The Leaders Update is a publication generated after each LWVC board meeting to inform our members about LWVC activity. If you are not yet subscribed to receive Leaders Updates, please contact the LWVC office. To view past Leaders Updates, please visit the Leaders Update archives page.
Leagues in California are now fully engaged in the year’s work, and preparing for the election next year. I’m seeing local League Voters filled with news and announcements of their election work and it’s so impressive. Clearly, long range, strategic planning for core mission work is going on all over California. The state board is working hard too; doing the strategic work necessary to extend our reach, provide resources for voters and community partners, fight electoral mis/disinformation, and work on closing the voter participation gap in California.
As local Leagues prepare for vital election work, I’d like to highlight an important tool which we can all use. I urge all of us to refer to a document prepared by the LWVC – the People First Language Guide. The purpose of the People First Language Guide is to help League volunteers, local Leagues, and staff use people-first language and avoid terminology with negative, dehumanizing connotations. This guide aims to standardize the terminology used by staff, volunteers, and local Leagues in both our advocacy and educational work. The guidance here should be used when framing all communications like letters to government officials, social media content, action alerts, editorials, Pros & Cons, etc.
Bookmark it or print it out. Share with your boards and committees. Keep it close by to refer to in all communications.
And as we move toward the end of the year, I urge everyone to take some time in the next few months to enjoy the holidays, get a bit of rest, and recharge for the exciting elections next year.
You are passionate about the work we all do and we need you to raise your hand and be a part of it! The LWVC currently has openings on two committees and we are seeking applicants to join us in empowering voters, defending democracy, and creating a more equitable future for all Californians!
The Development Committee is an incredibly fun group doing the important work of partnering with the staff and Board to make sure that the LWVC/EF has the funding we need to keep advocating and educating!
Ideally, committee members will have some experience in fundraising and development, but it’s OK if you don’t. What you must have is a passion for the work the LWVC is doing to build a more equitable California, to close the voter participation gap, to engage voters, and to drive policy change that builds a California and democracy that is inclusive of us all. If you have the passion, the will, and the ability to roll up your sleeves and jump in, please fill out this application!
Voter Engagement Committee
You love Pros and Cons. You know how to write, edit, and organize. You can engage, motivate, and support volunteers. You have a deep understanding of DE&I and how the League works with partners in our diverse communities - or you are open to learning!
You care passionately about closing the voter participation gap, providing guidance to local Leagues in their work on voter engagement in their communities, and you are ready to dive in and work on statewide efforts on voter engagement. If you have the time, the commitment, and the will - apply now!
The LWVC committee chairs will review applications as they come in until each committee is full. Committee members are officially appointed by the LWVC Board of Directors. The LWVC Team will keep you posted on the status of your application as we move through this process - if we are quiet for a while, don’t worry! We’re working on it and will be in touch as soon as possible!
State League work in advocacy and action was the topic for Board training and discussion as we reviewed the many elements of how League impacts public policy and legislation: Speaking with One Voice, setting priorities for education and advocacy through the Program Planning process and adoption of Program at state convention, using our positions and League principles as the basis for action, and how we are a grassroots organization that is both non-partisan, never endorsing or opposing any candidates or parties but can still be political. Being political means we, in the League, seek public policy change through means such as legislation, ballot measures, lawsuits and regulations.
Analyses of legislation and selection of bills to review is done through a volunteer advocacy team. Significant lobbying is important League work. This includes submitting advocacy letters, testifying in Sacramento, meeting with legislators and other stakeholders, sending out Action Alerts to membership, coordinating with local Leagues for in-district lobbying, most of it done by our small staff. Considerable resources are required for any legislation that the League co-sponsors or prioritizes. This work includes drafting bill language, recommending amendments, and organizing support or opposition from coalition partners.
The Board role is to approve legislative priorities for each legislative session, and based on recommendations from the Legislation Committee, to decide whether we will support, oppose, or remain neutral of state ballot measures. Many voters rely on the League’s voice to help them make decisions around complex ballot measures.
Current Action Alert on the Federal Farm Bill
The League of Women Voters of Fresno County, working with the LWVUS and the LWVC, spearheaded a statewide Action Alert calling on Californians to urge federal representatives to support funding for climate-smart agriculture and conservation technical assistance in the 2023 Farm Bill. We urge members to take action on this important matter now.
The 2023-2024 Legislative Interview Toolkit is being developed and is set for distribution on our Members Onlysite by the first week in December. Local Leagues will be asked to meet with their designated legislators and discuss some critical League issues. These sessions with elected officials and League members build relationships with legislators and support our advocacy efforts.
An end of year Advocacy Wrap-Up will be available soon. Here’s an update on our co-sponsored bills.
- AB 764 (Bryan) was signed by Governor Newsom. The new law will prohibit the consideration of incumbent protection, ensure that the safeguards of the Fair Maps Act extend beyond cities and counties to educational and special districts, and make the process more transparent and equitable overall.
- Our victory is tempered by the Governor’s veto of another sponsored bill, AB 1248, which would have required large local jurisdictions to establish independent redistricting commissions before the 2030 cycle. California is nationally recognized for our gold-standard Citizens Redistricting Commission, and the Governor’s veto represents a missed opportunity to eradicate local gerrymandering. Instead, many communities will continue to face incumbent politicians manipulating the process for their own benefit. The League will continue to advocate for independent redistricting commissions in local governments across California.
- The following sponsored measures were introduced this year but have been turned into two-year bills that will become active in January 2024.
ACA 4 (Bryan) is a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to people who are currently incarcerated, a population that is disproportionately Black and Latino. This change would both restore a fundamental right and result in a more representative electorate. We view it as a critical measure to achieve full suffrage and the next logical step after working to successfully pass Prop 17, which restored the right to vote to Californians who have completed their prison term.
SCA 1 (Newman) is a constitutional amendment to adjust how state-level recall elections are conducted, so that only one question will appear on a recall ballot asking a voter to decide whether an elected official should be recalled from office. If a recall is successful, the official will be replaced in a manner consistent with existing law if the official were to leave the office for any other reason.
The communication that follows was sent to local League Presidents and the Voter Service list serve, as well as an additional communication sent to Voter’s Edge Volunteers.
“This communication is internal to Leagues only. Last week we were notified that the grant funder who supports Maplight’s work on Voter’s Edge decided that they will no longer provide funding for the project. Unfortunately, this came without warning and it means that Maplight cannot continue any work on Voter’s Edge. We will not have Voter’s Edge for the 2024 election cycle or beyond.
Leagues in California have provided information directly from candidates to voters for decades in an online voter guide and that will not change in 2024. We have already contacted LWVUS and we are moving immediately to Vote 411 for the 2024 election cycle. The back end structure of Vote 411 is currently being built out for California. The LWVC staff, along with a lead group of volunteers will be fine tuning the platform to ensure that it is ready on time for candidate outreach and that we will have a fully functional voter guide for the Primary Election in March.
Our first priority is getting Vote 411 configured and set up, and getting training up and running for volunteers so that we have a successful ballot planning tool for the primary election and so that League volunteers across the state are well prepared to use it. This means that we will be prioritizing inquiries we receive to make sure we can deliver for local League implementation and California’s voters first.
Because LWVUS has had this system in place for quite some time, there is a full library of training videos available for volunteers, and the LWVC in partnership with LWVUS will also offer live Zoom training for local League volunteers. Your Voter’s Edge volunteers will be receiving a separate communication from the LWVC addressing some of their more immediate concerns in their roles, including some training videos and resources they can start referencing right away. The level of staff support provided to local Leagues by the LWVC will NOT decrease, and we will be alongside all of you as we implement this solution in California.
Live Zoom training for Vote 411 in California will begin in November 2023 and run through December, on the same general timeline we had planned to hold Voter’s Edge training.
Aligning with Leagues across the country on a single ballot planning tool is an overall positive step for California Leagues even if the timing may not be ideal. Local California Leagues will now be able to take advantage of a host of nationally produced marketing tools and resources specific to Vote 411. It also positions California Leagues to use a tool that the National League has committed to at scale, which should mitigate the risk for situations exactly like this one - where funding is difficult to come by and risks the future of the project.
This may feel like a crisis, and that makes sense because it happened suddenly and the decision was not in our control. That said, there are many crises happening in our world right now. This is not one of them - this is a problem that already has a solution in place. And there has never been a problem in California too big for the women of the League to come together and conquer.
We will be in regular communication as this moves forward, with very high levels of communication happening with the current Voter’s Edge volunteers as they move through training and the launch of Vote411. Please share this communication with your local League Board. We will provide additional communication resources in the near future for announcing the change publicly.”
October 2023 Post Board Summary
LWVC/LWVCEF Boards of Directors Meetings
October 7, 2023 – Electronic Meetings
The LWVC BOARD OF DIRECTORS met on October 7, 2023, and acted as noted below.
GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Approval of Minutes
- Approved the LWVC Regular Meeting Minutes of August 30, 2023, as submitted.
- Adena Ishii (LWV Berkeley/Albany/Emeryville) as LWVC First Vice President, eﬀective September 6, 2023.
- Carol Moon Goldberg (LWV Sacramento County) as LWVC First Vice President, for the unexpired term to June 30, 2025.
Approval of LWVC Committee Assignments
- Approved the updated Committee Assignments as of October 7, 2023.
- Adopted LWVC Resolution No. 2023-1 ﬁxing the number of Board Members at fourteen (14) for the 2023-2025 Biennium
- Adopted LWVC Resolution No. 2023-2 honoring Lois Ledger for her long-time and dedicated service to LWVC as a Local League Coach.
- Received and ﬁled the LWVC Balance Sheet as of June 30, 2023; Budget by Class July 2022 to June 30, 2023/Budget vs. Actuals July 2022 to June 30, 2023.
The LWVCEF BOARD OF DIRECTORS met on October 7, 2023, and acted as noted below.
GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Approval of Minutes
- Approved the LWVCEF Regular Meeting Minutes of August 30, 2023, as submitted.
- Adena Ishii (LWV Berkeley/Albany/Emeryville) as LWVCEF First Vice President, eﬀective September 6, 2023.
- Carol Moon Goldberg (LWV Sacramento County) as LWVCEF First Vice President, for the unexpired term to June 30, 2025.
Approval of LWVCEF Committee Assignments
- Approved the updated LWVCEF Committees as of October 7, 2023.
LWVCEF Board of Directors
- Expanded the size of the LWVCEF Board to allow for the future appointment of two non- League members.
- Received and ﬁled the LWVCEF Balance Sheet as of June 30, 2023; Budget by Class July 2022 to June 30, 2023/Budget vs. Actuals July 2022 to June 30, 2023.
Caroline de Llamas
cdellamas [at] lwvc.org