The Observer
News from the League of Women Voters of Cook County

May 2020
Historic meeting in historic year!

2020 Annual Meeting Highlights

It’s a first!

In a first for the Cook County League, the organization held its 2020 annual meeting during its 100 th anniversary year on May 18 via a two-hour Zoom video call ( meeting in progress at right)

Delegates from all 13 local Leagues in Cook County approved bylaws changes, the budget, recommended program, and slate of board candidates for 2020-21. They also heard excerpts of interest group and committee reports ( which are posted on the LWVCC website ). Also approved is a measure to pursue converting LWVCC’s tax status from a 501c-4 to 501c-3.

Cynthia Schilsky, the League’s Zoom coordinator and trainer, praised League participants and guests for adapting to the online video format which included digital voting and use of Zoom’s “chat” button to ask questions – no small fete, given there were 83 participants, including 57 delegates and 26 non-delegates. Four smaller Zoom meetings were held prior to the Annual Meeting for League members to learn more about the 501c-3 conversion proposal.

A special thanks t o the Annual Meeting planning committee including vice presidents Karin Hribar and Jan Goldberg , as well as Cynthia Schilsky and Diane Edmundson , and thanks to all participants for helping make the meeting a huge success. A recording of the meeting is available on the LWVCC website at

Another PMP Holiday

At the Annual Meeting, LWVCC local League delegates voted to approve the 2020-21 budget and to extend for another year the PMP holiday. While there will be no PMPs collected for LWVCC for 2020-21, local Leagues will still pay their PMP to LWVIL and LWVUS.  PMP is an acronym for "per member payment" and is the amount of money each member league is assessed on an annual basis based on the number of members in each League.

Delegates Vote to Change Tax Status to a 501c-3
Delegates at the Annual Meeting voted to approve converting LWVCC’s tax status from a 501c-4 to 501c-3. The 501c-3 designation is available for charitable and educational organizations.
A committee composed of Cynthia Schilsky , Pris Mims , and Nancy Clark did a deep dive into pros and cons of changing the tax status before making recommendations to the League board, who passed it, then the delegates. In making its recommendations, the committee cited three factors.
  1. 501c-3 designation as an educational and charitable organization makes sense because our focus is voter education and voter registration, and we educate the public about many governmental issues.
  2. We would only need to maintain one fund rather than the two done currently.
  3. Contributions from individual donors can be tax-deductible and we have a better chance of receiving a funding grant if we are a c-3.

A major concern about making the switch was the issue of lobbying. The Cook County League does lobby, and there are restrictions on the amount of lobbying a c-3 can do. As a 501c-3, up to 20% of our budget can be spent on lobbying (for example, where “we” as the League are talking with legislators). Up to 5% can be spent on grassroots lobbying, which is when we ask our members or the public to contact their legislators about specific legislation. There is still much work to be done on the c-3 conversion. More about that in the next issue of The Observer.
LWVCC Recommended Program for 2020-21

During the meeting, board member Nancy Marcus presented the 2020-21 program. Here is a summary.
Voter Service Committee (Nancy Marcus)
The committee educates citizens on sources of voting information through the LWVCC website and other means. It will continue to review and evaluate the new election equipment and voting process.
Observer Corps (Diane Edmundson and Carolyn Cosentino)
The Corps observes and reports on the Cook County Board, Health and Hospital Systems, Forest Preserve District and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. Observer reports are posted on our website under “Observer Reports.”
Budget and Structure Interest Group (Pris Mims)
The group reports on County and MWRD government organization and oversight, including ethics and transparency of board operations. It observes and assesses budget processes, giving suggestions for improvements. It follows up on applicable LWVCC positions and past studies (e.g., performance management and the Recorder/Clerk December 2020 merger).
Criminal Justice Interest Group (Jan Goldberg, Karin Hribar)
The group focuses on pre-trial screening and assessment, Bond Court, diversion programs and electronic monitoring, mental health issues within the criminal justice system, equal justice throughout the criminal justice system, as well as objective and uniform data collecting, sharing and reporting among all stakeholders.
Cook County Health Interest Group (Diane Edmundson)
The group monitors this independent Board and its committees , the effect of 2020 changes made to the 2008 Enabling Ordinance, the quality of services at Stroger and Provident Hospitals, and Ambulatory Care Centers , and monitors growth efforts, budget, and sustainability of the Cook County hospitals and health system.

Volunteer Opportunities Galore for Local Leaguers
Looking for another way to contribute your time and energy to support the League’s important work? Opportunities abound at the LWVCC. Join the Observer Corps, the Voter Service committee, the Budget and Structure interest group, Criminal Justice interest group or the Cook County Health
interest group. Or represent your local league at our board meetings by becoming an LLR (local league representative). Send an email to or call 312/939-5935, x 4.

Delegates Pass Proposed Amendments to Bylaws

Suzanne Calder presented highlights of the proposed amendments to the 2018 bylaws followed by a vote; the amendments passed. Here are a few highlights:

  • Changes were made that clarify the distinctions and requirements of the board specified as “elected” (which includes the officers), appointed, or Local League Representatives (LLRs).
  • With the onset of the “shelter-at-home” order, the bylaws were amended so that attendance at remote board meetings will count toward the required number of regular board meetings (nine) and the annual meeting.
  • The bylaws were amended to allow the LWVCC board of directors to submit revisions to the bylaws at each annual meeting, if needed, rather than only even-numbered years.

Delegates Vote to Accept Slate of LWVCC Officers, Board Members
The LWVCC nominating committee, chaired by Sarah Shirk (Oak Park) and with members Paula Lawson (Glenview/Glencoe) and Sandra Slayton (Homewood/Flossmoor) presented a slate of candidates to the Delegates who voted to accept the nominations. At this time, we proudly present the 2020-21 officers and board members of the League of Women Voters of Cook County!
President – Cynthia Schilsky (LaGrange Area) (at right)
Vice President – Karin Hribar (Arlington Heights)
Secretary – Betty Hayford (Evanston)
Directors – Diane Edmundson (Park Ridge), Laura Davis (Palatine), Chris Ruys (Chicago)
Continuing in their present positions through May 2021 are:
Treasurer – Nancy Clark (Oak Park/River Forest)
Vice President – Jan Goldberg (LaGrange Area)
Directors – Priscilla Mims (Chicago), Carolyn Cosentino (Homewood/Flossmoor), Nancy Marcus (Winnetka/Northbrook/Kenilworth)
Pat Graunke (Chicago) and Sandra Slayton (Homewood/Flossmoor) were elected to the 2020-22 Nominating Committee.
332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 634
Chicago, IL 60604

312/939-5935 x 4