Making Democracy Work


Latest news about the League and its issues

Why Are Millions of Citizens Not Registered to Vote?

from The Pew Charitable Trusts Research & Analysis

Why Are Millions of Citizens Not Registered to Vote?

League Urges Support of Bond Act to Modernize Voting Systems

May 24 - League Joins Secretary of State, Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher, and County Elections Officials to Urge Support of Bond Act to Modernize Voting Systems.

SACRAMENTO - LWVC President Helen Hutchison joined Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, and county elections officials from across the state will hold a press conference Tuesday, May 23 in support of AB 668. Assembly Bill 668, the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018 authored by Assemblymember Gonzalez Fletcher, seeks $450 million to improve California's voting systems. The funding would update aging equipment and also modernize how the state conducts elections to improve the voting experience.

See Press Release at Voting Modernization Bond Act

The last major investment in California elections systems came through the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and Proposition 41, the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2002. In a report published in March, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) recommends that the legislature consider one-time funding to replace aging voting systems.

League Celebrates Supreme Court Ruling in North Carolina Redistricting Case

Supreme Court Finds North Carolina Redistricting Unconstitutional on Racial Gerrymandering

LWV Celebrates Major Win for Voters

Washington, DC - The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that North Carolina lawmakers used racial considerations to draw congressional districts following the 2010 Census. This unconstitutional racial gerrymandering benefited one political party's power in the state.

"This is a major win in the battle for fair election districts," said League of Women Voters president Chris Carson. "The Court rejected North Carolina's claim that a racial gerrymander can be justified by arguing that it is a political gerrymander, which is allowed by law."

The League of Women Voters filed an amicus brief with the Campaign Legal Center in this case, arguing that "post hoc explanations by the legislature that the lines it drew were based on partisan concerns cannot override evidence that race, not politics, was the primary motivation in drawing district lines."

"This is a critical win where racial and political gerrymanders intersect," continued Carson. "The claim by the North Carolina legislature that the lines drawn were based on partisan concerns cannot override evidence that race, not politics, was the primary motivation in drawing district lines."

The Court rejected this argument twice.

First, it held that the actual evidence in the case showed that this was a racial gerrymander. Second, it rejected the state's argument that a unique type of evidence, which was not present, is required to overcome the state's claim that a political rather than a racial gerrymander took place.

Contact: Sarah Courtney 202-263-1332

Voting Rights Groups Sue California DMV for Voter Suppression

May 9, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA --Voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit today against California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for its failure to offer federally mandated voter registration opportunities to millions of Californians....

In January 2016, to avoid a lawsuit, California DMV incorporated voter registration into its in-person and online transactions and stopped requiring people to fill out a separate card. DMV refused, however, to commit to incorporating voter registration into its mail renewal process.

"It is simply unacceptable for the DMV to deny seamless voter registration to millions of Californians who renew their licenses by mail," said Helen Hutchison, President of the League of Women Voters of California.

See the LWVC's entire statement here Voting Rights Groups Sue California DMV

May 13 Annual Meeting

Three LWVPA members received lifetime memberships: Phyllis Cassel, Nonette Hanko * and Lanie Wheeler. Each has been in the League for fifty or more years and made outstanding contributions to Palo Alto.

Our guest speaker, Vice Mayor Liz Kniss, made perceptive comparisons of the current times to the tumultuous and transitional days of the late 60's.

Members voted to increase our dues to virtually the same point they would be had they risen $2/year since their last increase in 2010. They will be $85 per member and $40 per additional household member or student.

We gratefully accepted the recommendations of a committee which recently examined our Housing and Natural Resources positions in order to group their elements more logically. The changes include dropping the outdated parts of our energy position and incorporating its still-salient points into other positions.

What will we focus on this year?

  • Review the LWVPA Education Position to determine if an update is needed.

  • Emphasize, with a committee for each, climate change; housing, transportation/transit; local immigration; local campaign finance; and constitutional rights.

  • Educate on civic involvement, civic discourse, civic savvy, and constitutional rights.

  • Reach out to the homeless, other underserved populations, and organizations that work with new citizens re: voter registration, get out the vote, and civic education.

  • Re-activate an Observer Corps to follow local government bodies.

  • Collaborate more with neighboring Leagues and other nonpartisan organizations.

  • Study, with the other county Leagues, whether Santa Clara County's Independent Oversight Committees meet, what power they have, and what their reporting mechanisms are.

During Directions to the Board, one suggestion was to ask tech companies to partner with the League on civic engagement and voter registration.

Leadership Elections We elected a new Officers and Directors Bonnie Packer will continue as President, and Aisha Piracha-Zakariya will become 1st Vice President. The other officers will continue: 2nd VP Ellen Forbes, Treasurer Steve Levy, and Secretary Karen Kalinsky.

Directors will be: Jean Lythcott - Voter Service Megan Swezey Fogarty & Lynne Russell - Membership Lisa Ratner - Advocacy David Springer - Voter's Edge/Smart Voter Sue Hermsen - VOTER editor Tory Bers - Publicity Maureen O'Kicki - Program/Events Lisa Peschcke-Koedt - Civic Engagement Ellen Smith - Board Development

Karen Douglas was elected Secretary/Treasurer of County Council.

Chris Logan will chair the Nominating Committee, serving with Ellen Springer, Nancy Smith, and two members from the board.

LWV on the deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants

From the President of the League of Women Voters of the United States:

The League is opposed to deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants.

The LWV supports cities, towns, counties and states that make a decision not to cooperate with federal deportation and enforcement actions that include non-criminal undocumented immigrants. Moreover, the Trump Administration's orders are of dubious legality. It is simply wrong, and a perversion of the American system of justice, for the Executive Branch to refuse to obey federal court orders.

The LWV is opposed to discrimination, including discrimination in immigration, based on religion. The Trump Administration's orders appear to be targeted at Muslims and immigrants from majority-Muslims nations.

We would like to remind all our members that we are faced with many challenges to our positions and the League is involved in serious efforts to address them. Among these, we spent last weekend anticipating the issuance of an Executive Order investigating `voter fraud'. We continue to monitor this situation and are ready to issue a statement if that occurs. We also continue our efforts to lobby on ACA in Congress. Everybody in the country is scrambling to keep up.

Chris Carson, President/Chair League of Women Voters of the United States League of Women Voters Education Fund 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036 Facebook: @leagueofwomenvoters Twitter: @LWV| Making Democracy Work™