May 2020 Action News!

May 2020 Action News!

Bluebonnets Be a Texas Voter!
Type: 
News
I am thankful that April showers bring May flowers!
 
May also brings us Mothers Day. My own mother, Beverly Kinsell Danielson, was a microbiologist who worked with infectious diseases. She would have been appalled at the Texas government’s lack of concern for the health of ALL voters in Texas.
 
The Texas attorney general commits voter suppression by threatening prosecution of county election officials and third parties - like the League! - if they take the common sense stance that all voters currently have a "disability" that allows them to vote by mail during this pandemic. The Secretary of State describes disability as “if the voter has a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health”.
 
The League is thankful for the support of the disability community in our efforts to open vote by mail to all voters in the time of the pandemic. Please join me in giving a big thanks to Texas Disability Rights - Votes and other organizations which support our efforts to provide nonpartisan safe voting in Texas: the Texas Civil Right Project, the ACLU of Texas, Texas Impact and other voting rights advocates.
 
Voting is more important than ever before - share the options for voting in elections safely. Organizations, religious groups and individuals, etc. are encouraged to join us by signing up to promote the League’s nonpartisan safe voting resources in their community
 
No one should have to put their lives at risk to vote. 
PS: If you want to hear what I really think, check out the speech I gave at our virtual 2020 Texas League Convention. Or watch on YouTube

The Texas League in Action!

League Voting & the Coronavirus Resources
 
Individuals like you, Aileen, as well as organizations and businesses can help us fight for the right of ALL Texas voters to protect their health and be allowed to vote safely and securely in our democracy! 
 
Vote by Mail: It’s Safe but Needs Improving - Blog by Voting Rights and Election Law Issue Chair Cinde Weatherby
 
Voting & the Coronavirus webpage - will be kept updated with the latest news on voting during the COVID-19 pandemic
 
 
Vote by Mail - Texas Style - Share this video on Facebook and any other social media. Email it to your friends who might be eligible to vote by mail.
 
 

Great news! 

Woman Registering to vote

Have you heard the news? @VOTE411 is a #Webby Nominee! 
Read more here and VOTE at http://bit.ly/vote411webby by May 7!
 

Census & Redistricting Update

Stephanie Swanson LWVTX Redistricting Issue Chair

Redistricting Committee Hearings Postponed
The Texas House public input hearings scheduled for March and April have been postponed due to the COVID epidemic. However. rescheduling them for the fall looks unlikely due to their extensive hearing schedule already planned. Stephanie Swanson, Census & Redistricting Issue Chair (LWV Austin Area) will keep us posted on their plans.

 

Census

If you have not already completed the census, please do so now. Click here to complete. If the census is delayed, the earliest date the data could be sent to the state would be May, 2021. That could mean a special session for the Legislature, and/or a redrawing of maps in the 2023 session. We will have to wait and see how everything plays out.
 

LWVTX Reviews County Election Websites

 
The League of Women Voters of Texas conducted its fifth survey of Texas county websites for the primary election in February/March 2020. The League is proud to celebrate counties large and small which meet the needs of the diverse voters in their county. The first website review in 2016 found 15 county elections websites to be "Outstanding" and 29 were given an "Honorable Mention". The most recent review found 58 county websites to be "Outstanding" and 37 to be "Very Good" (comparable to "Honorable Mention" in 2016). In response to the best practices that the League has shared with local election officials have significantly improved their websites! The League supports local elections officials to empower voters and defend democracy!
 

Know any graduating seniors?

Let the high school graduates in your life know how much you value them. Send them information on voter registration! Encourage them to make their first vote this year! Here is a video that explains voter registration: Vote Safe! Register to Vote!
 

2020 LWV Convention Report

Very long and very exciting!
 
On April 18, the League of Women Voters of Texas held the first ever virtual League Convention! In addition to the Texas delegates, we had several guests from LWVUS observing to see how it worked. We thought it would only take two hours, but it took just over six hours!
 
Thirty Leagues were represented and over 200 delegates were present - 159 committed members stayed the full 6+ hours it took to review the program proposals, vote on a budget, and elect new board members. The bulk of the time was focused on fine tuning the League's position on issues (see the next article). League members are smart, thoughtful and tenacious - questioning, debating, and making decisions with respect - always focusing on what is best for the League and for Texas. It was a learning experience for all!
 
LWV of the Hill Country member Janice Zitelman most succinctly captured the themes in the evaluations: "Despite the lengthiness it was productive, stimulating and encouraging."
 

LWV Texas Updates Positions

Photo of Janet ImhoffProposals to amend the League positions on Drug Laws & Policies, Equal Opportunity, Health Care for Those of Lesser Means, Public School Testing /Accountability, Redistricting, and Climate Change/Air Quality were offered to the Convention, as well as the Review/Updates on our Voting Rights & Election Laws and Immigration positions. All other program areas were voted to be retained. Janet Imhoff, LWVTX Vice President Advocacy (LWV Collin County), noted, "A complete record and history of each program area can be found in Program Perspectives which will be updated and posted online by June 1. Thanks to those of you who sent in editorial suggestions. They will be considered at the next board meeting in July."
 
For a full report on the positions updates, click here.
 

2020 President's Award Presentation

Grace Chimene
Each and every one of you makes a difference and moves us forward towards our worthy goals. As president of this awesome organization, I have the privilege of singling out one member to be recognized with the President’s Award. 
 
My choice this year is LWVTX Treasurer of 6 long years -- Miriam Foshay, LWV Dallas. 
 
No one joins the League to be a treasurer. Miriam has been in the background being part of the backbone of the organization -- taking care of all of the financial details, paying bills, doing the accounting and making sure we pay all of our taxes and file all of our legal documents. 
 
She led the complicated process of transitioning all LWVTX business to a 501c3 organization - streamlining our financial structure.
 
She has worked with each new League to set up a financial process that works for them within the larger State League structure. Not an easy task, and one she has taken in good cheer ever mindful of the needs of the new League. With good cheer -- that is a singular accomplishment! 
 
Dedicated volunteers like Miriam Foshay make empowering voters and defending democracy possible. 
 

Take League Action Now!

Know any graduating seniors?
 
Let the high school graduates in your life know how much you value them. Send them information on voter registration! Encourage them to make their first vote this year! Here is a video that explains voter registration:  Vote Safe! Register to Vote!
 

New Voter Registration Videos!

Cute dogThese voter registration video promotions feature dogs! Share these videos on social media with your pup (and cat) loving friends!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Susan Majors The League of Women Voters is involved on national, state, and local levels in an initiative to emphasize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This involves viewing all aspects of League work through a DEI lens. We are looking inward to become fully equitable and inclusive today. That lens will also be turned outward toward recognizing discrimination, monitoring policy, and promoting change.
 
The League is acting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been “exacerbating the impact of systemic and structural racism on communities of color.” We joined in efforts to speak against hatred directed at persons of Asian heritage. We are also actively involved in taking “a stand against racism and injustices.”
 
The Texas League's DEI committee remains small and seeks additional members to select and then act in those areas in which we could be most effective. If you would like to be a part of this exciting and worthwhile project, please email a letter of interest to Susan Majors (LWV Richardson), LWVTX Education Committee Chair, at lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org. Please put DEI in the subject line.
 

League Immigration Position Review/Update

 Photo Gloria Sass SuarezHow we treat immigrants is defining us in the world’s eyes, and here in Texas we are in the forefront of this issue. On April 18th, at the LWV Texas Convention, the membership voted to review/update the twenty-three-year-old Immigration position. We will be looking to update the position to investigate the issues that currently face immigrants. 
 
As part of the position review and update, we will consider:
  • detention centers for adults and children,
  • separation of families,
  • asylum seekers who are being refused asylum, as well as
  • covert flights with deported immigrants who were ill. 
We are seeking committee members to research and help write the update of this position. The updated position will be used by the Immigration Issue Chair to advocate either for or against legislation in the upcoming Texas Legislature.
 
If you are interested in participating in this important update, please contact Immigration Issue Chair Gloria Suarez Sasser (LWV San Antonio Area) at lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org. Please put Immigration Update in the subject line.
 

Review/Update of Voting Rights & Election Laws Position

Photo Cinde WeatherbyNo one could have anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic when this review was suggested months ago, but there could be no better time to examine the first item on the positions to be addressed: vote by mail.  
 
The task at hand includes reviewing and possibly updating the 2010 “Facts & Issues” on Voting Procedures to Increase Voter Participation: Vote by MailElection Day Centralized VotingInstant Runoff Voting, and Military and Overseas Internet Voting, as well as preparing a new “Facts & Issues” on Physical and Cybersecurity Measures and Election Equipment, and Measures to Increase Confidence in Elections.
 
"I am inspired and encouraged by the tremendous participation by League members statewide during the concentrated and intense convention. Please maintain that spirit and know the impact of your involvement," said Cinde Weatherby, Voting & Election Law Issue Chair (LWV Austin Area)If you have an interest in providing major assistance on this position update/study, please contact Cinde at lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org. Please note Voting/Election Update in the subject line.
 

Calendar

Local Elections are being postponed. Please check your county elections website for details on local elections.
 
June 15 - Last day to register for Primary Run-off Elections
 
July 2 - Last day to sign up to vote by mail for the Primary Run-off Elections
 
July 6-10 - Early Voting for Primary Run-off Elections
 
July 14 - Primary Run-off Elections
 
June 25-29: Virtual LWVUS Convention
 
November 3 - Election Day

 

 

 
 
League to which this content belongs: 
Texas