The League's Education Fund recently received funding from the government of the District of Columbia to undertake a year-long program of citizen education and outreach to build awareness of District of Columbia citizens' lack of full voting rights and full self-government. Citizen education will be carried out via a program of coordinated activities that include both media outreach and outreach to the public. Information on how Leagues may apply for pass-through grants for this project will be provided.
The League and its coalition partners are supporting efforts for local and state Leagues throughout the country to host community forums or other public education events about the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Seed grants are available to Leagues interested in hosting such events; e-mail email@example.com for more information. See the VRA feature, p. 10, and Hill Bulletin in this issue for additional information.
The League, in collaboration with IFES and the Pollworker Institute, has completed the first phase of the poll worker recruitment and training project, involving 19 focus groups and interviews. We are now working towards piloting a guide of current practices related to poll worker recruitment, training and retention. This project is funded by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Through the Public Advocacy for Voter Protection project, the LWVEF is working this year with the LWVs of Florida, Georgia, and Ohio, and other state Leagues, to prevent the development of processes and procedures that threaten to disenfranchise eligible citizens. Issues related to voter registration databases, restrictive voter identification requirements, and restrictions on third party registration drives are the primary areas of focus.
VOTER OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
Over the past two years, the Voter Information section of the LWV Web site has been expanded. The area now features general election information on registering to vote; getting educated on the candidates and issues; getting out the vote, including targeted outreach to youth and other new voters; and how to stay involved after elections. It also includes relevant League publications. In 2005, due to the absence of DNet, the LWVUS began hosting numerous Leagues' Voters Guides.
This year, the Voter Information section is being transformed into a more comprehensive, online one-stop-shop for election information. It will include significant amounts of state-specific data on primary and general election dates, registration deadlines, absentee ballot information, voter qualifications, ID requirements, early voting options, and much more, as well as Leagues' Voters Guides and the other information listed above.
Election 2006 is heating up and Leagues' voter registration efforts are already in full swing as many states prepare for early primaries. The LWVUS is proud to provide an online Voter Registration Tool at www.lwv.org/RegisterToVote. This tool is a quick and easy way to register to vote. Another source of election information is candidate debates, and Leagues across the country are busy hosting forums. Voters can easily find information on debates in their areas through the LWVUS Web site. Working with the LWVs of New Orleans and Louisiana, the LWVUS helped provide Leagues across the country with tools to help displaced New Orleans voters participate in their primary election on April 22 and their general election on May 20. The LWVUS shared these tools with all interested citizens through the Web site, including a helpful voter information flyer.
In March, the LWVUS celebrated Women's History Month with Lifetime Television promoting the Lifetime premiere of the movie "Iron Jawed Angels." This is part of Lifetime's College Corps 2006, an effort to promote voting among young women in the upcoming elections. We encouraged Leagues to host movie-watching parties for potential new members as well as for young people in local high schools and colleges.
Connecting Students, Teachers, Legislators and League Leaders. The League continues to build on past efforts with the Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), a University of Virginia Center for Politics program, to engage students in the democratic process. YLI develops and distributes free K-12 civic education resources. Hundreds of schools across the country are now participating in the annual YLI e-Congress, an interactive online simulation that guides students through the legislative process. We encourage students to build on their e-Congress experience by speaking firsthand with League leaders and legislators.
The Safeguarding U.S. Democracy: Promoting an Independent Judiciary by Defending the U.S. Constitution project is definitely underway. Just eight months into the program, approved proposals have resulted in the participation of 237 local and state Leagues in 23 states across the country. The planned activities include: community and regional forums, TV forums and candidate debates, voters guides (printed/online, English/Spanish, Audio/Braille), informational brochures and flyers, and speaker's bureaus. Related to this, 15 Leagues recently organized forums for Law Day on May 1st under this year's theme "Liberty under Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers." Law Day is an annual event promoted by the American Bar Association.
LIBERTY AND SECURITY
Fourteen Leagues received funding to host openness in government events during Sunshine Week (March 12-18) as part of the League's Openness in Government: Looking for the Sunshine project. Other Leagues around the country undertook activities as well. The LWVUS and its coalition partners kicked off Sunshine Week 2006 by hosting the "Are We Safer in the Dark?" panel discussion at the National Press Club. The program addressed the problem of secrecy, its personal and public impacts, and what the public can do about it. It was broadcast to libraries across the country, many of which worked with local Leagues. Details about ordering a DVD of the program are available on the League Web site.
The LWVEF created a resource guide, Looking for Sunshine: Protecting Your Right to Know, to assist Leagues on the topic of openness in government. The guide can be downloaded from our Web site; hard copies are available for $4.50 through publications sales (Pub #2077).
The League has partnered with the United Nations Foundation for the fourth year to organize forums in fall 2006 as part of The People Speak program. Pass-through grants for Leagues will be available.
The LWVEF has received funding from the Better World Foundation Millennium Campaign for Leagues to organize forums to raise the public's awareness about the importance of reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The goals are: eradication of poverty and hunger; primary education for girls and boys; gender equality; reduction of the mortality rate for children under five; reduction of women dying in childbirth; halting the spread of HIV/AIDS; ensuring environmental sustainability; and creating a global partnership for development.
The first year participants in the Kenyans Working for Good Governance project arrived on April 1st. Their week in Washington, DC, began with a luncheon hosted by President Kay Maxwell and Board members. Among their week's activities were a Lobby Corps day on Capitol Hill and visits to the State House in Annapolis, MD, and the Board of Supervisors in Arlington County, VA. The participants were hosted for another week by the Leagues of Tucson, AZ, and Wichita Metro, KS. The efforts in Wichita included a program with former Senator Nancy Kassenbaum, candidate training with Emily's List, and a reception with Jim Lehrer of MacNeil-Lehrer Productions. In Tucson, the program included meetings with the Mayor of Tucson, the Pima County Board of Supervisors and U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe of the 8th Congressional District, and observation of a mock candidate interview with Arizona's Women's Political Caucus. In July, League leaders Ernestine Krehbiel from Wichita and Carol West from Tucson will travel to several cities in Kenya to participate in a series of meetings and workshops.
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|Title Annotation:||League of Women Voters|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2006|
|Previous Article:||Hill Bulletin.|
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