July 2, 2015
Even from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico where I am taking a few days off with my son, it is impossible to escape the news from Washington, DC. Given the recent decisions of the Supreme Court, who would want to? Three years ago, on this same beach, another son and I celebrated when the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA); last week, I had the chance to do so again. Now we can add the right to marriage equality and a vindication of the right of the people of Arizona to fair and independent redistricting.
These are important and far reaching decisions for our democracy. Sometimes, no news is also good news. The Court refused to hear an appeal of a decision upholding the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the authority of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to refuse a request from Kansas and Arizona to require documentary proof of citizenship when voters register using the federal form. While this decision does not strike down the restriction on state registration forms, it is an important win for the NVRA and for the EAC since the federal form can serve as a backstop for registration efforts in federal elections.
The League played a role in most of these wins. We joined amicus briefs in support of the ACA and the Arizona redistricting case, where we helped craft the arguments with our coalition partners. We intervened as a defendant and fully participated in the NVRA case. We were and are on the right side of history in protecting the rights of citizens to better access health care, fairness in representation and more uniform access to registration and voting.
Let's keep up the good work.
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:
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- Discussion Forums Closed; New Online Groups Starting (NEW)
- Progress on Database Transition (NEW)
- LWVUS Board and Nominating Committee Applications are Open for 2016 - 2018 (NEW)
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
- Sign up Now for National Voter Registration Day 2015! (NEW)
- VOTE411 Training Webinar (REMINDER)
EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY
- Key Structures of Democracy: Constitutional Amendment Study: Consensus Questions and New Deadline! (NEW)
- Key Structures of Democracy: Money in Politics Review Google Group (NEW)
- Webinar Announcement: Overview of MIP and Constitutional Amendment Studies (NEW)
- Supreme Court Backs Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (NEW)
- Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (REMINDER)
- Visibility Opportunity: Letter to the Editor Template (REMINDER)
- Communications Resources from Council 2015 (REMINDER)
- Is Your League Website a Fresh Feast or an Old Fish? (REMINDER)
- Importance of Local Studies to the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
Discussion Forums Closed; New Online Groups Starting (NEW)
As was announced last week, we heard your dislike of the discussion forums and, as of July 1, have now closed them. For the most time-sensitive, program-related groups, such as those working with LWVUS task forces and study committees, we've started setting up Google Groups. These online groups, which are likely familiar to many of you and should be easy to get onto and engage other Leaguers, will be introduced over time. We ask for your patience as we assess how to most effectively set up and utilize the Google Group format for the needs of each potential group. Please watch the League Update in the coming weeks for additional details and new information.
Progress on Database Transition (NEW)
LWVUS has selected participants to preview the new database. They have been asked to provide feedback on the system and training materials created to assist Roster Managers. As a reminder, LWVUS will begin to roll out the new database to Leagues from mid-July through September. We want to be able to provide as much hands on assistance to Leagues as possible, and the best way to do this is to work with smaller groups.
LWVUS Board and Nominating Committee Applications are open for 2016 - 2018 (NEW)
Consider applying yourself or recommending others you know as potential leaders. The form to apply is now available here and at forum.lwv.org. Only online applications are accepted. Additional information, including a downloadable FAQ page, is available too. The deadline to apply is September 30, 2015. These are exciting times! The League has never been needed so much as now. As one National Board member stated, "Serving in a national leadership role is a chance to get to know and work with extraordinary people from across the nation doing extraordinary work for democracy and the League."
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
Sign up Now for National Voter Registration Day 2015! (NEW)
It’s that time of year again - start thinking about National Voter Registration Day in your community! This year's National Voter Registration Day will be September 22, 2015. More than fifty Leagues have already signed up to host voter registration events in their communities on that day, and as in years past, we expect hundreds more will sign up. To sign up, visit http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/partner-sign. You need not know the details about your event in order to sign on as a partner now. When entering your Organization Name, please be sure to follow this format: League of Women Voters of [Location Name]. Many more resources, including free swag, communications templates and training opportunities, will be announced to participants later this summer. Contact Maggie (Duncan) Bush with questions.
VOTE411 Training Webinar (REMINDER)
Are you looking for an in depth training on how to use VOTE411 to provide online voters’ guides in your community? LWVEF is providing a webinar that will show you the basics and answer your questions about this voter education tool. This training is great for both anyone interested in using VOTE411 and current VOTE411 participants, however, it is geared towards those who know very little about the program and are interested in learning more. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 15 at 2pm Eastern Time (register here). If you have any questions about the webinars, or about VOTE411, please contact Megan Brown.
EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY
Key Structures of Democracy: Constitutional Amendment Study: Consensus Questions and New Deadline! (NEW)
At its post-council 2015 meeting, the League Board approved the Constitutional Amendment study questions so that Leagues can begin to meet and discuss this all important issue. LWVUS will be asking for the results of your consensus meetings by December 1, 2015. The consensus questions are accompanied by short PRO and CON statements that will help League members consider their responses. Educational materials can be found at the Constitutional Amendment Study page and others will be posted in the coming weeks. This will be an interesting, exciting and important way to kick off fall activities for the League!
Key Structures of Democracy: Money in Politics Review Google Group (NEW)
The Money in Politics Google Group is Up and Running! Sign up to join the MIP Google Group which is replacing the Money in Politics Forum today! Those of you who were members of the League MIP forum should have received an invitation, but if you didn’t or if you would like to join the new group, click on the attached link and follow the instructions: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/lwv-money-in-politics. Questions can be sent to MIPStudyChair@lwv.org.
Webinar Announcement: Overview of MIP and Constitutional Amendment Studies (NEW)
The Chairs of the LWVUS Money in Politics Review and Constitutional Amendment Study Committees will provide a webinar with general background on national studies and an orientation to the two current studies. The studies were adopted at the 2014 LWVUS Convention. Pat Donath, CA Chair, and Barbara Zia, MIP Chair, will answer your questions regarding timeline, materials and the study process. Sign up for the webinar today! For further information or questions on this webinar please contact Betsy Lawson at email@example.com.
Supreme Court Backs Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (NEW)
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a big victory to citizen-led democracy. The decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Redistricting Commission ruled that Arizona’s independent redistricting commission set up by voters is constitutional. The League of Women Voters of the U.S. joined with other concerned organizations in an amicus brief in this case arguing that the Court had already ruled that excessive partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. The Leagues of Women Voters of Arizona and Illinois also joined amicus briefs in this case.
Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (REMINDER)
Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key part of the VRA leading to a full frontal attack on the voting rights of American citizens. Despite public outcry since the Supreme Court’s decision, Congress has ignored widespread voter discrimination and the will of the American people. Every day that Congress fails to repair the VRA, Americans are in danger of increased barriers at the polls. Raise your voice and tell your Representative that now is the time to restore the VRA!
Visibility Opportunity: Letter to the Editor Template (REMINDER)
Use this letter to the editor template to call attention to voter registration this July 4th. Promote this piece that is so core to our mission while getting some good visibility for your League!
Communications Resources from Council 2015 (REMINDER)
It was great seeing so many of you at Council last week! You can now access our Messaging for Impact powerpoint slideshow on the League Management Website. You can also find many other useful resources under the Visibility and the Online Communications sections we referred to throughout the weekend, including the template press statement for Council attendees. Don’t forget to check out our members-only New Media Facebook group, too.
Is Your League Website a Fresh Feast or an Old Fish?(REMINDER)
Imagine that a new friend invites you over for a lunch, but serves you leftovers from last month. No one would think that is acceptable! Why is it ok for your website to stink like an old fish? When you see a League calendar full of exciting upcoming events, you feel like you’re invited to a feast. Don’t let out of date content cause your League to look incompetent and uninviting online. We’re adding features to the new League Easy Web (LEW) system to help our users be sure to keep their website up-to-date. All Leagues are invited to try the LEW system for free: just contact us.
Happy Annual Meeting Month: League Clearinghouse for New Studies (REMINDER)
Donate to the League and support our work.
New studies adopted at your annual meeting? Jumpstart those new items by visiting 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. Do you have studies, including those on local issues, completed? Post them to the Clearinghouse to benefit other Leagues. Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without their supporting 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!