LWV-OHIO Annual Convention
Friday, May 10, 2019 – 3:00pm to Sunday, May 12, 2019 – 1:00pm
What LWVO Statehouse Day is Like (2019)
Those attending LWV Ohio Statehouse Day from our League today were: Carol Apacki, Marsha Crawford, Laura Joseph, Rita Kipp, Faith Triplett (a senior from Watkins Memorial in our mentoring program who wants to run for political office someday) and Pam Wilson. Our experience lived up fully to the billing on the program: “A day of inspiration and advocacy.”
These were some of the highlights for me.
In a panel on state policy updates, we heard from League lobbyists who work to influence legislation in Columbus. For example, we heard from a former educator who described efforts to restore local control to four school districts that were taken over from constitutionally elected school boards and placed under “CEO” leadership. Another 10 districts are at risk for takeover in the coming year (none in Licking County so far).
“Using test scores as the basis for state takeover is questionable, given that there is a clear correlation between income and test scores, and all of these districts face high poverty rates.” In other words, simply changing the leadership from a school board to a CEO does not fix the problem. On the contrary, takeovers have been disruptive and counterproductive. HB124 would restore control to the four districts currently under state control, and HB 154 would halt the process from going forward into other districts.
The League hopes to see legislation introduced for Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), which is already working in 17 states. When eligible voters interact with any number of government agencies, they would be automatically registered to vote unless they choose to opt out.
AVR would streamline the maintenance of voter rolls, reducing if not ending the need to purge inactive voters, increase the percentage of those registered to vote – currently only 75 of eligible voters in Ohio are registered – and is more cost effective than our current system.
One interesting panel focused on the gender gap in elected leadership, depicting graphically the way men outnumber women increasingly as the pay for and power of elected positions increase. A map showing the percentage of women elected to leadership over all positions by county listed Licking County at 26 percent. This is below the state average of 29 percent, and far below the highest percentages, namely the urban counties where the figures are between 36 and 40 percent.
The lunchtime keynote was to have been given by Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, but he was out of the county to monitor an election. LaRose, who supported redistricting efforts and has already reached out to voters at risk of purging by mailing them voter registration forms, seems to be on the same page as the League with regard to expanding voting access and enhancing election security. His Chief of Staff, Merle Madrid, described some of these plans in his absence.
Having been primed in the morning with a session giving us practical tips about interacting effectively with legislators, we went in the afternoon to meet with one of ours, Representative Scott Ryan. (LWVO arranges these appointments ahead of time.)
Rep. Ryan spent 50 minutes with us in his office, where we exchanged information and opinions about the heartbeat bill, school takeovers and school funding, and automatic voter registration. We also urged that funding the Secretary of State’s budget should be a priority given the greater need for cyber security. During this meeting, we heard each other out respectfully and Rep. Ryan seemed open to working with the us in the future.
So much to learn
Dear Members and Friends of the League
Voter registration at Heath High School yesterday was different and quite special.
Steven Yeager, who teaches all the seniors there in a class that prepares them for life after graduation, including civic education, has been helping them understand how government is structured and how they can have an impact, especially at the local level. He invited me and Anne Goodge to attend five of his classrooms, where we registered those who were not yet registered (28 in total) but also had the luxury of time to take it farther.
To illustrate why voting is important, Steven, Anne, and I asked students to examine an agenda from a recent meeting of Heath City Council, including a memorandum from the Chief of Police to that body. What kind of services does Council oversee? Can we infer the kind of money Councils controls? What are the likely sources of that money? How does City Council’s work impact their lives every day? We saw that the Council’s useful website provides the meeting schedule and says that citizens are welcome to attend.
This was a “set up” for previewing what races and issues will be on the ballot in the May primary, including seats on City Council. We tried to give these first-time voters a sense of what to expect in a primary election, for example, that poll workers will ask which party’s ballot they want. So much to learn!
This photo, taken by Mr. Yeager, shows Anne (in the foreground with her back to the camera) and me talking with students in one of these classes.
From Rita Kipp, President
Hey! What’s going on?
Dear Members and Friends of the League,
One of the most common questions from new or prospective members is, “How often do you meet?” We have at least one big general meeting each year, our annual business meeting in late August. In the meantime, we work mostly in committees or by volunteering. Connect with the League by volunteering or working with a committee. The committees meet only as needed, not on a regular basis. The Board does meet regularly, however, (every quarter) and our next one will be on April 7th.
Here are some things going on.
Membership continues to grow. Although some who joined last year have moved or decided not to renew for other reasons, new members have more than made up the difference. Our official roster of active members now stands at 105.
The Membership Committee (Marsha Crawford, Sarah Leavell, Barb Lechner, Beth Ehrman, and Sarah Poe) seeks volunteers to help with the welcoming and on-boarding of new members. This entails phoning or meeting with someone who has recently joined (it may well be someone you know already) to learn them about what brings them to join the League – what are their interests? – and help them know who we are and how we work. Be the friendly voice or friendly face of the League! Join a pool of volunteers as greeters who will divide up this important task. Reply to this message to join this volunteer pool. It would be great to have a dozen people at the ready. We’ll provide a “script” to guide your contact with the new members.
2. Voter registration
Anne Goodge is organizing voter registration at Licking County high schools this spring. Meeting young people and talking with them about the importance of voting is gratifying work. Email Anne if you want to help: email@example.com
3. Looking to the Primary
Susan Haas is part of a group preparing a voter guide for the one contested race in the May 8th primary – the three At-large positions on Newark City Council—for which here are four Democrats and three Republicans running. We will solicit information from these candidates and post their profiles online through Vote411.
4. Educational Events
Carol Apacki leads a group that plans and sponsors lectures and other events to educate us about issues, especially poverty and other local concerns. Watch our facebook page, too, for announcements about speakers, films, and other pertinent events sponsored by others in our community – mostly free. Here are two examples:
- Dark Money (an award-winning film about the impact of the Citizens United ruling on campaign contribution disclosures). Thursday, February 21, 7:00 p.m. at 350 Hudson Ave. in Newark.
- The Ice of the Planet as Witness to and Memory of Climate Change, a talk by Paolo Gabrielli of the Byrd Polar Research Center at OSU. Thursday, February 28th, 7:00 p.m. Granville Public Library.
5. State House Day – March 27th
This annual event in downtown Columbus informs us about legislative goings-on in the Ohio House, Senate, and General Assembly. It also provides an opportunity to meet with a legislator. Last year three of us met with Jay Hottinger and shared our opinions on various issues. The keynote this year will be by Frank La Rose, the new Secretary of State.
6. LWV Ohio Convention – May 10 through May 12
This is the annual business meeting of the state League, to be held this year at Nationwide Conference Center just off Route 23 north of Columbus. In addition to hearing panels and speakers, we will elect some new members of the state board and vote on the advocacy positions of the League (See https://my.lwv.org/ohio/positions.) Our board has been asked for input in this process and we are ready to provide that. How many delegates a chapter may send depends on size; we can send several.
7. Grant-funded Mentoring for High School Girls
The timing of receiving this award was difficult this year, so we have scaled back our ambitions this spring and will run a pilot for the program which will start in earnest this fall. The purpose is to encourage girls’ civic engagement and build their leadership skills. Pam Wilson is leading this initiative that has attracted several very able and enthusiastic girls, all from Watkins Memorial in Pataskala.
Rita Kipp, President
19 February 2019
Bringing You Up to Date (11/20/2018)
Dear Friends in League,
This message goes only to those on the distribution list who are official League members to bring you up to date on some business details. A lot has been going on behind the scenes. If this foundational stuff does not interest you, just give it quick read and file the message to consult later if necessary.
Financial and Legal Foundations
We have recently filed for Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State, paying a filing fee of $99. Businesses and nonprofits arrange for this “corporate charter” when getting established as new legal entities. It is part of getting ourselves set up to receive tax-deductible donations as a 501 c3 nonprofit. Treasurer Jane Wilken and I have been doing this paperwork on incorporation and taxation.
Meanwhile Ken Apacki is working to modify the website so that memberships, renewals, and donations can be paid online. We have been able to take nondeductible donations online through Paypal for some time, but now that we are also collecting the membership and renewal payments locally and donations with different tax statuses, the flow of money (and accounting for it) is more complex.
League membership for the entire country is kept in a single database and as a new Local League we are now responsible for keeping our portion of it up to date. Beth Ehrman is our roster manager but I have also learned the software to serve as a backup on this essential task. We took on the management of our own membership precisely when the LWV is updating the software. For this reason, the transition has not been exactly smooth for us. Beth and I are doing our best to keep track of renewals and other updates. Until the software transition is complete, most of this tracking and reminding about renewals falls to me.
We have added several new members over the last few months, and most of the existing members who were reminded to renew for the August – October due dates have chosen to do so. Yes! I recently sent renewal reminders to 17 households or individuals whose expiration date falls in November 2018. The Board has determined that we will use a 3-month grace period before moving a member from active to inactive status when people do not respond positively to a reminder.
A reasonable estimate of our current membership is 93 persons, many of whom are part of households. A snapshot of the membership count in January will be used to calculate the Per Member Payment (PMP) that we must pay to the state and US levels in mid-summer 2019.
Finally, in this quiet time for us (post-election and during the holiday season), we do hope to organize another social event, this one specially to meet and welcome several new members who have joined this fall. The social in early October at Trek Brewing was such a great success and I hope even more of you will be able to join us this time.
Let me know if you any questions about these business details or other matters. I will be here through the holiday season.
Students Making Democracy Work Brainstorm
September 14, 2018
Attending: Rita Kipp, Jordann Kea, Marsha Crawford, Lyn Roberstson, Isaac Davis, Rich Kipp, Tracee Laing, Charlie O’Keefe, Kim Byce, Amparo Saladino, Andrew Saladino, Ceciel Shaw.
Students included one from Denison, one from OSUN-COTC (who attended Granville High last year), and one from Newark High School. Each of them held their own in this chatty group.
Rita talked first about the nonpartisan ethos of LWV and our focus on voting rights and education. We hope more young people will work with us, the better to reach others with the message that voting matters. Each participant used a worksheet with these questions to frame the discussion:
1. What kinds of political engagement do you see already on your campus? (Or among your children and grandchildren?)
DU students talk about politics informally and often in everyday discussions. There are also clubs for Democrats, Republicans, Feminists and other social justice groups.
Rita and Lyn talked about the presence of CEEP (Campus Election Engagement Project) at DU this year, a nonpartisan group whose mission is very similar to the LWV’s and with which we are currently working.
Granville High School has groups for both major parties. Isaac was not yet aware of party-based clubs at OSUN, but there are some social justice groups. GHS also has groups for Democrats and Republicans.
Charlie described students (and young people in his family) as informed and passionate about issues but slow to engage. He had to push his grandsons to register. Jordann and Isaac also see the passion for issues among their friends but little commitment to voting.
2. Why do you suppose that people aged 18 – 24 are the least likely to vote of any age group?
Isaac mentioned voter suppression, e.g., gerrymandering and big money in politics. Many are discouraged or hopeless and feel that their vote does not make a difference. Negative campaigning and reporting around elections lead some to reject politics. Bernie Sanders got many people excited but then when he was not selected, they dropped out of engagement (Jordann). Do students understand the significance of a midterm election? Most do not.
Research shows that whether parents vote is one of the best predictors of whether young people do so.
3. What are some ways to get more students involved in politics?
We talked about the impact of social relationships — family, friends, teachers — to influence voting.
Charlie feels that they want to get involved with things that are fun.
CEEP at Denison is hoping to host a competition between dorms to register and vote.
First-time voters need help navigating the polling place and process.
Make voting a social event, providing a bus to pick up early voters. In this be mindful of student schedules over the week and pick a good time. Create an event or party around which to vote early.
Sometimes students do not vote because they do know about the issues (e.g., none in this group was aware of Issue 1 [about drugs] on the fall ballot) nor the local candidates.
Get the word out about Vote411.org. Many around the table had not heard of it, and when they did, some pulled out their phones immediately to give it a try. Tracee will draft a flyer and send to Jordann who will get to the Dems and Republicans on campus to print and distribute it.
Voter education should be free and streamable.
Start voter education programs earlier, even in childhood, like the campaign to recycle. Kids learned this in school and took it home to influence their parents.
Engage teachers (especially of government) to work with us.
Approach the boards and principals – solicit their support.
Could we register and inform voters at athletic events?
Finally, Rita described our new LWV student memberships and distributed forms to all participants. Our first student member – Jordann Kea – signed up on the spot! While campus groups are hard to sustain over the years due to the changing population and leadership, but student energies invested in the LWV will go into a sustainable organization and they can continue the membership when they transfer or go from high school to college.
• Follow through on these ideas and educate widely about vote411.•
• Develop an annual plan or calendar of student outreach.•
• Write a grant proposal to support student outreach and to develop a mentoring program.
LWV Licking County Annual Meeting
August 30, 2018
Rita Kipp reminded us of our vision as a staunchly nonpartisan organization that aims to educate citizens to participate actively in democracy. There were about 50 people present including 36 members and 12-15 guests.
After a year of meteoric growth in paid memberships, and a full calendar year of events and accomplishments, including many voter registration events, a grant-funded panel for high school students, an educational program on poverty in our county, and participating in a forum for the District 12 primary candidates, we are ready to take the next step: becoming a fully autonomous Local League and leaving behind our temporary status as an At Large Unit.
LWVO requires four elements for becoming a Local League. Our primary business for the evening was to discuss and vote on those elements.
On behalf of the Nominating Committee, Michelle Newman Brady moved the following slate of officers and leaders:
- • President, Rita Kipp (2 year)
• VP, Carol Apacki (1 year)
• Secretary, Kim Byce (2 year)
• Treasurer, Jane Wilken (1 year)
• Membership, Marsha Crawford (2 year)
• Nominating Committee (all 1 year terms):
o Michelle Newman Brady (chair), Jim Bidigare, and Jan MacAuley
There were no nominations from the floor; the slate was elected unanimously.
Rita Kipp also introduced the other board members who serve by appointment rather than by election. Our leadership has consisted of four officers to this point. Going forward, the 10-member Board of Directors will be the effective leadership body of LWVLC.
- • Maija Bamford, social events
• Anne Goodge, voter registration
• Susan Haas, voter education
• Pam Wilson, development
On behalf of the Board, Susan Haas moved to withdraw the draft of the Bylaws placed on the table at the April business meeting. (There was no quorum in April, and two small changes were made to the draft subsequently.) The motion to withdraw was approved.
Susan Haas moved that we approve the current draft Bylaws as posted on our web site two weeks ago. After some questions of clarification, they were approved unanimously.
Jane Wilken reviewed the main points of the budget as posted on our web site, summarizing revenues and expenses and noting that membership dues will remain the same this year.
On behalf of the Board, Jane moved to approve the budget. Approval was unanimous.
Carol Apacki moved the adoption of the LWVUS’s Campaign for Making Democracy Work as our 2018-19 Program for study and action. That campaign focuses on election integrity, voting rights, campaign finance and redistricting. Our particular focus will be on voter rights, and we will continue to register and educate voters in fulfilling this program. The motion passed unanimously.
Carol Apacki announced an educational program on Migrant Workers in Licking County featuring Granville Township Trustee Bryn Bird and others.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at the United Church of Granville, 7:00 pm
Members expressed a number of other hopes and ambitions:
- We need to diversify our membership – by ethnic background, party, and age.
Comment: let’s have scholarships to allow those with financial need to join. We will promote student memberships this year as well, taking advantage of the new LWVUS pricing of $5.
• We anticipate sponsoring a forum this fall for candidates or issues.
• We should develop a buddy system to help members access computers and get to meetings. This could also be a recruitment tool.
• Someone suggested that we join the Licking County Chamber of Commerce (we belong to the Granville Chamber).
Rita thanked these additional people who have contributed to the League over its first year:
Christine Ramsey, Treasurer, who laid our financial and legal foundations
Ken Apacki, who developed and maintains our web site
Mike Curtain, a freelance journalist retired from a career as editor and Associate Publisher of the Columbus Dispatch, spoke about the need for persistence and patience. He began by observing that winning women’s suffrage entailed a struggle that lasted 72 years. Similarly, he pointed to the League’s dogged persistence over many decades on redistricting in Ohio.
Himself a member of the League, Curtin admires and supports the League for its contributions to democracy and civil discourse in our state and the nation. He would not accept an honorarium from us, but we did send him home with an LWV tee shirt that he promised to wear proudly.
Forming a task force on student members
Are you interested in brainstorming about how to attract and engage student members?
Leagues across the country are now able to offer student memberships for annual dues of $5.00. How can we take advantage of this opportunity? How should we recruit high schoolers and college students to join the League and/or work with us? How do we inspire and then mobilize these new members? What kind of programs and leadership should we create for them?
I want a small task force to work on these questions. Not a standing committee, this temporary group would be charged to think about engaging students and produce a report with recommendations for the Board of Directors.
If your professional experience, past or present, includes working with students, your participation could be especially valuable.
Let me know if serving on this task force is of interest to you.
+++++Annual Meeting Guest Speaker++++++++++++++++++
All are welcome to attend the Annual Meeting. While members will be asked to vote on several items in preparation for becoming a local league (bylaws, budget, leaders, and a program), friends and followers are welcome to witness the process.
What is more, after the business is done we will hear a speaker, Mike Curtin. Several of us who attended State House Day in April were inspired by Curtin’s keynote address so I asked if he would do a repeat performance for us in Licking County.
Mike Curtin knows Ohio politics inside and out. Formerly a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, he is perhaps best known as editor and Associate Publisher of the Columbus Dispatch. Now retired, Curtin is also the author of the Ohio Politics Almanac. He is a a long-time friend of the League.
Annual Meeting of the LWVLC
August 30th at 7:00 p.m.
621 Mt. Vernon Rd, Newark
Park behind the building (the old Roosevelt School)
Hope to see you there!
+++++Program for 2018-2019++++++++++++++++++++++
Unanimously approved 30 August 2018.
This is the last of four emails with documents for the Annual Meeting. We will post all four under the new tab “For the members” on our website.
As a Local League, we must adopt an annual Program, i.e., a plan of study or action on one or more issues. If the League does not have a position already (at the US or the Ohio level) on an issue we wish to adopt (e.g., a local issue), we must follow a 10-step protocol to study it before taking a position.
The leadership feels that we are not ready to undertake such a study so we recommend adopting the LWVUS ‘s Making Democracy Work campaign for the coming year. This will mean simply focusing on the League’s core mission and doing voter registration and voter education as we had planned to do anyway.
Proposal: a Program for 2018-2019
The Board of Directors of LWVLC recommends that the Campaign for Making Democracy Work serves as our program for 2018-2019, aligning ourselves fully with the League at the national level and its core mission.
The Campaign for Making Democracy Work® – includes ensuring a free, fair and accessible electoral system for all eligible voters by focusing on:
- Voting Rights
- Improving Elections
- Campaign Finance/Money in Politics
To be specific, we will implement this program in Licking County by aiming for goals that the LWVUS recommends for all local leagues in this election year. Namely:
- Host at least 10 voter registration events.
- Sign up as a National Voter Registration Day partner: nationalvoterregistrationday.org.
- Protect voters! Meet with local elections officials to discuss challenges & solutions.
- Host at least one candidate forum or debate
- Publish an online voters’ guide on VOTE411.org.
- Get Out the Vote! Send election alerts to new registrants, volunteers, & partners.
- Respond to & share LWVUS action alerts
- Fight for fair redistricting and encourage a complete 2020 Census count.
- Share our impact stories on social media and in the press.
+++++LWVLC By Laws Draft July 2018++++++++++++++++
Unanimously approved 30 August 2018.
This is the third of four emails with information about things for the Annual Meeting.
An earlier draft of the bylaws has been on our website for several months. At the time, I notified people about putting it there, encouraging feedback.
On April 22nd we held a business meeting to summarize the bylaws and discuss them. As a result of that discussion, the officers made two changes:
- The description of the Nominating Committee was edited for clarification. This was not a substantive change.
- The April draft specified a common due date for all members’ annual renewals.
This new draft says that membership dues will be collected on an individual rolling basis.
At the meeting in April we approved a motion to accept the bylaws as drafted at that point. Because of the two changes listed above, and because we did not have a quorum, someone on the board will ask first to withdraw that motion. The same person will then move that we endorse the current draft attached to this message.
I welcome your questions about the bylaws ahead of the meeting and will also invite questions from the floor before we vote.
Unanimously approved 30 August 2018.
Some basic things to know about it are:
- Membership dues will remain the same ($60 for individuals; $90 for households). We will also be able to offer students a membership at $5.00 in keeping with a new League policy at the state and national levels, although this is not built into our budget.
- Membership dues, once we are a Local League, will be deposited in our Park National account. We will be responsible for reminding people to renew their memberships on a rolling calendar depending on when they joined.
- We will be responsible for making a Per Member Payment (PMP) annually to the League, and that will be $32 per individual and $48 per household membership.
+++++2018 NOMINATIONS FOR OFFICERS++++++++++++++
Unanimously approved 30 August 2018.
This is the first of four emails with materials for the annual meeting.
Some background first on the election of leaders:
- These are the only elected positions on the Board of Directors. Others are appointed.
- All four officers serve two-year terms but we need to elect them in a staggered fashion. Next year we will again have the positions of Treasurer and Vice President on the ballot for an additional year but not the President and Secretary.
- This slate originated from the Board/Officers but next year and at subsequent Annual Meetings, the Nominating Committee will present a slate.
- As chair of the meeting, I will also solicit nominations from the floor. Anyone so nominated must have consented to stand for election before the meeting.
Slate of Nominations for Officers and Leaders 2018-2019
President, Rita Kipp (2-year term)
Vice President, Carol Apacki (1-year term)
Secretary, Kimberly Byce (2-year term)
Treasurer, Jane Wilken (1-year term)
Chair, Membership Committee (2-year term)
Nominating Committee (all 1-year terms)
Michelle Newman Brady (Chair)
Dear LWVLC Members,
I am excited about seeing you on August 30th and accomplishing some important tasks together.
At the Annual Meeting we will vote to approve the elements required for becoming a Local League. Those elements are:
- A slate of officers and other leaders
- A budget for 2018-2019
- A program, i.e., an action/work plan for the coming year
I will be sending each of these to the membership in separate emails over a four-day period. Please read them in preparation for the meeting. We will also post them to the website, League of Women Voters of Licking County.
Do let me know if you have questions, objections, or reservations about anything in the materials requiring a vote . I will respond to you personally and hope to answer or resolve them before the meeting so that our time together in a big group can be most productive.
While others are welcome to attend this meeting (and we will also enjoy hearing a great speaker, so do bring a friend!), only members have the right and responsibility of voting. We’ll need a quorum of at least 20% of the membership to hold these votes, i.e., 16 out of our approximately 80 members.
When: August 30th, 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30.
Where: Newark School Administration Building
621 Mt. Vernon Rd, Newark (Rt. 13)
Don’t miss it. And look for the four emails in the coming week with things to read in preparation.