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Education Fund.

A large number of exciting activities are proceeding in four areas simultaneously--voter outreach and education, election reform, community forums and civic education, and global democracy.

VOTER OUTREACH AND EDUCATION

DNet continues to be the most significant League voter education activity, and 2004 is a particularly exciting year. Under the new partnership with Capitol Advantage, DNet can be found in its new home at Congress.org, and is still accessible through the original URL, www.dnet.org. This partnership allows for full national coverage of federal and state races and substantially increased public and media access and visibility--all at a significantly reduced cost to the League.

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Another exciting set of activities relates to the League's partnership in registration and Get-Out-the-Vote efforts with various organizations. A number of these efforts are directed toward first-time voters--youth and new citizens. Many local Leagues are involved in one or more of these efforts; some have received grants to fund their work. The projects underway include Smackdown Your Vote!, the New Voters Project, Youth Vote, the Youth Leadership Initiative, Telemundo and Working Assets.

The Smackdown and Telemundo initiatives have resulted in public service announcements (PSAs) which are designed to be run through Election 2004. The Smackdown Your Vote! (SYV!) PSA features President Kay Maxwell. Telemundo Channel 64 and the LWV launched the Tu Voto, Tu Voz PSAs to encourage voting among Hispanics and Latinos in the Washington metropolitan area. It is anticipated that Telemundo will make the PSAs available in some of their other markets.

The Education Fund has been involved in producing publications as well. The most recent is "Voter Turnout: Let's Turn It Up," a 2004 election guidebook for local broadcasters, published in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters. This booklet is being distributed to all independent broadcasters as well as to state and local Leagues. In addition, the League's new tri-fold VOTE brochure sold out within the first three months, and is now in its second printing.

ELECTION REFORM

Education Fund staff continue working with Leagues and others on public education and implementation aspects of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). One effort is the upcoming publication entitled "Safe-guarding the Vote," the second in our series providing implementation recommendations for election officials and reformers.

The LWVEF continues its partnership with the Alliance for Better Campaigns on Our Democracy, Our Airwaves. The LWVEF is conducting a public education and advocacy campaign in 2004 on the role of television in elections and the importance of strengthening the public interest standard for broadcasters. To kick off this new phase, the Alliance held a conference with project coordinators from around the country, including nine state Leagues plus the LWV of Los Angeles.

In its fourth year of funding from The Open Society Institute, the League's Judicial Independence project is at work in over 14 states. In addition to voters' guides and candidate forums across the country, participating Leagues are expanding opportunities for citizen education on the courts.

COMMUNITY FORUMS AND CIVIC EDUCATION

The terrorist attacks of 2001 and subsequent U.S. foreign policy decisions have led Leagues nationwide to begin holding forums to explore the tensions and trade offs related to individual liberties and national security. The LWVUS Board raised this topic to a legislative priority, and authorized staff to explore ways to assist Leagues. Key LWVEF activities to date include: creating a "Civil Liberties" section on the LWV Web site, providing guidance to Leagues wishing to take a leadership role in their communities, and writing proposals to secure external funding and resources. Under the leadership of LWVEF Trustee Xandra Kayden, a panel of experts will be assembled to address Convention 2004 attendees on the issue of balancing civil liberties and homeland security in a post-September 11 age.

The LWVEF is creating a new guidebook to help Leagues and other organizations understand some of the different community dialogue and discussion forum models. This concise booklet explores large- and small-scale models as well as those utilizing Internet technology. It also provides information directing Leagues to the different organizations that have created the models and offering a comparison of the choices as well as tips for maximizing success with each model.

The LWVEF is an active participant in several activities to increase and improve civic education at the K-12 levels. One of these is the Congressional Conference on Civic Education, sponsored by the Joint Leadership of the U.S. Congress. President Kay Maxwell and Executive Director Nancy Tate were at-large delegates at the 2003 conference and will be actively involved in the 2004 conference. LWVEF officials serve on the Steering Committee for the Campaign for the Civic Mission of the Schools, whose goals are similar to, but broader than, those of the Congressional Conference.

GLOBAL DEMOCRACY

The League worked with Management Systems International to carry out preparation activities for the May 2004 elections in Malawi. The League teamed with the National Council of Women of Kenya--one of our partners under an earlier project, Woman Power Politics: Building Grassroots Democracy in Africa. We cooperated with four Malawian nongovernmental organizations to train close to 7,000 polling monitors to be observers on Election Day.
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Title Annotation:League Matters
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:856
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