MARCH 5, 2015
This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March that turned to tragedy on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Civil Rights leaders will gather in Selma for a commemoration of that march, including Representative John Lewis of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. Lewis was badly beaten on March 7, 1965 but has remained unbowed in the fight for voting rights for all eligible voters. Sadly, as Representative Lewis reminds Americans of the importance of the Civil Rights movement and of the Voting Rights Act, in his home state, the Georgia Legislature is in session and once again trying to cut back on early voting.
Georgia lawmakers are not alone in looking for ways to erect barriers to voting. Across the country, we are seeing an assault on voting rights as state legislatures meet. In Arkansas lawmakers are seeking to cut back early voting and amend the state constitution to require restrictive voter photo ID. In Missouri, for the eighth year in row, legislators are proposing voter ID, this time in the form of a constitutional amendment. Voter ID bills have been proposed in eight states from Maine to New Mexico.
In every state, the League is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to voting rights. In Colorado and Nebraska, the League helped defeat voter photo ID bills. The Missouri League has beaten back ID every time it has been proposed over the past eight years. In state houses and courthouses, the League opposes these continuing efforts to restrict access to the polls. Our record of defeating or delaying bad election laws demonstrates how tenacious League leaders are in Making Democracy Work® for every American.
Ninety-five years ago, Carrie Chapman Catt called for a League of Women Voters to “Finish the Fight”. As this week’s commemoration of the events in Selma remind us, the fight to protect the vote is never finished.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- Database Challenge #3 Winners Announced (NEW)
- Success Story: Laramie, WY Embraces the GROW ME Coaching Model (NEW)
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
- State Legislative Voting Rights Update (NEW)
- League Joins People’s Voting Rights Manifesto (NEW)
- Senate Fails to Override Presidential Veto on Keystone XL Pipeline (NEW)
- League Opposes H.R. 412 and H.R. 195 (NEW)
- League Supports Presidential Library Reform Act (NEW)
- Webinar Announcement: Putting Together a Local Action Plan (REMINDER)
- Sunshine Week Template Letter to the Editor (NEW)
- NEW GUIDE: How to Create a Facebook Page for Your League (REMINDER)
- Winning the Vote Book on Sale through March 8 (NEW)
- Opportunity to Attend League Event at United Nations in March 2015 (REMINDER)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
Database Challenge #3 Winners Announced (NEW)
Thank you for all your efforts to keep the member database as up-to-date as possible. We offered several prizes to Leagues who met certain criteria by January 31st. In the third “challenge,” we asked Leagues to show a net growth in membership numbers from January 2014 through January 2015. Five Leagues will receive a FREE REGISTRATION to Convention 2016! The top League in each size category (small, medium, and large) and two Leagues drawn at random from the pool of all Leagues showing a net growth. Congratulations to our winners: LWV of Bay County (FL), LWV of Washington County (AR), LWV of Orange County (FL), LWV of Rye-Rye Brook (NY), and LWV of Bellingham/Whatcom County (WA), and cheers to all Leagues that grew this year!
Success Story: Laramie, WY Embraces the GROW ME Coaching Model (NEW)
Members of the League of Women Voters of Laramie, Wyoming are successfully integrating the planning tools of the Membership and Leadership Development program (MLD) supported by the Fund for Local League Growth. To learn more about how the GROW ME model has helped the League in Laramie thrive, you can read their success story on the Member Resources website.
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
State Legislative Voting Rights Update (NEW)
We are now more than two months into the 2015 State Legislative sessions and as expected we have seen a groundswell of assaults on voters in many states. At the same time, we are happy to report that there are a few states where pro-voter reforms are moving forward. For more information on what is happening across the country please read this week’s blog post.
League Joins People’s Voting Rights Manifesto (NEW)
The League joined civil rights organizations in issuing the People's Voting Rights Manifesto in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery March on March 8, 2015. This document will be distributed at the re-enactment of the Selma March and the celebration of the Voting Rights Act.
Senate Fails to Override Presidential Veto on Keystone XL Pipeline (NEW)
This week, in a 62-37 vote, the U.S. Senate failed to override a presidential veto on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Last week’s veto by President Obama was lauded by the League in a coalition letter and press release. The League is proud to stand behind the President’s veto because the pipeline is not in our national interest. But the fight is not over—President Obama and the U.S. State Department must still make a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Thank President Obama for vetoing the pipeline legislation and urge him to reject final approval of the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all!
League Opposes H.R. 412 and H.R. 195 (NEW)
The League sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration urging Representatives to vote no on H.R. 412 and H.R. 195. These bills would repeal the presidential public financing system and terminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
League Supports Presidential Library Reform Act (NEW)
The League sent letters to the U.S. House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee and the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in support of H.R 1069 and S. 558, the Presidential Library Reform Act. This bipartisan legislation would introduce a measure of transparency to fundraising for presidential libraries.
Webinar Announcement: Putting Together a Local Action Plan (REMINDER)
The LWVUS Program Planning and Support (PP&S) Committee will put on a webinar March 25 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Advocacy Chair Chris Carson and state Leaders will outline the basics of creating a local action plan. The webinar is designed to help Leagues learn and review the basics for creating an advocacy campaign. The webinar is designed to follow the successful League Program 101 webinar from January by giving League members the tools and know how to use positions in their local communities. You can register for the webinar here. For further information or questions, contact Betsy Lawson at email@example.com.
Sunshine Week Template Letter to the Editor (NEW)
Please use our letter to the editor template to mark Sunshine Week, which falls from March 15-21. Make sure to customize your LTE to talk about the work you League is doing to protect open and transparent government.
NEW GUIDE: How to Create a Facebook Page for Your League (REMINDER)
Does your League not yet have a Facebook Page? Maybe you have one but are unsure of how some technical aspects work? We have just the resource for you! Our new document will walk you through the process of setting up an organizational page for your League, including explanations, tips and best practices.
Winning the Vote Book on Sale through March 8 (NEW)
The League of Women Voters was founded 95 years ago on February 14. The next day was Susan B. Anthony's birthday. To honor the League as well as Susan B. Anthony - and the countless others who worked to secure women's right to vote - the landmark history book, Winning The Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement by Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr. will be on sale through the National Women's History Project (NWHP) at a 40% discount from February 15th to March 8th (International Women's Day), 2015. In 2010, Mr. Cooney addressed the LWVUS National Convention in Atlanta.
Opportunity to Attend League Event at United Nations in March 2015 (REMINDER)
The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015. Members of the League of Women Voters are invited to attend a side event hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and co-sponsored by the LWVUS, International Federation of Business & Professional Women, Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women's Association and UN Women. Speakers include members of Parliament from Germany, Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Director of the Policy Division of UN Women and moderated by a former US diplomat. LWVUS will have 20 delegates attending CSW59 and can accommodate additional attendance at the side event. Please contact Rosalee Keech firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
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