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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

February 21, 2013

In This Issue:

COMMUNICATIONS – MAKING CONNECTIONS

  • Protecting the Voting Rights Act (VRA) - What You Can Do (NEW)

ADVOCACY

  • League Urges Office of Congressional Ethics to Steer Clear of Procedural Minefield (NEW)
  • LWVUS and LWVFL File Amicus Brief in Florida Purge Case (NEW)
  • League Sends Letter to U.S. Senate on Gun Safety Issues (NEW) 
  • Forward on Climate Rally a SUCCESS (NEW)
  • The Campaign Finance Task Force Requests Your Help (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND

  • The Agriculture Update is Up and Running!  (NEW)
  • FAIR JUDICIARY AND GLOBAL DEMOCRACY
    • Women and the Rule of Law:  A View from the Americas (NEW)
    • LWV to Host Forum during UN Commission on the Status of Women (NEW)
  • ELECTIONS
    • Power the Vote 2012: How a New Initiative Launched Results for Millions of Voters

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • Congratulations to Growing Leagues and Contest Winners! (NEW)
  • PMP Rate Information (NEW)
  • It’s Budget Planning Time! (NEW)

OTHER

  • Suffrage Centennial Celebration (NEW)
  • Support the Membership and Leadership Development Program

 

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Dear Supporter,

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) is the jewel in the crown of Federal elections law. Authorized by the 15th Amendment, passage of the VRA required tireless effort.  Determined opposition in the Senate thwarted Congressional action for many years. But in 1965, proponents overcame a filibuster to finally pass a law that has stood the test of time and which has been reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006.

Next Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder in which the constitutionality of Section 5 of the VRA is being challenged. It was under Section 5, that the League challenged restrictive voter photo ID laws in South Carolina and Texas just last year, and the VRA served as the basis for  challenges to a cut back in early voting hours in Florida and to the Texas redistricting plan. The continued relevance of the VRA in protecting the voting rights of all Americans is clear. To drive that message home, the League will be participating in a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court as the arguments proceed.

The LWVUS and the LWV South Carolina have joined in amicus briefs in support of the VRA, which has such important ramifications for our work to protect and empower voters nationwide. We are calling on League members in the Washington D.C. area to join us as volunteers at the rally. But whether you are nearby or far away, please customize this press release or letter to the editor template to draw attention to the importance of this case. Finally, be sure to follow and weigh in on our up-to-the minute updates on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day.

In League,
Description: Elisabeth


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Communications - Making Connections

Protecting the Voting Rights Act (VRA) - What You Can Do (NEW)
As President MacNamara mentioned in her message above, we are working hard to protect the Voting Rights Act in conjunction with our partner organizations. Many LWVUS staff members will be rallying in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Feb. 27th. League members in the area who are interested in attending or volunteering at the rally should contact Virginia Clairmont - vclairmont@lwv.org. The rally will start with a press briefing at 8:30 AM and the rally will run from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. We’ve also put together a template press release and letter to the editor  for you to customize and submit to your local media to draw attention to the importance of this case. Finally, be sure to follow and share our up-to-the minute updates on Twitter and Facebook.

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Advocacy

League Urges Office of Congressional Ethics to Steer Clear of Procedural Minefield (NEW)
On February 13th, the League and other reform groups sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) urging them to stand fast on the OCE’s current rules of procedure.  The OCE received suggestions from private attorneys who represent clients before the OCE.  The letter calls the proposed changes "inappropriate for OCE as currently structured and would impede the agency’s ability to make the ethics process more accountable and transparent.”

LWVUS and LWVFL File Amicus Brief in Florida Purge Case (NEW)
LWVUS and LWVFL filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a last-minute purge of suspected non-citizens by the state of Florida is barred by the National Voter Registration Act, which says that no systematic purges are allowed within 90 days of an election. The League was joined by the Brennan Center for Justice in the brief to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

League Sends Letter to U.S. Senate on Gun Safety Issues (NEW)  
The League sent a letter to the U.S. Senate in favor of common sense solutions to the gun violence plaguing our nation.

Forward on Climate Rally a SUCCESS (NEW)
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Forward on Climate Rally! The rally had over 40,000 people attend to voice their support for action on climate change. If you were unable to attend, you can still participate by sending a letter to President Obama asking him to lead the climate fight!

The Campaign Finance Task Force Requests Your Help (NEW) 
The Campaign Finance Task Force is developing a “Money in Politics Discussion Guide” for Leagues across the country to be used in communicating with members and the public on this important issue.  We are interested in any outlines and materials you have used within your League for this purpose so that we can share what you have done with others.  Please send outlines and materials to Advocacy Committee Chair, Toni Larson toni.larson@gmail.com.

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Education Fund

The Agriculture Update is Up and Running!  (NEW)
The names of committee members, scope and timeline for the Agriculture Update are now available. Local and state Leagues will want to check out the timeline to see when to schedule your local update meetings.  Be sure to subscribe to the Agriculture Update group in the member Forums to discuss the update with other League members.

fair Judiciary and Global Democracy

Women and the Rule of Law: A View from the Americas (NEW)
On February 27th, the League of Women Voters, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the International Association of Women Judges are hosting ten leading women judges from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States for the conference, Women and the Rule of Law: A View from the Americas.  The conference showcases the progress women have made in gaining access to judicial leadership positions across the Americas and will develop recommendations to further advance the positive role of women in the judiciary. Discussions will focus on the following themes:  strengthening judicial institutions and the rule of law, promoting diversity in the judicial system, and the use of international law to promote women’s rights and to press national governments to comply with their international obligations.  The judges are scheduled to meet privately with U.S. Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the afternoon of the 26th.

LWV to Host Forum during UN Commission on the Status of Women (NEW)  
During the 57th meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the LWV Global Democracy Program and the LWV UN Observers will conduct a parallel forum,  Implementing Laws Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls-Successfully on March 5th at the Salvation Army (221 E and 52nd Streets, New York, New York).  The forum is open to the public, no special badge or ID is required.

Elections

Power the Vote 2012: How a New Initiative Launched Results for Millions of Voters
LWVEF is pleased to release Power the Vote 2012: How a New Initiative Launched Results for Millions of Voters. This comprehensive report showcases the best accomplishments the League volunteers and activists achieved through unified and focused efforts during the 2012 election cycle. It also lays out a plan to continue to advocate for voters as well as strengthen and expand our electorate in 2013 and beyond. We encourage you to utilize the report and evaluate your League’s successes and challenges as you plan future elections programs for 2013 and 2014. Thank you for your incredible work to engage and empower voters!

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Membership and Leadership

Congratulations to Growing Leagues and Contest Winners! (NEW)
LWVUS is pleased to announce that the Leagues with the greatest percentage of membership growth from Jan 31, 2012-Jan 31, 2013 are:

Leagues with fewer than 50 members: LWV of Hamilton County, IN (82 percent increase).
Leagues with 51-150 members: LWV of Hillsborough County, FL (45 percent increase).
Leagues with more than 151 members: LWV of Orange County, FL (33 percent increase).
Drawing Winners: LWV of Washington County, AR and LWV of New Castle, NY also grew and won the drawing.
All five Leagues won one free registration for the LWVUS convention in Dallas, TX in 2014. Congratulations to these Leagues and all Leagues who are building League capacity and welcoming new members. Cheers!

PMP Rate Information (NEW)
Thank you again for updating your membership rosters in the LWVUS database. The number of members included in your roster will determine the amount of Per Member Payment (PMP) due to LWVUS for FY2013-2014 (July 2013-June 2014). The PMP rate for FY2013-14 is $31.00. This PMP rate was set by League members at the National Convention in 2012.

It’s Budget Planning Time! (NEW)
As Leagues begin preparations for their annual meetings (including creating a new budget for FY2013-14), please remember that a sample budget can be found in Appendix Q of the ABCs of Streamlining.  Leagues are encouraged to budget for at least one representative to attend National Convention 2014 in Dallas, TX.  The registration fee is $335. 

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OTHER

Suffrage Centennial Celebration (NEW)
On March 1-3, 2013 several organizations are working together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic 1913 Woman’s Suffrage Procession in Washington, DC.  Exhibits, special programs, performances and events are planned to mark this occasion. For additional information about the weekend events visit Suffrage Centennial Celebration.  A particularly important part of these events is a re-creation of the 1913 Suffrage March, and the League of Women Voters will be participating.  This parade, organized by the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, will take place on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 9:30 AM and will symbolically follow the exact route of the 1913 march. If you would like to meet up with other League members, please contact Arlington League member Susan Trice at csusantrice@gmail.com. The parade will be preceded by a 9:00 AM pre-march rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Support the Membership and Leadership Development Program
“I wouldn’t trade my League experience for anything!”  It’s always the right time to reflect on the personal gifts the League has given to you and consider making a gift to the Fund for Local League Growth (FLLG). As this quote reminds us, League is an experience like no other! The FLLG is a special fund solely designated to build the League’s infrastructure and support the Membership and Leadership Development program. The Membership and Leadership Development program is helping to ensure that the League’s future is vibrant, healthy and strong. Thank you in advance for your support!

Donate to the League and support our work.

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