Our National Convention is currently underway in Chicago, where more than 1,000 League leaders from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are celebrating the work our passionate volunteers have done these past two years. We are excited to spend these few days together to make organizational decisions and build upon our mission impact around the country. As the month of June comes to a close, we'd like to share a few highlights of that impact this month:
Families Belong Together
This month, the League engaged in the immigration crisis on several fronts. LWVUS sent a letter
to lawmakers on Capitol Hill urging them to vote NO on two pieces of very partisan legislation that do not address the tragic situation or reunite families
. Last week, the House failed to pass
one of the bad bills and pulled the other for consideration. Thank you to our Lobby Corps for pressuring lawmakers to vote NO and for all of our online engagers who took action. This issue is far from resolved, but these bills are bad immigration policy and do not reunite families.
Kansas Defeats Proof of Citizenship Law
Last week, a federal judge struck down a Kansas law requiring documentary proof
of U.S. citizenship to vote. The law required individuals who registered to vote to submit further documentary proof of US citizenship, such as a passport, birth certificate, or naturalization papers. No other state in the country has such aggressive proof of citizenship requirements, and opponents of the law argued that it placed an unnecessary barrier between individuals and the voting booth. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach contended that such provisions are necessary to stop voter fraud and prevent non-citizens from registering or participating.
Thank you to our Kansas League, who was a plaintiff in this case and has fought tirelessly for years against this law. While Kansas voting officials and Secretary of State Kris Kobach have tried to fight the federal ruling, Kansans are no longer required to submit proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Continuing the Fight for Fair Maps
Earlier this month the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford failed to demonstrate standing and sent the case back to the district court to give the plaintiffs a chance to demonstrate that they have suffered “concrete and particularized injuries”. In Benisek v. Lamone, the court also sent the case back to the lower courts without ruling on the merits.
Check out A Conversation on Redistricting with Ruth Greenwood and Nick Stephanopoulos, originally broadcast live at our National Convention on June 28. Greenwood served on the legal team for the plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford and Stephanopoulos created the Efficiency Gap Theory, which is the standard the court considered in the Gill v. Whitford case. Both are co-council for the League of Women Voters of North Carolina in the partisan gerrymandering case, LWV v. Rucho.
Massachusetts House Passes Automatic Voter Registration
Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass Automatic Voter Registration, a law that would require individuals to “opt out” of registering rather than “opt in.” If passed, Automatic Voter Registration could add 500,000 additional voters to the rolls.
The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has advocated for this legislation tirelessly and are optimistic as Automatic Voter Registration moves to the Senate. If passed, Massachusetts would be the 14th state to expand voter registration to every eligible citizen.