March 2017  Ohio League Leader Upd ates
 

Contents

1. Final Call to LWV Ohio State Convention --- The last day to register 
is Friday, April 28

 

a. Hotel guest room reservation information - April 17 is the last day for discount rate, so reserve now

 

b. Convention materials

 

c. Begin recruiting your local League's delegates today

 

d. Convention Sponsorship Opportunities Available


2. April All-Member Conference Call - LWVO Convention Q&A

3. New LWV Ohio adopts Primary Elections Position

4. Statehouse Day 2017 - A Great Day for Advocacy

5. Looking for a way to engage on the issues? Join the LWV Ohio Lobby Corps!

6. Fair Districts Campaign Updates

7. LWV Ohio Advocacy Update

8. Please support the LWV Ohio Annual Campaign

9. Support the 'Be Earthwise' Campaign from LWVNYS

10. Upcoming Marches

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1. Final Call to LWV Ohio State Convention --- The last day to register is Friday, April 28.
State Convention is a wonderful time to come together in League, participate in dynamic workshops, share ideas and successes, plan for our League's future, catch up with old friends and make new ones.
Make a mini-vacation out of your trip to Convention and explore the beauty of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The LWV Akron Area convention host committee is compiling a list of attractions and activities that you can do while you are in the area - the list will be posted soon on the LWVO website's Convention page under the Member Area. Biking or walking along the Ohio-Erie Canal towpath should be lovely in May.

Click here to register today!

Registration rates are: Whole Weekend - $150, Saturday only - $100, Sunday only - $50

Meal Tickets: Friday Pre-Convention Meet and Greet - $35, Saturday Keynote Luncheon - $30, Saturday Keynote Dinner - $45, or bundle all 3 meals and pay only $100 - a $10 discount!

a. Hotel guest room reservation information Our discounted room rates are  available until Monday, April 17. After that date, it's subject to availability. Book online here or call (800) 325-3535 and ask for the League of Women Voters Room Block.
 
b. Convention materials
The "Final Call to Convention" was sent to local League presidents on Friday, March 24. It included a list of materials to be debated and voted on by convention delegates including proposed bylaws, budget, program, and board nominees. Click on the links below to download materials to review in preparation for convention:
c. Begin recruiting your local League's delegates today
 Voting Delegates include:
    • The President (or designated alternate) from each local League.
    • In addition to the President, one delegate from each local League for each 50 voting members, or a fraction thereof, based on the membership your League reported to LWVUS on January 31, 2017.
    • One delegate from each ILO or at-large unit.
    • The members of the LWVO Board of Directors.
All other League members may attend the Convention as visitors.

Please note: a League's delegates may only participate as voting members of Convention if that League has met its Ohio PMP responsibilities through the quarter immediately preceding the State Convention.

d. Support the League's work & get your name out -- Convention Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Have you, your local League, your organization or business considered being a sponsor of LWVO Convention? You should. Event sponsorship is a great way to support LWV's work to educate and engage voters on issues central to our democracy. In return, we offer public recognition and great visibility.

We have a variety of sponsorship packages available - buy a table at the lunch or dinner, receive complimentary lunch or dinner tickets, or choose one of our premier signage for extra visibility. Packages range from $100 to $5,000, ensuring there is an option for everyone.

Click here for more information about sponsor levels.  Please note that due to LWV Ohio's strict nonpartisan policy, we are unable to accept sponsorships from political parties or candidates.

2.  April All-Member Conference Call - LWVO Convention Q&A
Join us for our April all-member conference call on 
Tuesday, April 4, 12-1 pm
 
Topic: LWV Ohio State Convention Question & Answer
 
The call will provide an overview of LWV Ohio state convention and answer member questions about what to expect.
 
CALL-IN NUMBER: 866-740-1260 
PIN: 4691505# 
 
The recording of the all-member call will be available in the LWVO online member area following the call until the end of the month. Please note that the call recording is intended for LWV members and guests (just like the calls) and, therefore, should not be shared with anyone outside the League family. Thank you. 
 
3. New LWV Ohio Primary Elections Position Announcement
The LWV Ohio Board is delighted to announce that we have a new position on Primary Election Systems that was reached by study and consensus.
 
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New LWV Ohio Primary Election System Position:
 
LWVO supports open primary election systems that narrow the field of candidates for the general election and permit all registered voters, regardless of political party membership, to participate.
 
In general, League members believe that nonpartisan primaries are more appropriate at the more administrative county and local government levels, while partisan primaries are more appropriate for state and national policy-making offices.
 
Any proposal to restructure primary elections in Ohio should have as its goals, in order of importance, to increase voter participation, to lead to more competitive general elections, to enfranchise the largest number of registered voters and to lessen partisan polarization. 
 
League members overwhelmingly support replacing Ohio's current primary election system with a more open alternative, in which any registered voter may choose to vote any party's ballot without having to be a member of that party.  To meet this goal, statutes permitting or requiring challenges and declarations of party allegiance should be eliminated.   Local and county governments that employ nonpartisan, "top-two" primaries already meet this goal. 
 
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We are indebted to the tireless work of the Primary Election Systems (PES) Study Committee, especially co-chairs Lynda Mayer of LWV Greater Cleveland and Dianne Herman of LWV Greater Dayton, for carrying out the study and preparing study materials and consensus questions.
 
The LWV Ohio Board met on March 17-18, 2017, to review local League PES consensus questionnaire responses and the proposed new position prepared by the PES co-chairs and LWVO Board Advocacy & Education Committee.
 
This new position automatically becomes part of LWV Ohio's adopted issue positions. Delegates to the upcoming state convention do not need to vote on the new PES position. However, delegates will get the opportunity to vote on retaining all of our current positions, including this new one.
 
We also wanted to share with you that one of the committees of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission is reviewing the section of the state constitution on primary elections and has invited LWVO to share our views, so we will have the opportunity to put our new PES position to use right away!
 
4. Statehouse Day 2017 - A Great Day for Advocacy
Thank you to all the League members and guests who joined us for LWV Ohio's annual Statehouse Day on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. We had a record crowd, including many new members and first-time attendees, which was wonderful.  Thank you for your energy and enthusiasm. For those of you wondering - yes, it was early this year. During state convention years, we typically hold Statehouse Day earlier in year since we have convention in May.

We had a fantastic lineup of topics and speakers:
  • How you too can be an LWV Ohio volunteer lobbyist - LWVO lobbyists Rosie Craig and Ann Henkener answered questions and gave advice on how League members can turn their passion for an issue into advocacy.
  • Issues to Watch in the State Budget & How you can influence them - Presented by Wendy Patton of Policy Matters Ohio and Gavin DeVote Leonard of One Ohio Now, this session distilled some important items included in and absent from the state budget, and provided tips on influencing legislators' decisions. The most important takeaway - don't just think about it, Do Something.
  • Keynote Lunch: Draw the lines, make the rules - David Daley, author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, recounted the unprecedented effort by political operatives to flip state legislatures in order to redraw state and congressional legislative district lines in their party's favor.
  • Threats to Women's Health & What you can do - Iris Harvey, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and LWV Kent member, spoke about the consistent attacks on women's reproductive health care rightsand what's at stake for women in the current debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act.
  • How well is Ohio fairing in the clean energy era? - Trish Demeter of the Ohio Environmental Council discussed how other states and countries are advancing in production and use of clean energy, as well as how efforts in the Ohio legislature are stifling similar growth in Ohio.
  • Solving for X, the Charter School Equation in Ohio - Shawn Busken from the office of State Auditor Dave Yost detailed new regulations on charter school enacted last year by House Bill 2 with the goal of greater accountability, as well as some broader trends in charter schools.
  • Fair Districts Speakers Bureau Training - Attendees discussed and practiced how to educate people on gerrymandering and redistricting reform so they can spread the word in their communities and build support across the state for Fair Districts for Congress Too.
Click here to read LWVO volunteer lobbyist issue reports, the "Take Action" handout for talking with your legislators, and view photos from the event.  Want to know more?  LWVO Board members took notes for every session; contact the office if you would like to see a compilation of those session summaries.

5. Looking for a way to engage on the issues? Join the LWV Ohio Lobby Corps!
The last few months have seen a surge in political activism, and many new members have been flocking to join Leagues as a place to engage on the issues. Luckily, the League offers many opportunities for constructive engagement. The state Lobby Corps is a great way to get involved; many members, both new and "seasoned," can contribute to this effort.

The LWVO Lobby Corps consists of volunteers from across the state who each pick an area of specialization and work to advance the League's position on that issue. Lobbyists work in issue teams that coordinate mostly by email, allowing for different levels and types of involvement from people in all parts of the state, not just those within easy driving distance of Columbus. The Corps is always looking for new recruits, and training and guidance is available for anyone feeling fired up but unsure how to make a difference.

Lobby Corps also invites anyone to listen (or even chime) in on twice-monthly Lobby Lunch coordinating calls on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 12 - 1pm. This is a great way to get a feel for what's going on in your state government and to learn about the Lobby Corps. If you are interested, please contact the state League office at 614-469-1505 or lwvoinfo@lwvohio.org to sign up for email announcements about the Lobby Call agenda and phone number.

6. Fair Districts Campaign Updates
We can't tell you how heartened we were that so many local Leagues indicated congressional redistricting reform as the top priority issue on their program planning forms. We couldn't agree more. This is our #1 advocacy project, and it's one we can win - with your help.

The official ballot campaign petitions will be hitting the field very soon. However, there is work we can be doing right now to pave the way to a successful petition effort.

1. Donate. As much as we yearn to transform the role of money in politics, the sad reality is that campaigns currently require a lot of money to succeed. 

Donors wishing to support the campaign have a couple of options, depending on your preference. You can make a donation to LWV Ohio and designate it in the note line as for "Fair Districts." Or you can make a donation to the official ballot campaign if you would prefer to have your support on the public record, since those donations are subject to campaign finance reporting requirements. Information on how to donate directly to the campaign is at www.fairdistrictsohio.org.
 (This will be up shortly - if you look and it is not there, check back later.)

2.  Volunteer to collect signatures. 
The more volunteers we have collecting signatures, the less money we'll need to spend on paid circulators - which frees up funds for much needed public education and organizing. 
 
Individuals wanting to pledge to collect signatures can volunteer at www.fairdistrictsohio.org

If your local League wants to help collect petition signatures in your area, we are asking each League to designate a point person for that effort . That point person will serve as a local point of contact for League members -- helping to distribute petitions, answer questions, and return completed petitions - and will be the primary local contact for communicating with the LWVO office to coordinate petitions.

3.  Ask others to support. Grassroots campaigns succeed when they have a broad base of support from prominent community leaders, respected organizations and businesses. Have you asked other organizations you are part of to endorse Fair Districts? Do you know local officials or community leaders who haven't yet signed on in support? We want to demonstrate that Ohioans of all stripes support Fair Districts, so we welcome endorsements from diverse sources, including (but not limited to) faith groups, neighborhood clubs, or interest organizations. Please help us build support by asking all of them to add their names to the growing list of endorsers. 

If you have questions, please contact the LWVO office. And thank you for helping us make this a winning campaign!
 
7. LWV Ohio Advocacy Update
In the past few weeks, League lobbyists and members have been hard at work advocating in favor of LWVO positions:
  • Participants in Statehouse Day and members across the state are asking their legislators to act on a number of pressing issues. Use this Take Action sheet to call your legislators today!
  • LWVO offered testimony on House Bill 114 which would affect renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • LWVO opposed Senate Joint Resolution 1 and House Joint Resolution 2, which call for a Constitutional Convention and a Balanced Budget Amendment, providing testimony and asking members to take action. The proposal being considered in Ohio is part of a national effort, and LWVUS has encouraged Leagues to oppose it in all state legislatures.
  • LWVO called for state lawmakers to allocate money in the state budget bill to send absentee ballot application mailings to all voters, begin to replace aging voting machines, and modernize online election information systems.
These are just a few activities LWVO has undertaken so far this year. More information is available on the LWVO website, updated as we take action.

8. Please support the LWV Ohio Annual Campaign
We need your support for LWV Ohio's 2017 Annual Campaign. Help us strive for  Making Democracy Work for ALL by pushing back against low voter turnout, old and new voter suppression tactics, and the spread of misinformation. Many people share our concerns and are getting more politically engaged than ever before.

We hope you will join them and us in rededicating ourselves to making democracy work again! Your contribution will help us expand to meet the changing needs of our democracy:

- Access to trustworthy information is critical in an uncertain, social-media-dominated landscape. We plan to increase usage and effectiveness of print and online communication channels to spread accurate information about government and elections.
- We have been working extensively with our Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition partners to get fair districts rules for "Congress Too" on the ballot. We are committed to this effort and you can join in the process of building this campaign by signing up at www.fairdistrictsohio.org.
- And, as always, you can find our staff and volunteer lobbyists standing up for League issues in the Statehouse.

The work we do is being recognized inside and outside Ohio. That helps us compete for funding from major foundations, but they also look to see what level of support we receive from our members and allies. You making a contribution today helps us make that case to major funders more persuasively, so don't wait to make a difference!

You can donate securely online at www.lwvohio.org via the blue "Donate" button, or you can mail a check to LWV Ohio at 17 S. High St., Suite 650, Columbus, OH 43215. Thank you for  Making Democracy Work... for ALL!

9. Support the ' Be Earthwise' Campaign
Our sister League in New York State created an excel lent pr oject for League members looking to make environmental protection a p ersonal commitment. LWVNYS was kind enough to open their project up to L eague members in other states. Please help us share it with members in your community. From LWVNYS:

The League of Women Voters has led the environmental protection movement for decades, consistently supporting legislation to preserve our nation's natural resources and protect against public health effects of climate change. Science demonstrates what's best for the Earth is also what's best for you. Now more than ever, the League is working to ensure that the public is educated on issues affecting the climate and the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that grows our food.

In support of the League's effort to respect the environment and address the impacts of climate change, the League of Women Voters of NYS introduces  Be Earthwise, our new campaign to engage all Americans from every state to learn the facts, vote with your dollars and vote with your daily actions to preserve our planet.

Stay tuned to vote with your  Be Earthwise dollars and  Be Earthwise actions on  Earth Day, April 22, 2017. Thank you for making democracy work.  Click here to take the Be Earthwise Pledge .

10. Upcoming Marches
People across the country are getting politically engaged at nearly unprecedented rates, and many are participating in marches and other public demonstrations for a variety of issues.
LWVO encourages members who are willing and able to get out and participate in marches that align with LWV positions. As always, exercise diligence to ensure LWV groups present a nonpartisan face and focus on the issues. Here are a couple we encourage interested members to join:
Know of other marches not on list? Please let us know of others that are relevant to LWV issues. Whatever you do, whether you attend all the marches or participate in another way, make sure to get involved and make your voice heard!

The League of Women Voters of Ohio | 17 South High Street | Columbus, Ohio 43215 | 614-469-1505