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Greetings from M Street!

As we enter the fall season and head into the November elections, our M Street offices are bustling with election related activities. We are also busy on new initiatives coming out of the 2006 Convention and ongoing projects unrelated to elections.

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As in past messages, I will highlight here a few of our ongoing LWVUS/EF activities and some that we have completed since I last wrote. You will find more about what is happening in other sections of this Voter (particularly the Education Fund and Advocacy news in the League Matters section, and Hill Bulletin).

In the area of voter outreach and education, we have a number of new initiatives. In September, we are launching VOTE411: "An Election Information One-Stop-Shop" for 2006. It includes both state-specific and general information on elections, as well as a polling place locator feature. The League's new partnership with the Overseas Vote Foundation provides VOTE411 with an easy-to-use online tool to help overseas voters. For more details on VOTE411 see p. 20 in this Voter.

We also have expanded our partnership with Telemundo in the 2006 Tu Voto, Tu Voz public awareness campaign to encourage voter registration and electoral participation among U.S. Latinos. In addition, we are reissuing two of our most successful public education materials: the VOTE brochure and the "5 Things You Need to Know on Election Day" palm card.

The League of Women Voters was honored as the first recipient of the American Bar Association's Hod Greeley Judicial Outreach Award. This award recognizes "individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting increased public awareness of the need for a fair and impartial judiciary."

In the global democracy area, the League has been chosen by the Open World Leadership Center for a second year of the Russian Civic Hosting Program and a first year of the Ukrainian Civic Hosting Program. Both phases of the first year of the Kenyans Working Together for Good Governance program have been successful. The program had both U.S. and Kenya based components. The second group of Kenyans will arrive in spring 2007.

On the advocacy front, there was tremendous League activity in support of legislation to renew the Voting Rights Act (VRA), The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. The bill overwhelmingly passed in late July. In campaign finance reform, we were successful in defeating a bill that would have returned corrupting soft money to federal elections. The League labored intensively on lobbying reform and ethics through the spring months, but Congress failed to pass meaningful lobbying reform, including establishment of an Office of Public Integrity.

The new membership recruiting initiative has begun and the five local Leagues to participate in the one-year pilot project are being chosen as this Voter goes to press. More information is provided below on the "story bank" component of this initiative.

This issue of the magazine focuses on the health of our democracy, with the feature articles dedicated to three of our priority Democracy Agenda concerns: civil liberties, election reform and campaign finance reform. The article on civil liberties provides a historical perspective from which to consider current surveillance issues and pertinent thoughts on the role of Congress. The election reform article covers the LWVEF Voter Advocacy Project with a special focus on protecting vulnerable voters from restrictive voter identification requirements and poorly implemented and managed statewide voter registration databases. The campaign finance piece discusses the importance of supporting public financing of political campaigns.

Nancy E. Tate, LWVUS Executive Director
COPYRIGHT 2006 League of Women Voters
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:voting
Author:Tate, Nancy E.
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:593
Previous Article:How healthy is our democracy?
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