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   League of Women 
  Voters of Berrien 
   & Cass Counties
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"The Voter"
Feb., 2020

Action for Celebration
     LWVUS is calling upon Leagues across the country to participate in celebrating the 100th "birthday" of the League of Women Voters by doing various activities that honor our legacy. League members are to draw attention to the fact that LWV is still defending democracy after all these years.
     L WVBCC has chosen to do Electoral Outreach as our means of celebrating all 100 years. We will be holding voter registration events at high schools in Berrien and Cass counties starting from Monday, February 3rd and continuing through Friday, February 14th.
      You are invited to join Board members in registering students who are 17.5 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and a Michigan resident. We can use your help on:
      February 3, Monday at N iles High School from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m.
     February 4, Tuesday at Benton Harbor High School from  11:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. 
      February 5 , Wednesday, to be determined.
      February 6 , Thursday at Eau Claire High School from 11:10a.m. to 1:10p.m. Join Anita Rutlin.
      February 7 , Friday at St. Joseph High School from 
11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. Join Amy Scrima, Jane Raymond, & Anita Rutlin.
      February 10 , Monday at Edwardsburg High School from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. Join John Ripley.
      February 10 , Monday at Watervliet High School from 7:45a.m. to 1:30p.m. Join Anita Rutlin.
      February 11 , Tuesday at Bridgman High School from 11:09a.m. to 12:16p.m. Join Jane Raymond & Chris Zilke.
      February 12 , Wednesday at River Valley High School from 11:25 to 1:00 p.m. Join Jane Raymond.
      February 13 , Thursday at Ross Beatty High School Cassopolis from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. Join John Ripley.
      February 13 , Thursday at Lakeshore High School from 11:00a.m. to 12:40p.m. Join Linda Cheek & Anita Rutlin.
      February 14 , Friday to be determined.
Dues Deadline Update
      If you plan to renew your League membership but have not done so yet, you may want to know that our date for reporting this year's membership to the national and state Leagues was January 31. We welcome your renewal anytime, but contact information for later renewals may not be included in the 2020 Membership Directory since copy of the directory will go to the printer in early February.
     If you first joined LWVBCC after the 2019 directory was printed, your membership runs through 2020 without further payment.
     Renewal checks ($70 per individual or $95 per household) should be mailed to LWVBCC at P.O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120. Credit card renewals can be made through LWVBCC website: Pay here with PayPal.
Book Group Selection for February: 
     As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters' inaugural day, we'll be reading and sharing ideas from No Stopping Us Now A History of Older Women in America.
     The author, Gail Collins, gives us an eye-opening look at women and aging in America. She focuses our attention on women who aged and maintained their prominence in a variety of fields from activism to acting to health to hard won roles in the world that once belonged solely to men.
You may also want to read Gratitude, which is a valediction by Oliver Sacks, the late neurologist and writer.
     Book Group will meet on Monday, February 24, at 10:00 a.m. at Chris Zilke's home. Please call Chris at (269) 449-2225 to let her know that you plan to attend. You are welcome to join the discussion even if you have not read these books.
Voting Rights Town Hall Meeting
      In 2018, Michigan changed the national landscape for voting by advancing a proactive voting rights agenda. Now our task, as an organization that shares in the goal of making democracy work, is to inform voters in our counties about the changes and help them understand how these changes affect their voting.
     LWVBCC will hold a Voting Rights Town Hall meeting on Thursday, February 27th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) Conference Center, 711 St. Joseph Avenue, Berrien Springs. Presenters will review Michigan's new voting rights, especially early voting and expanded voter registration.
     The meeting will give people the opportunity to learn more about how these voting rights are being implemented for the 2020 elections: March 10 Presidential Primary Election; May 5 Special Election; August 4 Michigan Primary Election; and November 3 General Election.
     The presentation at the Town Hall meeting is part of a public education campaign to update voters. There are eligible citizens who reside in Michigan who are now able to register to vote at any time. However, some may be confused by the various options for how to register because instructions change based on the number of days before the election and for election day.
     All voters now can vote early if the registered voter requests a ballot by completing an application. Since absentee ballots are available 45 days before an election, voters may need information about where to get applications, how to complete them, how to submit them, and by when the ballots must be received to be counted.
     Other changes, such as Automatic Voter Registration that has already begun at all Secretary of State branch offices and Online Voter Registration that has also been launched, will also be reviewed during the presentation.
     Friends and neighbors turn to League members for voting information. Please invite them to the Town Hall meeting made possible by a grant from the League of Women Voters Education Fund. The Town Hall is free and open to the public .
    You may also rely on vote411.org, our special nonpartisan information database about upcoming elections, candidates, and proposals.
Environmental News -- of sorts!
     I'm halfway through my second reading of The Overstory by Richard Powers that was mentioned in last  month's newsletter.
    Though I think I have appreciated trees my entire life and have planted quite a few, reading this book has opened my eyes not only to the tremendous variety of trees throughout the world, but also to how vital it is to care for and keep alive every single tree possible. 
     Yet there is more to understand.   At times while walking through Warren Dunes State Park, it seemed it would make sense to clear the fallen trees along the trails to make the park more attractive to people. In fact, fallen, rotten trees provide all sorts of protection and life for other plants as well as bugs and animals. There are some I would like to eradicate (I think of poison ivy! ...mosquitoes!) but even those have a beneficial purpose.
     So my message this month simply is: appreciate trees; care for trees; plant trees; and most of all, enjoy trees! They will be blossoming again soon.            -- C hris Zilike
Annual Meeting & Dinner: June 10
     Although it's early, please put a note on your calendar now to save the date for the LWVBCC annual meeting and dinner at Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. 
     A special program is being planned. More information will follow as the day approaches.

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Feb. 3 thru 14
Voter Registration for LWVUS Days of Action

Tuesday, Feb. 11
6:00-8:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Board Meeting
Lincoln Township Library

Monday, Feb. 24
10:00 a.m.
Book Group
Please call if attending

Thursday, Feb. 27
5:30-7:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Voting Rights 
Town Hall at  Berrien RESA, Berrien Springs

Board of Directors
Anita Rutlin, President
Michael McCaffrey, Secretary
& Voter Svc.
John Ripley, Treasurer & Communications Coord.
Linda Cheek
Jane Raymond
Karen Ristau
Amy Scrima
Lisa Vetne
Christiana Zilke
Quick Links

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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.  

The League:  Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!
And Celebrating 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.

Interested in joining the League?  
Please go to our website or 
click here to email us.