Next week will mark the 94 anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. With that ratification the work of the newly formed League of Women Voters, founded to finish the fight for suffrage, really began. An estimated 25 million women were, with the stroke of a pen, eligible to vote. The task of registering and informing those new women voters was enormous. Add to that the understandable desire of those who had worked so long and hard for woman suffrage to make a difference with their votes.
It is tempting to look back on those early days of the League for inspiration, especially as we look forward to a federal midterm election where much is at stake but where too often voter enthusiasm is low. While it may be challenging, I am inspired by the fact that so many Leagues and members are already out in their communities registering and educating voters through voters' guides, candidate debates and VOTE411.org. I also found that inspiration in the following passage from a convention speech by our first president Maude Wood Park referring to interests hostile to the mission of the League:
"By far the most serious of our opponents is the colossal inertia of large numbers of persons. If this nation ever faces final disaster, it will be because what ‘is everybody"s business is nobody"s business except the self-seekers." We need to rewrite that old adage...In this respect ours is a stupendous undertaking, for inertia is a thoroughly uninteresting opponent. Thrills do not come easily in a struggle against sheer dead weight, but that weight must be moved if we are to succeed...If we have the courage to try, we do not need genius or even extraordinary qualities in order to succeed. All that we shall require is steadfast faith in democracy, common sense and persistence...if we have all three - and keep them together - we are invincible."
All these years later, the League has had those qualities and kept them together and we have been and will continue to be invincible.
League to Hold Conference Call with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (NEW)
League members are invited to join a conference call with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The call is scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 from 1:00-1:30 PM EDT. Administrator McCarthy will talk with League members about the ongoing work being done to fight climate change at the national level, including the EPA’s groundbreaking proposal to limit carbon emissions from power plants. Please RSVP to receive the call-in information.
Voting Rights Act Turns 49 (REMINDER)
For 49 years, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) has protected the right to vote regardless of race or language, but legislation to repair damage from the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder is currently stalled in the U.S. House. This August, tell your Representative to stop stalling and move the Voting Rights Amendment Act forward! Use the League’s online contact form to send a message to your Representative or visit with your Representative in-district during the August recess.
League Signs on as Participating Organization for the People’s Climate March (REMINDER)
In September, the United Nations will gather for a summit on the climate crisis where leaders around the world will make commitments to fight climate change. Organizations from across the country are mobilizing to show support for the fight against climate change with a March and demonstration in New York City surrounding the summit. The League will be joining them for the People's Climate March on September 21. For additional information and to get involved, visit peoplesclimate.org.
The Federal Action Request Form has Moved (REMINDER)
The form that state and local Leagues use to request action at the federal level has moved to the member resource site. Please save this updated link in your browser and use it to make future requests.
Prepping for Election Season (NEW)
It's election season, and LWV's are busy registering and informing the electorate with candidate forums/debates, voters' guides, and VOTE411. Planning ahead and considering problems that could arise prevents problems later.
- Check your policy now about forums/debates. Such issues as who to invite, the "ground rules" of the actual event, what happens if someone doesn't appear, and whether videos are allowed are just some of the things you will have considered. How you handle those issues and others you deem important should be in writing some place.
- The invitation letter to the candidate should include all the specifics about how the event will be run. It is a good idea to have a letter on hand at the event in case there are any questions.
- Check with other Leagues in your area if you share candidates. Determine how you will cooperate.
- Be aware that federal laws govern federal elections; familiarize yourself with them. Check your state and local laws for statewide and local candidates.
- Greeters, timers, those who gather questions--these are all good jobs for new members or others who want to be more involved. The moderator has a lot of responsibility and is usually a seasoned member who has clear guidelines to follow. Review the guidelines.
- If you have any debates/forums already scheduled, send the information (location, time, date, candidates invited, etc.) to Megan Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) so she can add them to the event calendar on VOTE411.org.
- Begin preparations for voters' guides and VOTE411. Advertise their availability.
If you have questions regarding your debates/forums, National Board Member Connie Ferguson (email@example.com) and former National Board Member Janis McMillen (firstname.lastname@example.org) are here to assist you.
Voter Registration Webinar Training 9/4 (REMINDER)
Want a refresher course on voter registration best practices? Have new volunteers who would benefit from hearing about all the kinds of voter registration activities undertaken by Leagues across the country? Looking for ideas on maximizing visibility for your League during the upcoming election season? Join us by signing up for a FREE voter registration webinar training on Thursday, September 4 at 4pm EDT. If you can’t make that time, please watch a recent recording containing the same information that will be covered on the 4th. Many more voter registration tools are available in the voter service section of our member’s site.
Deadline Soon: Only 2 More Weeks to Sign up for Free Voter Reg. Materials (REMINDER)
Leagues who sign up as an official partner of National Voter Registration Day 2014 before September 5th, will receive FREE posters and stickers to promote their voter registration activities on 9/23. More than 300 Leagues have already signed up to take part in this national celebration of democracy! Sign up as a partner at www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org. While you’re there be sure to check out the brand new website features and downloadable tools for participating partners.
U.S. Constitution Study Committee Application (NEW)
Applications are being accepted for the U.S. Constitution Study which is part of the three-part Structures of Democracy program that delegates adopted at the 2014 LWVUS Convention. The study will examine the application of Article V of the United States Constitution, which provides for amending the Constitution. An application form which includes further description of the study focus is now posted online. Those interested in applying for the U.S. Constitution Study Committee should submit completed applications including resume, references and writing sample by September 18.
LWVUS Money in Politics Education Committee Application (REMINDER)
Members are sought for the LWVUS Money in Politics Education Committee. Money in Politics (MIP) is part of the three-part Structures of Democracy program that delegates adopted at the 2014 LWVUS Convention. We are currently accepting applications for the MIP Committee which will focus on the core League issue of campaign finance and money in politics. The Committee will review the League position on campaign finance and educate members and the general public about issues related to money in politics. An application form is now posted online. Those interested in applying for the MIP Education Committee should submit completed applications including resume, references and writing sample by September 11.
League Clearinghouse--open 24/7
Top Seven Reasons to Join the National Coaching Team (NEW)
There are many reasons to join the Ruth S. Shur Fellows but we’ve put together a list of our top seven! Apply yourself or nominate a League leader you admire to become part of our prestigious and fun national coaching team (Ruth S. Shur Fellow)! Please fill out this form by September 19, 2014. More information on the Shur Fellows and their role in the MLD program is available online and there will be an informational webinar on September 11, 2014 at 1pm. Register for that webinar here.
Advertise Your League’s Logo Items on the National Website (NEW)
Advertise your League’s logo items and products on the national website! League logo items are a great way to increase your League’s visibility around your community. Check out some of the items from local and state Leagues that are being advertised. If you’d like to advertise your items, please send an email to Allyson Legnini email@example.com with the following:
- A description of the product (along with photo if available)
- The price of the product
- Information for who to contact and/or where customers can make orders