LWVUS New open logo only
   League of Women 
  Voters of Berrien 
   & Cass Counties
  Please click above on "Display images below"
"The Voter"
Jan., 2020

Dues Reminder!!!
      If you haven't done so already, please send your membership renewal now ($70 per individual or $95 per household) either by check or through PayPal.  We must receive your payment by January 31 at 5 p.m.
     Checks should be made payable to LWVBCC and mailed ASAP to LWVBCC, P.O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120. For PayPal, just click here: " Join or Renew Your Membership Via Credit Card."
     LWVUS has already reminded all Leagues that roster updates are due not later than January 31. Along with being able to celebrate LWV growth over the past year, it is important to have this count accurate as it will be used to determine the number of delegates to which our League is entitled at the 2020 Convention.  Your dues payment also will guarantee your inclusion in our 2020 Membership Directory which goes to all paid members.
The Constitutional Right to Vote
      The right to vote is the bedrock of American democracy - a right earned through many struggles in the past that is deserving of utmost vigilance as we face another important voting cycle.
     In this context, it is important to keep in mind the protections guaranteed by the clear language of our Constitution. Every person born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen (14th Amendment, 1868) with a right to vote that must not be "denied or abridged" either by the United States or by any state on account of race (15th Amendment, 1870) or sex (19th Amendment, 1920).
     The bottom line is this: every citizen who is at least eighteen years of age (26th Amendment, 1971), male or female, regardless of race, no matter in what state he or she resides, has the Constitutional right to vote - a right that neither the U.S. nor any state can Constitutionally thwart.
     However, as history records, states have found many ways to keep voters from exercising their Constitutional right to vote through poll taxes, literacy tests, registration purges, gerrymandering, closing of polling places, manipulation of absentee ballots - all devices used by officials and parties who are in power to stay in power.
     In 1965, Congress, recognizing that many efforts to limit access to the ballot were race-based, enacted the Voting Rights Act - "an act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States." The Voting Rights Act was a significant deterrent to voter suppression. Some of its most important provisions were time-limited, but Congress renewed them several times.
     Those renewals ended in 2013, when the Supreme Court, in Shelby County v. Holder, effectively gutted the Act, determining that major provisions were no longer necessary because they had been so successful. As Justice Ginsburg wrote in her dissent that was "akin to throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you aren't getting wet."
     Since then, states have found new and effective ways to limit ballot access of citizens considered likely to vote against the party in power in that state. This is voter suppression. None the less, the right to vote, regardless of race or sex, remains unchanged because it is enshrined in the Constitution.
      ·  Laws can be changed by Congress or gutted by the courts.
      · Neither Congress nor the courts can invalidate the Constitution.
     We must be vigilant to protect all citizens' Constitutional rights and to resist voter suppression in its many pernicious forms.                                -- Marilyn Klawiter
Good Cheer at Holiday Party

     What a party it was! Thanks to our gracious hostess Judy Scully, we enjoyed chatting, feasting, and celebrating in the comfort and warmth of her spacious and beautifully appointed home on December 8.
     There are few joys as great as sharing laughter, memories, ideas, and several cheerful toasts with people of good will. Thank you once again Judy for providing such a welcoming environment. It was a wonderful evening.
Women Power the Vote: Day of Action
     LWV has played a fundamental role in shaping an inclusive and active electorate. LWV has powered and continues to power the vote. On the 100th birthday of the League of Women Voters, Leagues throughout the country will keep in line with the fact that they were initiated from the suffrage movement and are centering the Day of Action around the theme, "Women Power the Vote."
     The Day of Action is an opportunity for Leagues to participate in a shared celebration of the 100th birthday and honor our legacy. Leagues are rooted in a 100-year history of fighting to strengthen our democracy, and will demonstrate our continued power through a Day of Action on February 14, 2020.
     Leagues across the country will participate in a Day of Action through a variety of actions and activities that highlight the League of Women Voters' legacy, demonstrate our organizational impact, and show how the LWV powers the vote. Day of Action participation can be: social media posts, traditional media releases, public dialogues, electoral outreach, and/or leadership development.
     LWVBCC Board members have already discussed and begun planning for Electoral Outreach to be our Action, more specifically voter registration at high schools in Berrien and Cass counties. The timing for this Action is convenient for high schools during the early weeks of the second semester. The Action also precedes the dates of most primary elections.
     >>>Please consider volunteering to register eligible students at the high school where you reside. You may either contact a member of the Board to volunteer or expect contact from us requesting your service during the next few weeks.
LWV in the 2020 Rose Parade
       LWV rang in 2020 with the "Pasadena Celebrates 2020" float in the 131st Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2020.
Riding on the float with League leaders were descendants of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, and Fred Douglass. 
Were you watching this celebration of the League's 100 yrs?

Environmental News -- of sorts!
     This month I'm recommending two books to you. The first is Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch by Dan O'Brien. I am grateful to Marilyn Klawiter for handing me this book. Had I read Buffalo for the Broken Heart when I was 20 years old or so, I'd like to think my life would have unfolded in the Dakotas converting land back to natural grasses and raising buffalo. It's fun to imagine!
     The second book is The Overstory by Richard Powers, which is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. The lives of nine main characters intertwine through the love of nature -- trees, in particular. These characters are brought together to use their knowledge of artificial intelligence, botany, chemistry, engineering, etc., to address the destruction of the forests. I'm less than halfway through the book, and already know that I will be sending it to my children/grandchildren. So good!!
     I'm off to Puerto Vallarta again in a few weeks. Last year I discovered that many restaurants had stopped offering straws with drinks; if a patron asked for a straw, a paper or recyclable straw was presented. I am hoping to see more evidence of concern for the environment and all the beings who inhabit our earth.
     Happy New Year!                                  -- C hris Zilike
Book Group: February 24
     In keeping with the celebration of the 100th birthday of the League of Women Voters, our next book for Book Group is No Stopping Us Now A History of Older Women in America by Gail Collins, beloved New York Times columnist. 
     The book, an eye-opening look at women and aging in America, focuses special 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 almost solely to men.
     Another book recommended for the Book Group is Gratitude a valediction from the late neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks. Knopf, 2015 64pps.
     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.

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

Like us on Facebook


How About Right Now!?!?
Dues Payable

Friday, Jan. 10
11:00 a.m. 
Civil Discourse Planning
Bridgman Library

Tuesday, Jan. 14
6:00 p.m. - 7:55 p.m.
LWVBCC Board Meeting
Niles District Library

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

Friday, Feb. 14
LWVUS Day of Action

Monday, Feb. 24
10:00 a.m
Book Group
Chris Zilke's Home
Please call if attending

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

Quick Links

Joe Jilek
Insurance Agent
(269) 695-2200

Visit This Sponsor
Terrace Room

Visit This Sponsor

Visit This Sponsor
Bentwood Ad 2012

Visit This Sponsor

Please  Encourage 
Membership  in LWVBCC!
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.