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CIVIL LIBERTIES

The Civil Liberties Advisory Task Force met in Washington, DC, on November 16-17, 2004. Task force members, Xandra Kayden (Chair-CA), Susan Fields (PA), Carol Goldenberg (WA), Andrea Gruhl (MD), Susie Guise (FL) and Sukey Wilder (CA), met with LWVEF staff members who have been working on these issues for over 18 months and two outside experts who participated in a civil liberties panel at Convention. The LWVEF Board appointed this Civil Liberties Advisory Task Force to consider and recommend a range of civil liberties activities that could be undertaken by the League at the national, state and/or local level. The task force's recommendations will be submitted to the Board for consideration at its January 2005 meeting. To get involved in the civil liberties discussion, join the League Liberty discussion list at http://lists.lwv.org.

VOTER OUTREACH AND EDUCATION

The League's nationwide outreach and voter education campaign, 5 Things You Need to Know on Election Day, spread a simple message: you can take steps to protect your vote. LWVUS President Kay J. Maxwell traveled to 20 cities in eight states in under two months, promoting this message in over 100 media interviews. She was interviewed on three major national networks plus CNN, C-SPAN and MSNBC. Over three-quarters of a million copies of the 5 Things cards, in English and Spanish, were distributed through state and local Leagues and partnerships with groups like the American Library Association, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Youth Leadership Initiative, Youth Vote Coalition and other election reform advocates. In the week prior to Election Day, the card was downloaded from the League's Web site nearly 40,000 times.

The League of Women Voters' DemocracyNet (DNet, www.dnet.org), part of Capitol Advantage's Capwiz[TM] Election tool, provided information on over 25,000 candidates, covering 5,800 races, and 167 ballot measures nationwide in 2004. Capwiz Election with DNet was the single most comprehensive voter information Web site. Through the League's innovative partnership with Capitol Advantage, approximately 220 different Web sites, including all the major media portals, presented this election information. The winning combination got over 46,993,576 page views in 2004. On Election Day alone, an unprecedented 10 million voters used Capwiz Election with DNet! League volunteers across the country made DNet one of the most looked-to political Web sites of the election season and provided unparalleled access to information on candidates and ballot measures in their communities.

Voter Registration Success. Through various online and field efforts, Leagues across the country directly helped over 75,000 voters register or update their existing registration. Approximately 22,000 of these were on behalf of the Working Assets voter registration campaign. More than 110,000 additional voters were registered through the Register in Advance and Smackdown Your Vote! partnerships.

The League's Judicial Independence Project, partnered with Justice at Stake, monitored 2004 state Supreme Court races around the country. In half the states with Supreme Court elections, campaign fundraising surpassed the 2002 totals. The LWV of Georgia successfully counteracted interest group pressure in that state's July elections by working aggressively to collect and disseminate first-rate information about the candidates. In October, the LWV of North Carolina hosted a Webcast candidate forum, while the LWV of Mississippi held four televised debates of their Supreme Court candidates with questions from a panel of journalists and League members. The LWVs of Minnesota and New York included judicial candidates in their printed Voter Guides and on their Web sites for the first time.

ELECTION REFORM

Just two days after the election, the LWVUS held a well-attended Post-Election Symposium at the National Press Club in Washington. DC, to air the observations and critiques of activists, officials and analysts. Two panels of experts took a hard look at what worked and what didn't in get-out-the-vote efforts, campaign finance reform and election administration. President Kay J. Maxwell opened the symposium; the moderator was National Public Radio's Lynn Neary. The first panel focused on voter education, engagement and turnout, including a look at the role of various interest groups and the impact of changes in campaign financing rules. The second panel covered voters' experiences on Election Day, with particular attention to such issues as provisional ballots, ID, machine adequacy and effectiveness of poll workers. Access a report on the symposium at: www.lwv.org/join/elections/news_events.html.

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HAVA Implementation Survey. LWVEF surveyed various states to ascertain the specific details of their laws and rules to implement the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The purpose of the survey was to identify potential problems that could put the votes of eligible voters at risk, and focused on key implementations of HAVA: provisional balloting procedures, voter ID requirements, voter registration procedures, and polling place operations. The LWVEF worked with state League activists and state and local election officials to gather the information needed, and to encourage appropriate action before the 2004 election. See the sidebar, p. 5.

Nearly 100 national organizations, including the League, and 25,000 additional volunteers undertook the largest Election Protection effort in history. The Election Protection Coalition sought to limit voter disenfranchisement through compliance with election laws and worked with election officials to address the needs of the grassroots community, educate voters and serve as a resource both on and before Election Day. Through the coalition more than five million state specific Voters' Bills of Rights were distributed across the country, tens of thousands of voting rights problems around the nation were documented with many rectified, volunteers were stationed at polls on Election Day, and a toll-free hotline was available to voters in need.

Working with the Alliance for Better Campaigns, the League continues its leadership role in the "Our Democracy, Our Airwaves" campaign, a nationwide public education effort to revitalize competition in our democratic process by ensuring that the public airwaves serve as a forum for open and vibrant political debate, especially among candidates. The League is helping to mobilize support for proposals that ensure broadcasters air at least a minimum amount of candidate- and issue-focused coverage in the weeks before elections and make the airwaves accessible to more candidates. For more information and/or meeting-ready materials, contact kmcfarland@lwv.org.

COMMUNITY FORUMS AND CIVIC EDUCATION

The LWVEF has completed publication of Citizens Building Communities: The ABCs of Public Dialogue. This first-of-its-kind guide offers a quick look at different models and basic principles to assist communities in understanding and utilizing different ways to foster the interaction between citizens and government. The League worked with experts in community dialogue and democracy work to create this publication that shares insight into the practice of creating meaningful dialogue and moving those conversations into action.

Throughout the League's history, we have played significant roles in citizen involvement around issues of concern. The League is known for creating balanced forums for citizens to learn about issues and share their perspectives. As various models of public dialogue have emerged over the last decade, we thought it was important to create this publication and start to share some of the key factors that help create trusted opportunities for substantial citizen input and action.

One copy of Citizens Building Communities: The ABCs of Public Dialogue is being sent to each League. For additional copies, see the ad on the back cover of this issue.

GLOBAL DEMOCRACY

The League of Women Voters Education Fund (Global Democracy), the Center for Women Policy Studies, and Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) have joined in a project entitled Women Engaging Globally. The purpose is to engage U.S. women, both grassroots and elected officials, as advocates for U.S. foreign policy that promotes human rights, economic development, peace and security and sustainable development. This project runs from August 2004 to August 2005 and is funded by CONNECT US FUND, a network of organizations that focuses on American foreign policy or on global issues that are influenced by U.S. policies and behaviors. The League will help host a series of five forums. The first one in December 2004 was held by the LWV of MN on "U.S. Foreign Policy and Its Impact on Women: The Case of Afghanistan and Iraq." More than 150 persons attended this forum held at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN (see Leagues in Action, p. 19.) Four other forums will be held in the spring. The LWV of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the LWV of the Cuyahoga Regional Area, OH, are organizing forums on "U.S. Foreign Policy and Its Impact on Women: HIV/AIDS," the LWV of Massachusetts will hold a forum on "International Trafficking of Women" and another League is considering a forum on "Immigrant and Refugee Women."

See p. 17 for a special global democracy outreach report.
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Title Annotation:LEAGUE MATTERS
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:1459
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