July 16, 2015
The fight for voting rights brought us back to North Carolina this week, where the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and co-plaintiffs headed to trial in their landmark federal challenge of the state's 2013 anti-voter bill. The law, one of the nation's strictest, cut common-sense early voting opportunities and stripped Election-Day registration and out-of-precinct voting—all with the result of leaving disproportionate numbers of minority voters on the sidelines come Election Day. While thousands took to the streets in a massive protest against the law, lawyers for the League and other groups, together with the U.S. Department of Justice, argued in court that the law is discriminatory and that it posed barriers for untold numbers of voters in 2014.
I could not be more proud of our League members in North Carolina for standing up for the rights of voters in their state. And, I could not think of a more powerful reminder that it is incumbent upon all of us, every year, to help voters of all backgrounds gain access to the ballot box. To that end, I hope every League will sign up to host a voter registration drive on National Voter Registration Day, September 22nd, as hundreds of Leagues have done in recent years. Sign up before July 31st and you'll be in the first group guaranteed to receive free posters, stickers, training opportunities, media templates and more so that you can make the most of this important holiday.
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
- Lead the Way and Embrace the Future (NEW)
- Board Orientation/Retreat Tip (NEW)
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
- League's Challenge to the Country's Most Restrictive Voting Law Heads to Court (NEW)
- National Voter Registration Day: Free Materials Guaranteed if you sign up by 7/31 (NEW)
- New Resource: The Health of State Democracies (NEW)
EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY
- Money in Politics Review PowerPoint is Now Online (NEW)
- Constitutional Amendment Study: Consensus Questions and New Deadline! (REMINDER)
- Webinar Announcement: Overview of MIP and Constitutional Amendment Studies (REMINDER)
- League Calls on EPA to Set Strong National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone (NEW)
- League Urges Congress to Renew EITC and CTC (NEW)
- Tell Congress to Stand with the American People and Restore the VRA (REMINDER)
- This Week in Women's History (NEW)
- Websites: Why Consider a New Website in 2016? (NEW)
- Importance of Local Studies to the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
Lead the Way and Embrace the Future (NEW)
The LWVUS Nominating Committee is in search of leaders who will EMBRACE THE FUTURE: LEAD THE WAY. One of our current National Board members, addressing the need for bold and courageous leaders, stated, “Our country is in a time of political polarization, national discord and mistrust of officials. Yet here are many that want to change the political dynamics. Because of the League’s history we have the experience to lead and impact that change. Our challenge is and will continue to be to lead our organization through its needed change, so LWV can continue to impact American politics.” Apply before September 30th for either the LWVUS Board or the LWVUS Nominating Committee. Click here to find out more about these opportunities.
Board Orientation/Retreat Tip (NEW)
Use the Membership & Leadership Development (MLD) Best Practices to Set Goals! Now is the time to dream big, what do you want for your League? Take this opportunity to bring new ideas into the room. Ask powerful questions to generate great conversations. Need help setting goals? The GROW ME Model might help structure the goal setting process.
EDUCATION FUND - ELECTIONS
League's Challenge to the Country's Most Restrictive Voting Law Heads to Court (NEW)
In 2013, just six weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that ensured certain states were not implementing discriminatory voting laws, the North Carolina Governor signed into law an omnibus anti-voter bill. The day that law was enacted the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and our coalition partners filed a lawsuit. The Federal trial began on Monday and could impact voting rights across the country.
National Voter Registration Day: Free Materials Guaranteed if you sign up by 7/31 (NEW)
With presidential primaries just around the corner, now is the time to sign up to host a voter registration drive in your community on September 22nd, National Voter Registration Day! Leagues who sign up as partners before July 31st are guaranteed to receive free posters and stickers if you want them. Join hundreds of Leagues and other groups in celebrating democracy nationwide this year. Additional training opportunities and toolkits will be made available once you sign up. Contact Maggie (Duncan) Bush (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
New Resource: The Health of State Democracies (NEW)
Last week the Center for American Progress Action Fund published a comprehensive report analyzing the health of our democracy across each state. Criteria in three categories were used: access to the ballot, representation in government and influence of money in politics. The League's top voter reform priorities were among the criteria used across the categories. The Health of State Democracies report and interactive website can be a helpful guide for your League when planning your next statewide legislative battle to make our elections free, fair and accessible. While the report does not offer concrete solutions to the many problems facing our states, it does outline what those problems are and provide background information that can be used as a starting point. Combined with the League's priorities and the resources of LWVUS, the report can be a great tool for your work in 2015 and beyond.
EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY
Money in Politics Review PowerPoint is Now Online (NEW)
The Money in Politics (MIP) Review and Update PowerPoint is a meeting-ready overview of money in politics issues for Leagues to use in meetings for members and the community. Along with “Meetings-in-a-Box,” and other materials posted on the Money in Politics Review page, these resources are intended to engage members and the general citizenry on MIP issues as they are evidenced nationally and in states and communities. In addition, the PowerPoint and Meetings-in-a-Box will help prepare members for the LWV update of its campaign finance position. This update of the League’s position on campaign finance will get member understanding and agreement on the extent to which the League thinks that financing a political campaign is protected speech under the First Amendment. Want to be a part of the discussion, join the MIP Google Group. Questions can be sent to MIPStudyChair@lwv.org.
Constitutional Amendment Study: Consensus Questions and New Deadline! (REMINDER)
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!
Webinar Announcement: Overview of MIP and Constitutional Amendment Studies (REMINDER)
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. The webinar will take place at 3PM Eastern on Wednesday, July 29. Sign up for the webinar today! For further information or questions on this webinar please contact Betsy Lawson at email@example.com.
League Calls on EPA to Set Strong National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone (NEW)
The League joined coalition partners in urging the Environmental Protection Agency to stay true to science and set a primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone of 60 ppb.
League Urges Congress to Renew EITC and CTC (NEW)
The League joined coalition partners on a letter to Congress urging the renewal of critical provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) before they expire. The EITC and CTC are among the nation's strongest tools to help working families escape poverty and achieve greater self-sufficiency.
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!
This Week in Women's History (NEW)
One hundred and sixty seven years ago this week, 300 men and women met at the Seneca Falls Convention and approved 11 resolutions calling for equality and women's rights. It was at this gathering where the first official call for the right to vote for women was debated and approved. Today's League members continue the legacy of those advocates by making sure our elections are fair, free and accessible.
Websites: Why Consider a New Website in 2016? (NEW)
In 2014, we asked users of the League Easy Web (LEW) web hosting service how to make it better. Based on League member feedback, the new LEW (coming in 2016) will make a typical League website even better. For example, you will be more likely to have people visit your website from search engines. Your site will meet higher accessibility standards (for vision impairment, for example). Sharing content between Leagues means no more double entry! Reports and alerts to help you improve your site will be included. A media library will liven up your site. Multiple accounts with different access levels will be permitted. Read this comparison flyer to learn more of the differences between the current LEW, the new LEW, and Wordpress (a popular alternative). Training webinars will be announced this fall. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Importance of Local Studies to the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)
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The League Clearinghouse definitely wants your local studies--they help other Leagues learn how your League handled the scope and focus of a topic, the research methodology, experts consulted, clues about positions and consensus questions, etc. All studies provide valuable information and 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!