its final Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline project. The League called the report misguided and continues to share its concerns regarding the impact that this project would have on climate change, the ecosystem of America’s breadbasket and our dependence on foreign oil.

Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)
Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced common sense legislation that would repair and restore the Voting Rights Act. This bipartisan effort to fix the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder is necessary to restore and protect the rights of voters across the country. Please urge your elected officials to support this important legislation and encourage them to act swiftly to move toward final passage.  Read the LWVUS press statement on the new bill and tailor this press template to use with media in your state and community.

Support EPA's Limits on Carbon Pollution (Reminder)
President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have proposed a first-ever federal carbon pollution standard for every new power plant built in America. This is a game changer for the climate – especially because power plants are our single largest source of carbon pollution. Submit a public comment to the EPA in support of the standard and your voice will be part of the official record.

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CLEARINGHOUSE

Celebrate February!
super bowl - groundhog - cupid -presidents

So much is celebrated in just one short month! Leagues can also accomplish so much in a short time with the League Clearinghouse--the great resource that features League studies in more than 50 subject areas.

The Clearinghouse provides scope and focus of a topic, research methodology, sources consulted, information about positions, and consensus questions. 

Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without studies, even as multi-position documents, if they are accompanied by a single submission form. The description section could have "Resulting Position:" and the position statement or a link to the position. Complete studies are preferred, and Leagues may add study documents at a later date.

Share your studies! Share our strength! Just a click away: http://clearinghouse.lwv.org

Education Fund - Elections

Georgia moves to shorten early voting – LWV Georgia Responds (NEW)
The League of Women Voters of Georgia slammed legislation to shorten early-voting periods from 21 days to six, including one Saturday.

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Communications

Read Our Huffington Post Blog on the League’s 94th Birthday! (NEW)
Today's barriers to the ballot might look different than they did when the League was founded 94 years ago, but they remain threats to our democracy all the same. Read President MacNamara’s Huffington Post blog on how -- much like the dedicated suffragists who helped form the League of Women Voters 94 years ago -- today's League members will not be silent in the face of attempts to weaken our democracy and block access to the polls.

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OTHER

Agriculture Update (NEW) 
All Agriculture Update materials including the update papers, Leaders Guide and online response form are posted on the LWVUS website and Leagues are encouraged to meet and submit consensus forms by the deadline of April 18, 2014.  Additional reference materials and guides provided by local Leagues can be found at the Agriculture Forum.  Contact Agriculture Update Chair Norman Turrill at LWVTurrill@mac.com if there are more questions.

Congratulations to the Fundraising Success of Jody Lang Bender, LWVPA Board Director! (NEW)
Jody has been recognized in the Fundraising Success Magazine’s list of 2014 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Rising Stars category for her success with the LWVPA’s annual Civic Leadership Reception. According to the Magazine, Jody: “gets kudos for being an innovative risk-taker  a mindset that helped her breathe life into a ho-hum event and turn it into a major fundraising vehicle for the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters. Lang Bender definitely kicked the once-staid event up a notch, attracting more than 400 attendees. Fellow PLWV board member Sharon Cohen shared that the event created major awareness of the organization and cast it in a new light for those who already knew about it. ‘Taking a fresh look at opportunity, creating a new vision and having the grit to make it happen is the recipe for a rising star in the fundraising sector,’ Cohen says. Read the full article for more details and tips.

Program Planning (Reminder)
Leagues should be holding LWVUS program planning meetings in anticipation of the March 1 deadline. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Recommending an issue is not required - no recommendation is one of the options, but please use the comments section of the response form to tell us that your League met and had no issues to recommend this time. The Leaders Guide and response form are now available online. If you have questions on the program planning process, please email progplan@lwv.org.

Donate to the League and support our work.

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