HELP US ADVOCATE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION!

If you are concerned about how expanding EDchoice vouchers will affect public schools, you can support LWV Ohio’s lobbying efforts.  Here is a recent letter from LWVO.

The last three months of advocacy to prevent an explosion in the number of Edchoice vouchers and to prevent burdening local communities with this uninvited cost, has not produced a solution. Thankfully, it has created a wonderful outpouring of support for public education. 

As the April 1 deadline looms, the League can be part of two initiatives to keep up the pressure. 

  1. The first is a letter writing campaign targeting the senate and Governor. Senate Bill 89 is the best option. It passed the house with flying colors, but the senate turned it down with only 7 yes votes. SB 89 will need 17 senators to vote yes. Ten people hold the fate of more than 400 communities in their hands.  Despite hours of testimony that challenged the report card and deduction funding, the senate majority and the Governor seem unwilling to consider the downside for the state and communities of insisting on test-based judgment. 
    Attached is a template letter to send to your state senator, to senate president Larry Obhof, and to Governor DeWine to let them know we want them to support public education. The letter can be formatted with your local League logo and tailored for your senator. If you are having a local League meeting before April 1, please prepare a set of these letters and give members a few minutes to sign the letters, add their address, and add a personal note. Then send them as a group to each recipient.
  2.  The second initiative is the Rally for Public Education at the Statehouse on March 18. I have attached a flyer. I hope that every League will be represented when we walk from the League office to the Statehouse under the LWVO banner. Arrive by 3:00 to walk together. This was already shared by the state office with all LWVO members, but additional messaging from the local level and an organized trip to Columbus for those would be key to a successful presence of the League at this event.  

Your help is deeply appreciated.

Hope to see you in Columbus!

Susie Kaeser

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League of Women Voters’ impact still felt on 100th anniversary

www.newarkadvocate.com 2 mins read

A 100-year birthday deserves a big celebration, and the League of Women Voters turns 100 this year.

It was born in Chicago on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1920, at the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Achieving women’s suffrage was just over the horizon, clearly in sight. It would come to pass officially in August of that same year.

The struggle had started long before, however, seventy-two long years before, at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York. The men and women there in 1848 signed a manifesto mirroring the language of the Declaration of Independence and listing the grievances and limitations stemming from “this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country.”

By 1920, NAWSA counted over two million members, and the movement’s leaders, among them Carrie Chapman Catt, had begun to imagine a new mission. New voters would quickly learn the mechanics of the ballot box, but they should also understand the big picture. How does government work? How are laws made and enforced? How can people who want legislation reflecting their interests and values organize themselves toward that end? The League of Women Voters was Catt’s answer. It would concentrate on voter education, equipping citizens with the knowledge to participate actively in politics.

From the beginning the League chose to occupy nonpartisan ground. For one thing, leaders had spent decades trying to get suffrage included in the parties’ platforms, a strategy that had come to nothing. More than being frustrated with political parties, however, they perceived advantages to nonpartisanship, imagining education and advocacy that would be reliably fair and balanced. Nonpartisan foundations would open public spaces, such as candidate forums and voter guides, to benefit all voters.

In 2020, look for celebrations of the Centennial of women’s suffrage in schools, libraries and other organizations, but the League of Women Voters has reason to celebrate too. The national leadership designated February 14th as a Day of Action, encouraging local chapters to define the birthday in their own ways.

Our local League has extensive experience registering students, garnering around 300 registrations at high schools throughout the county in the spring of 2019, for example. Building on that experience, volunteers recently reached out to other sectors of our community. They talked with neighbors who are homeless or recovering from addiction, those who live with a mental illness or disability, women taking shelter from domestic abuse, and others.

Our local “Day” of Action extended over three days, in fact, and five locations. The nonprofit partners in this effort were the Main Place, New Beginnings (the Woodlands), Newark Homeless Outreach, and Vertical 196 (Licking County Jail Ministries). On Feb. 14 at the Licking County Library in Newark, we welcomed anyone to update their voter registration, register to vote for the first time, or talk to someone about the logistics of voting and why it matters.

Happy birthday to the League of Women Voters.

Rita Kipp is the President of the League of Women Voters of Licking County.

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Opportunities coming up for Redistricting Reformers

Rita,

We have exciting news for Ohio’s Fair Maps Redistricting Reformers!

Dave Daley, author of Ratf*cked, has another book coming out soon.

The new book is called Unrigged, and it chronicles, in part, our struggle for redistricting reform here in Ohio. It even contains a scene from Ohio’s Issue 1 victory night celebration in May of 2018!

Dave will be on a book tour in the spring, stopping in Columbus on Thursday, April 2. We plan to hold an event that evening where Dave will speak. It will in part be a fundraiser for Common Cause Ohio. We will have additional opportunities during that day for folks to meet and talk with Dave.

Are you interested in being part of a small planning committee for this event? We think it’s a great opportunity to hear from Dave, raise some funds, and kick off the important work we need to do this year to get ready for redistricting in 2021.

If you are interested in helping us plan this event, fill out this form.  

We will schedule an initial planning meeting towards the end of February.

Additional Redistricting Opportunities

If event planning is not your thing but you are ready to get re-engaged with redistricting work, we have other areas that need attention.

  • We are looking for redistricting reformers who will help promote our “Pledge to End Gerrymandering.” We are forming a committee that will work to spread the word and garner additional pledges, especially from prominent Ohioans.
  • Pretty soon we will begin work on our “Draw the Line Ohio” map making competition. We are seeking redistricting reformers and map-drawing enthusiasts to join a committee whose task will be to get the competition up and running.

If you are interested in either of these tasks/opportunities, fill out the form and indicate your area of interest in the last question.  

We look forward to hearing from you soon and working with you again!

Thanks for all you do,

Catherine Turcer & the Common Cause Ohio team

2/13/2020

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Lakewood High School – Voter Registration

Thanks to a cooperative principal and others on the staff at Lakewood High School, 50 seniors registered to vote there today.  Thanks also to Voter Registration stalwarts Barb Lechner and Anne Goodge.  What a way to start the spring registration drive!

Rita Kipp, 5 February 2020

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Automatic Voter Registration

We have the opportunity to make our elections here in Ohio more inclusive, accurate, and secure with one simple reform: Automatic Voter Registration (AVR).

Here’s how it works: when any eligible voter visits their BMV or another public state office, their information is automatically verified and securely added to the voter rolls, unless they opt out.

AVR would make our election system much safer, less expensive, and more accessible. It’s a much-needed improvement over our cumbersome, outdated voter registration process. Plus, it’d significantly increase the number of eligible voters who participate in our democracy — and make sure election results more accurately reflect what the people want.

It’s time to bring this simple, groundbreaking solution to Ohio. Add your name and tell your representatives to support AVR!

TAKE ACTION

Automatic Voter Registration is just common sense — and it’s already delivering major results in states across the country.

In those states that have adopted it, hundreds of thousands of eligible voters have already been added to the rolls. In Oregon, AVR was enacted in time for the 2016 elections — and that fall, the state bucked a nationwide low-turnout trend with at least 100,000 newly registered voters showing up to the polls.

Now, we’re leading the fight to bring AVR to Ohio — because every voter here has the right to be heard and to select the people and policies that affect their family, their friends, and their community.

Together, we can reform our electoral process for the better — and make sure every eligible voter in our state can cast a ballot. Sign the petition and show your support for AVR today!

There’s no reason to delay any longer. Let’s bring this simple, groundbreaking solution to Ohio.

Thanks for all you do,
Catherine Turcer, Executive Director
and the team at Common Cause Ohio

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VOTE411 Report for 2019

Throughout the United States, those who use Vote411.org to find information on candidates and issues continues to grow.  Megan Brown, the VOTE411 administrator, recently wrote:

VOTE411 educated more voters than any other off-year election cycle! You all should be extremely proud of all the candidate outreach, VOTE411 publicity, candidate debates/forums, and other voter service work this cycle.

This year VOTE411 had over 1.2 million sessions from Jan 1st through Election Day, and nearly 1.1 million of those sessions included the online voters’ guides! That represents an 84% increase in sessions nationwide to voters’ guides on VOTE411 as compared to the 2017 cycle, and a 264% increase over the 2015 election cycle (technically the most comparable election cycle). These are amazing numbers and show just how much the voters turn to the League to find the information they need on Election Day.

Note that these numbers show sessions, not users; a person may well access this site more than once.  Also, recall that VOTE411 was not available for Licking County voters until the League formed here in late 2017.  We first used it in 2018.

Just as voter turnout is greatly affected by which races are on the ballot, so is VOTE411 usage.  Usage in Ohio was generally greater in the fall of 2018 than this year because we were voting then on a governor and other state-wide races, congressional district representatives, and seats in the Ohio House and Senate.

Turnout in the recent election was expected to be low and it was.  Understanding all that, here are the figures on how much VOTE411 was used.  For perspective I include Columbus along with some Licking County sites. While Licking County’s numbers are okay, given the low interest in this election, we clearly need to continue educating voters – and candidates — about this great online resource.  Seeing the vote411 numbers in 2020 will be very interesting.

VOTE411 Sessions

  2019 2018
Columbus 14,391 61,274
Granville 123 319
Heath 49 110
Pataskala 277 576
Newark 1,082 1,653
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Film Showing and Discussion

Documentary
  • When: Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 2:00 PM
  • Where: Granville Public Library, 217 E Broadway, Granville, OH

This documentary offers a compelling look at how anonymous campaign contributions, enabled by the Citizens United [2010] decision, undermine democratic elections.  Citizens United also specified thatstates could enact disclosure laws that would pass constitutional muster—and several lower courts have since upheld such laws. Some states, though, including Ohio, have allowed campaign financing to remain in the shadows. After the viewing at the library participants will be invited to join a moderated discussion and to use provided postcards, mailing addresses, and stamps to send their Statehouse legislators a brief request to update Ohio’s campaign finance laws.

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Shine a light post cards

Folks in Granville wrote 140 postcards today for the shine a light on dark money campaign.

Shine the Light postcard writing.
Exposing Cark money
Repeal HB6 in OHIO
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2019 Program Summary

The Women’s Voices Project: Training the Next Gen of Women Leaders

Executive Summary

The LWVLC Development Committee met to determine the approach for this year’s Women’s Voices Project.   The Committee’s plan was to reach out to a targeted list of four high schools and set up a Program Introduction Event at a central location with representatives and students from those schools. Additionally, the goal had been to target a total of 20 students for the Mentoring and Leadership program. For these students, annual membership dues to our League would be paid by LWVLC.

Five Watkins Memorial High School and one Heath High School student made the commitment to the program and were paired with LWVLC mentors.  Mentors and mentees met to design a personalized program of three events or activities to meet the grant requirements.

Challenges were created due to the late start in organizing and gaining access to the high schools.  Further, once into the Spring Semester the students engaged were also committed to other curricular and co-curricular activities.  Scheduling time for mentor/mentee meetings and activities was often difficult.  However, the girls engaged in a variety of political and issue-based activities that included observing city council meetings, attending LWVO Statehouse Day, and attending panel discussions. Both mentees and mentors expressed satisfaction with the experience but all desired more time.  Our experiences this year have helped inform our recommendations for next year.  This includes beginning outreach to the High Schools early in the year (August/ September).  Additionally, we believe that a liaison at the school, who can assist in providing a space for the students to share their experiences, coordinate activities, and highlight concerns would be highly beneficial.

Link to the Full Report: http://lwvlickingcounty.org/empowering-women-2019-exec-summary/

Background

Student Recruitment

Student Engagement

Lessons Learned

Recommendations


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Losing our local newspaper, an essential part of this community, would be a huge loss for the League but also for citizens in general.

Dear Members and Friends,

Over the last few weeks, Ben Lanka, Editor of the Newark Advocate, has held informational talks on The Future of the Advocate.  Five of us in the League attended the one at the Granville Public Library on May 21st

We learned that the Advocate (and its affiliated papers in Granville and Pataskala) are not in imminent danger of disappearing, but the ever-declining percentage of the population that subscribe and the crash in advertising revenues over the decades paint a telling picture.  The staff is greatly reduced compared to the past, and other cost-savings, such as reduced frequency of publication or pricing that relies on bundling, are being considered.

This picture is far from unique to Licking County.  Many local newspapers across the country have disappeared in the onslaught of digital information, much of it for free.  More and more people access the news through their mobile devices, which is also true of the Advocate’s readership. Over 33,600 follow it on Facebook while an estimated 20,000 readers per day see the print version.  In fact, by measures of this and other online traffic to the Advocate’s digital pages, interest in the local news remains in high.

Since covering our first organizing meeting in August of 2017, the Advocate has been a good friend to the League in Licking County.  It is it hard to imagine how we could have grown as we did and become so widely known without it.  Here are some specific ways the Advocate has partnered with us:

  • Published brief announcements of coming events
  • Collaborated with us on the voter guide for the November 2018 election
  • Wrote a detailed and balanced story about our candidates’ night ahead of the May primary
  • Published several of my voter education columns – about gerrymandering, HR1, and recently, legislation to stop the take-over of “failing” schools from locally elected Boards of Education

Like us, the Advocate also promotes elections and voting.  For example, the editorial board interviewed each of the candidates running  in the primary for Municipal Judge and published profiles of each.  Because the League is not allowed to profile judicial candidates due to an agreement with Judicial Votes Count, this was an especially significant service.  The editorial board endorsed one Republican and one Democratic candidate. 

Another recent article — on the Newark mayoral race—explained why that race is important but then declined to endorse either candidate, urging voters instead to study their options carefully before the fall election.

Licking County enjoyed a high profile at the recent LWV Ohio state convention due to winning the award for Voter Outreach.  Our rapid growth and accomplishments are now well known in League circles across the state.  When people ask me, “How did you do it?” my explanations usually include the use of social media and the press to build name recognition.

Losing our local newspaper, an essential part of this community for almost 200 years (!), would be a huge loss for the League but also for citizens in general.  There is no other reliable source for local news.  Recent stories about Newark City Council’s response to the homeless, and the continuing controversy over the future of the Newark Earthworks are the kinds of stories that hit closest to home and that we would miss if our local paper were to disappear. 

Bottom line? Subscribe!  The regular digital subscription is very reasonable, and for a limited time, you can get a three-month digital subscription for just 99 cents.  Find the link at the end of the piece linked here.

Limited time offer, 3-month digital subscription

Rita 5/23/2019

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