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   League of Women 
  Voters of Berrien 
   & Cass Counties
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Dec. 2018 - 
Jan. 2019
Newsletter

January 8 Board Meeting:
Planning for Advocacy
     
     As a nonpartisan political organization, the League does not support any political party or any candidate. It does, however, have positions on matters of public policy developed through the process of consensus beginning at the local level. Those Statements of Position, set out at LWVMI Positions, form the basis of the League's advocacy.
     In 2012, for example, members of the Michigan League, through a process of study and consensus, adopted a Statement of Position on Redistricting. Then in 2018, it supported a successful ballot proposal on redistricting because it was consistent with that Statement of Position.
     The League regularly studies and reviews its Statements of Position to determine whether changes are in order. Last year, for example, the one on Agricultural Migrant/Seasonal Workers was revised after local Leagues, including ours, studied and approved a modification to accommodate the need for migrant and seasonal workers to have reasonable access to driver's licenses.
     In January, local Michigan Leagues are encouraged to review the current statements of position; to identify any updates, new studies, or new positions we think appropriate; and to report our results to the Michigan Board. That Board, in turn, will review responses from local Leagues and, as it considers appropriate, may begin the process to seek consensus on new or revised statements of position.
     The LWVBCC Board will take part in that process at its meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, at Marilyn Klawiter's home. At the same meeting, we hope to set priorities and focus for the year.
     All members of LWVBCC are invited to attend the meeting and offer ideas. If you plan to come, please call or text Marilyn at 269-362-1871. If you can't make it but have ideas about positions, focus, or programs, please give any LWVBCC Board member (listed below right) a call. All ideas are welcome.
Come Help Plan Celebration
of 100th Anniversary of 
19th Amendment
     The fight for women's suffrage in the U.S. began in 1848, when women marched, protested, lobbied, and even went to jail for the right to vote. Seven decades later, their tenacity paid off. The U.S. Congress approved a bill to amend the U.S. Constitution to grant women suffrage in 1919.
     Michigan proudly became one of the first of three states to ratify the 19th Amendment. The amendment, however, would be effective only when 36 states had ratified the amendment. That happened on August 18, 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify it.
     Thus the nineteenth amendment was adopted and added to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. "The greatest thing about the story of suffrage here in Michigan," according to Caitlyn Perry Dial, executive director of the Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame, "is that they persisted".
     LWVBCC plans on hosting several events this year and next to celebrate ratification of the 19th Amendment. We need your help! Just as women before us toiled for the right of women to vote, let us honor their work by celebrating these extraordinary 100-year anniversaries.
     A planning meeting will be held at 4:00 pm on January 29th at Lake Street Eats in Bridgman. Bring your ideas, your enthusiastic spirit, as we move forward to walk in our sisters' footsteps.                                            --Judy Scully

Dues Reminder
     
     If you haven't done so already, please send your membership renewal in now ($60 individual or $95 household) either by check or through PayPal.
     
Checks should be made payable to LWVBCC and mailed to LWVBCC, P.O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120. For PayPal, just click here: "Join or Renew Your Membership Via Credit Card."
     LWVUS tallies membership as of January 31.
Suggestions, Please

    We enter 2019 with a spotlight on our welcome mat. LWVBCC's interest-area coordinators invite you to share your ideas for programs for the year and your energy in bringing them to the larger community.
    Just give them a call or drop them an email using contact information in the current LWVBCC directory:

    Energy and the environment: Chris Zilke
    Health and social services: Judy Scully
    Public education: Linda Cheek or Jane Raymond
    Voter services: Mike McCaffrey or John Ripley
    Or if it's easier, you can reach them by email to
                    lwvbcc@gmail.com.
Good News on Voter Turnout
    Voters really do care. They proved that by turning out in record numbers to cast ballots in the 2018 Midterm Election. According to MLive, the Michigan turnout was 58 percent of registered voters--the highest for a midterm election since 1962. An increase was seen throughout the state, with all Michigan counties experiencing double-digit increases over the 2014 midterm.
    That includes the counties in LWVBCC's area. According to the November 8 edition of Leader Publications, 50.1 percent of Cass County's registered voters (20,346 of 40,605) cast ballots, and so did 50.4 percent of Berrien County's registered voters (63,213 of 125,395).
    That's good news for sure. Still, though, half of the people in LWVBCC's area who could have voted did not do so. Moreover, the disparity in turnout from precinct to precinct was stark: from a high of 63.7 percent in one precinct to a low of 28.4 percent a short distance away. (See www.electionreporting.com.)
    Clearly, then, much work remains to be done for future elections. The good news is that work on election turnout really can make a difference. Kudos to everyone who helped make a difference in 2018.
And Lots of Good Cheer at Holiday Party
     
    What a party it was! Thanks to Judy Scully, we had plenty of room to chat, chomp, and celebrate together--more than 50 of us!--in comfort and warmth on December 9.
     There are few joys as great as sharing a laugh, a memory, or a new idea with people of good will in a welcoming environment. Thank you once again--and again and again, Judy! It was a wonderful evening.

Committee Coordinators
Energy and the Environment : Chris Zilke
Health and Social Services: Judy Scully
Public Education: Linda Cheek & Jane Raymond
Voter Services : Mike McCaffrey & John Ripley
Budget and Finance: Mike McCaffrey, John Ripley, Chris Zilke
Membership: Marilyn Klawiter & Mike McCaffrey
Nominating: Karen Ristau
Special Events: Chris Zilke
Non-Partisan Policy
The League as an organization does not support or oppose any political party, candidate for elected office, or any group that supports candidates. As individuals, though, but not as representatives of the League, members are encouraged to participate in political activity and to run for office.  Our non-partisan policy does require two Board members--the President and the Voter Service Chair--to totally abstain from partisan political activity.  

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Calendar/Notes

Tuesday, January 8
1:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Board Meeting and Planning Session
Marilyn Klawiter's Home
___________________________

Tuesday, January 29
4:00 p.m.
Meeting to Plan
19th Amendment Celebration
at Lake Street Eats,
4228 Lake Street, Bridgman
_________________________________

How About Right Now???
Dues Payable
(You Know Who You Are!)
Make check payable to LWVBCC and Mail to LWVBCC
P. O. Box 1032
Niles, MI  49120 
or follow links in story at left to use PayPal.
Puhleeze & Thanks!
LWVBCC
Board of Directors
Marilyn Klawiter, President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer &
        Communications Coordinator
Linda Cheek
Kathleen Fleming
Michael McCaffrey
Jane Raymond
Judy Scully
Christiana Zilke

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The League:  Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!
And about to Celebrate our 100th Anniversary!
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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