Observer
News from the League of Women Voters of Cook County


February 2020
Countdown to the March 17 Primary
How to Get Involved

Election Judges Needed

Be a part of history and work as an election judge on Tuesday, March 17.

  • Election Judges and Polling Place Technicians are needed especially in the following Townships: Wheeling, Northfield, Hanover, Schaumburg, Elk Grove and Orland. Election Judges earn $200 and Polling Place Technicians $365. Apply at cookcountyclerk.com/work.
  • Chicago also needs election judges and Election Coordinators. Judges earn $230 ($255 for returning judges) and Election Coordinators earn $450. https://www.chicagoelections.gov and click on “Participating.”

Another Way to Volunteer to Help the League on Election Day

How well is the new voting equipment working on election day? To find out, local Leagues throughout Cook County, including Chicago, are sponsoring an Election Judge Survey in connection with the Cook County League. To participate in this easy and quick activity , contact your local League. The more precincts covered, the more useful the reports will be, so join us!
 
Find out more about the candidates 

The Cook County League partnered with WTTW channel 11, the area’s PBS station, to present the 2020 Voter Guide , an online resource designed to inform voters about candidates running for office in the March 17 Primary. You can learn about the offices up for election, read background information on candidates, and watch two-minute videos of the candidates shot by WTTW.

All Eyes on the State’s Attorney Race
 ABC 7 has partnered with the League of Women Voters of Cook County and Univision Chicago to present two, hour-long, commercial-free debates with candidates running for the office of Cook County State's Attorney in the March 17 primary election. Check out the air dates and times .

League Marks 100 Years

Some 300 League members and elected public officials gathered to celebrate the centennial of the League’s founding on Feb. 14 at Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel – the site of the first meeting in 1920. Remarks by public officials highlighting the League’s work, as well as song, cake and camaraderie defined this memorable milestone. Kudos to the 100 th anniversary planning committee for its hard work. One of the featured speakers, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle (at right), noted that observers from the Cook County League attend almost all the meetings, and thanked the LWVCC for making the County's government better.
A proclamation posted on the LWVCC’s website, which recognizes the 100 th anniversary, was publicly presented by the Cook County Board of Commissioners to representatives of the Cook County League  Cynthia Schilsky, Amy Little, Chris Ruys and Audra Wilson , LWVIL executive director who also heads up the County’s Commission on Women’s Issues. President Preckwinkle and  commissioners complimented the Cook County League’s work to make government more efficient and transparent. 
Join the League’s Observer Corps!
  The Cook County League Observer Corps promotes government transparency and accountability in government and plays a vital role in helping improve county-wide governments as well as educating voters on decisions that impact their lives. Members observe the Cook County Board (CCBC) and committees, the Cook County Forest Preserve Board (CCFP), the Cook County Health Board (CCHB), and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board (MWRD).
 
LWVCC observers…
  • Attend governmental meetings and monitor issues being discussed and the process of the discussion; 
  • Write reports after each meeting which are posted at www.lwvcookcounty.org and shared on Facebook and Twitter.
The Observer caught up with Georgia Gebhardt (left), an LWVCC board member and longtime member of the Wilmette league, at a recent MWRD meeting. A League member for 30 years and Observer for five, Georgia attends MWRD, Cook County and Library Board in Wilmette. To read some of her reports, click here

Observing tips from Georgia:

  • New observers can ask to accompany more experienced observers and offer to co-author a report as a way to ease into observing;
  • Help is at hand from the Observer Co-chairs and others whose knowledge and direction is beneficial;
  • Be enthusiastic. Observers should be excited about the important role they play in improving governmental transparency.
  • Know that board members often introduce themselves at meetings – it’s a sign of respect for the League and its work.

Want to join us? Send an email to  info@lwvcookcounty.org  or leave a message at  (312) 939-5935, ext. 4.
About the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

  • The MWRD covers most of Cook County
  • Main responsibilities: Protect Lake Michigan as our source for drinking water; treat wastewater in the Chicago area waterways, and provide stormwater management
  • 2020 budget: $1.15 billion
  • Governed by nine-member Board of Commissioners who are elected for six-year terms on a staggered basis. In 2020, three positions are up for election.
  • Board meets twice monthly, most months on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 10:30 am at main office at 100 E. Erie, Chicago. Meetings are live-streamed, and videos are available for watching later online at https://mwrd.legistar.com
  • Among its services, MWRD provides Medsafe drug collection boxes for unused and expired medications at the main office and the three water reclamation plants in south Chicago (Calumet), Skokie (O’Brien), and Cicero (Stickney).
  • For more, visit https://mwrd.org

League Advocacy Success Story

January 9 - The League of Women Voters of Cook County gave testimony at the MWRD Board meeting expressing concerns with the proposed amendments to their Ethics Ordinance. While LWVCC supported strengthening the Ordinance, we urged a revision to the amendments to exempt non-profit, non-partisan organizations like the League from being subject to the fees and registration requirements for "lobbyists."

January 23 - The MWRD passed the amendments to the Ethics Ordinance with a change that explicitly exempts those who are not compensated for their lobbying activities from the requirements.  As a result, the League, which has no paid people doing lobbying activities, is exempt, as we explained.

Local Leagues: If your local governments propose new or amended Ethics Ordinances, be sure and read the details to make sure that your League will not be inadvertently adversely affected which would reduce your ability to advocate.
LWVCC Events

Save the Date! Tickets go on sale March 1 for the LWVCC 2020 Annual Meeting to be held Monday, May 18, 2020 , at the University Center, 525 S. State St., Chicago. Registration begins at 9:30 am and the business segment at 10, followed by lunch and program. We are excited to welcome Cook County Commissioners Alma Anaya , 7 th , Bridget Degnen , 12 th , and Donna Miller , 6 th , who will participate in a panel discussion led by board member Pris Mims , chair of the Budget and Structure interest group. 
 
Tickets still available for The Agitator, a play by Mat Smart which explores the tempestuous, yet enduring 45-year friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass as they shape the course of history.
Saturday, May 23 at 2:30 pm
Theater Wit , 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago
presented by Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
Price: $44.04  (includes service fee)
2019-2020 Cook County League Board Members 

Vice-presidents:  Jan Goldberg , LaGrange Area and Karin Hribar Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, and Buffalo Grove; Secretary: Betty Hayford , Evanston; Treasurer: Nancy Clark , Oak Park/River Forest; Carolyn Consentino , Homewood/Flossmoor; Laura Davis , Palatine Area; Diane Edmundson , Park Ridge; Nancy Marcus , Winnetka/Northfield/Kenilworth; Priscilla Mims , Chicago; Sharon Welch, Chicago; Amy Little , Chicago; Chris Ruys , Chicago; Mary Anne Benden , Arlington Heights; Michelle Niccolai , LaGrange; Ann Bolan , Oak Park-River Forest; Kim Inman , Palatine area; Georgia Gebhardt , Wilmette.
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF COOK COUNTY
332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 634
Chicago, IL 60604

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