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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

December 12, 2013

In This Issue:


  • Join VOTE411 in 2014 (NEW)
  • 2013 – A Watershed Year for Voting Rights – A Look Back at the Year that was (NEW)


  • Membership Numbers for 2013 Look Good! (NEW)
  • Webinar Opportunity: Internships!  (Reminder)


  • LWVUS Legislative Priorities (Reminder)


  • Program Planning Response Form Online (Reminder)
  • Make a Donation from your IRA in 2013 (Reminder)

Getting Started:  A Guide to Convention 2014

Whether the 2014 Convention will be your first or fifth convention, we are confident that you have many questions:  How do I register?  How do I book my hotel?  What is the Convention agenda?  How many delegates can my League send?  A new “Guide to Convention 2014” has just been posted, and it has answers to these questions and more.  Remember Convention will be held on June 6-10 in Dallas, TX.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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.

Who is my national board liaison and when can I call him/her?

National board liaisons are a source of support for all League leaders.  Each national board member has a handful of states with which they work throughout their tenure providing updates, answering questions and offering guidance. 

Please refer to this list of state assignments and contact information in order to communicate with the appropriate member of the LWVUS Board.

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

Dear Friend,

In this holiday season, amid the celebrations of families and friends, Leagues are hard at work preparing for the New Year. Many state Leagues are preparing for legislative sessions that begin early in the New Year and local Leagues are meeting with their state legislative delegations in anticipation of those sessions. Here at the LWVUS, we are also anticipating the New Year and new opportunities to protect the vote by supporting the work in the states and by staying involved in developing language for legislation to repair the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder, members of the advocacy team have been working on a lobbying and grassroots strategy for a bill that we anticipate being introduced in Congress after the New Year.

Legislation to restore the VRA must be a bipartisan effort. There have been many moving pieces and discussions among key Representatives to move this legislation forward. Every effort is being made to ensure that all of the right people are involved in this “quiet phase” of the process to guarantee strong support after introduction and a bipartisan push toward passage.

In anticipation of the work to come on this important legislation, I want to remind Leagues of the resources from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), including a background information piece on the history of the VRA and talking points that were circulated in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court decision. This information is still relevant to the work that we hope to be doing in the months to come. As the campaign to restore the VRA ramps up in the New Year, we will be providing guidance and messaging documents, such as letters to the editor templates similar to the one we sent out this summer and will be reaching out to targeted Leagues with special lobbying opportunities.

While voting rights have been a top priority for the League, there are other important issues that we are weighing in on. In January, the LWVUS Board will consider and adopt advocacy priorities for the upcoming year. Your input is valuable to the Board and we encourage Leagues to take advantage of the opportunity to give the Board your thoughts on the issues we should be following.

As the end of the year approaches, Board and staff will be taking a little break from the Update and next week’s edition will be the last for 2013. As we pause to celebrate, we can all look back on an active and successful year and look forward to 2014 confident that we are making a difference for voters.

In League,

Description: Elisabeth


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.

Education Fund - Elections

Join VOTE411 in 2014 (NEW)
Does your community have any elections in 2014? If so, the New Year brings a new opportunity for your League to create its own, online voters’ guide on VOTE411.org!  We already have Leagues from 9 states ready to go for 2014 and that number is growing! In 2012 over 2.5 million voters turned to VOTE411 to get their election information. Be a part of this growing program, help inform voters in your community and gain significant visibility for your League’s work! If your League is interested in creating a voter guide or if you have any questions, contact Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org) and she’ll help walk you through the process.

2013 – A Watershed Year for Voting Rights – A Look Back at the Year that was (NEW)
Over the past several we have seen a steady increase in voter suppression across the country. It is possible that when we look back at 2013, it will be seen as a watershed year - a year that America hit a turning point in the battle for voting rights and recognized that we must do what we can to expand access to the polls, instead of creating new barriers that make it more difficult to vote.


Membership & leadership

Membership Numbers for 2013 Look Good! (NEW)
LWVUS has reviewed the membership data from the first three quarters of 2013, and within MLD Leagues we've seen some very promising trends. Forty-two states experienced overall growth between January 2013 and September 2013 – that represents 87.5% of states that are participating in the MLD program!  We are confident that this trend will continue as we approach the January 31st deadline for Leagues to update their member roster for FY2014-15. Tips on renewing members, including a renewal letter template, are available on this resource page. We want to reward you for the great work that your League is doing to recruit and retain members and to keep the member database as up-to-date as possible.  As a way of saying thank you for all the hard work that Leagues do in maintaining these records, we are offering prizes including Staples gift cards and FREE registration to LWVUS Convention 2014 to contest winners. Find out how to be entered to win by reading about all the details of the growth challenge. For assistance on working in the database, download the user manual or contact database@lwv.org.

Webinar Opportunity:  Internships!  (Reminder)
“When you work at LWV, you know that you are working towards something important and doing your part to make our political climate more civil and productive,” says Alex Clearfield, a recent intern at LWVUS.  Learn how your League can help to educate the next generation of leaders while getting some extra help on the League’s important work by joining a webinar on January 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM ET.  Sponsored by the Young People’s Task Force, the webinar will focus on how internships can be mutually beneficial for Leagues and students, the most effective ways to attract the best interns for the specific projects your League is working on and how best to manage, mentor and advise your interns.

Use this online registration form to sign up for the January 9th webinar.



LWVUS Legislative Priorities (REMINDER)
In January, the LWVUS Board of Directors will be setting the League Legislative Priorities for the upcoming year. Setting these priorities for LWVUS action at the national level is an annual responsibility for the Board. Once again, the Board is soliciting suggestions for LWVUS advocacy priorities from members. If you are interested in making suggestions to the Board, please consider the goals and criteria as listed below. While the LWVUS has numerous positions under which we might take action, the Board must prioritize and consider those issues where we might be able to make a difference.

According to the LWVUS Impact on Issues, the goals for setting priorities to guide the LWV advocacy work are to: (1) Enhance the League's effectiveness by concentrating resources on priority issues; (2) Build the League's credibility and visibility by projecting a focused and consistent image; (3) Ensure that the League has sufficient issue and political expertise to act knowledgeably; and (4) Enable the League to manage resources effectively. In setting legislative priorities, the Board considers the following: (1) Opportunities for the League to make an impact; (2) Program decisions made at Convention and/or Council; (3) Member interest; and (4) Resources available to manage effectively.

If you would like to make suggestions for LWVUS advocacy priorities, please email Advocacy Committee Chair Toni Larson at toni.larson@gmail.com. Please indicate whether the suggestions are from an individual member, a committee, board or membership meeting. Suggestions must be received by January 11.



Program Planning Response Form Online (REMINDER)
The Program Planning Response Form is now online!  Every two years state and local Leagues and ILO’s participate in the LWVUS Program Planning process by making recommendations concerning program issues.   The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence.   Read the Program Planning Leaders Guide to assist you in your January/February 2014 Program Planning meeting.  If you have questions on the program planning process please email progplan@lwv.org.

Make a Donation from your IRA in 2013 (Reminder)
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 reinstated the “IRA charitable rollover” through the end of 2013. The law allows individuals 70½ and older to give up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs to qualified charitable organizations such as the League of Women Voters Education Fund without having to treat the withdrawals as taxable income. The transfer, if done properly, counts towards the taxpayer’s required minimum distribution for the year, and can be of particular value to individuals who do not claim itemized deductions on their tax return because the funds are transferred directly to nonprofits from IRA accounts and are never counted as income. Every donor’s circumstances are different, so please consult with your tax advisor to see if an IRA rollover is right for you. Please contact Aimee Olivo in the League’s Development office at 202-263-1355 or aolivo@lwv.org for additional information.

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