The Voter
League of Women Voters of the Midland Area
Jan 14, 2-4pm
Consensus Meeting 1
Strosacker Bldg
220 W Main

Jan 21, 9:30-11:30am
Consensus Meeting 2
Strosacker Bldg

Feb 4, 9:30-11:30am
Board of Directors
Library Conf Room C

Feb 17, 2-4pm
All Program Planning
Library Conf Room C

March 8, 7am-8pm
Presidential Primary

May 18, 6pm
Annual Meeting
Midland Holiday Inn
details to follow

Educational booklet for new voters
Your Elected Officials
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On January 8, over 50 attendees heard an outstanding but sobering presentation by Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He talked about how "Big Money Dominates Michigan Politics", describing the influx of large amounts of dark (undisclosed) money that goes into Michigan political campaigns. It was a privilege to hear from the expert on this subject in our state. We thank Trena Winans, Education and Community Outreach Director at Senior Services, for co-sponsoring the program and hosting at their Trailside facility.
Board of Directors

VP Membership

VP Program


Judy Donahue - Program
Terry Townley - Education
Cathy Heng - Print Media
Katherine Redwine - New Media
Carole Swinehart - Voter Service
Kim Steinke - Voter Service



Michigan Voter Information Center
Recent Legislative Activity Disappointing

Two bills recently passed by our state legislature and signed into law by the governor raise concerns about the protection of democracy by our elected officials. SB 13 eliminated the straight-ticket option for voting; and the opportunity for a voter referendum to overturn the decision (which has been done successfully twice in Michigan) was eliminated by including an appropriation in the bill that rules out such action by the voters. In the second case, SB 571 puts limits on local officials' ability to provide information on millages and other local ballot questions in the two months before an election. In each case, the governor (after signing the bill) called for further work by the legislature - expanded period for no-excuse absentee voting in the first case, and further legislation to clarify the "confusion" in SB 571. Based on the track record of our legislators, we are not hopeful that significant improvements will follow.  We were pleased to see Midland Daily News voicing their editorial disapproval in both of these actions:  Jan 7, 2016 - Jan 8, 2016 

One thing is clear: the League of Women Voters is needed more than ever to protect voter rights and to promote expanded voting, transparency and an informed electorate.

For ongoing advocacy activities by our State LWV, see

Sue McCollister, President
League of Women Voters of the Midland Area


Get Money out of Politics
The League of Women Voters of the Midland Area is holding two
consensus meetings to update the National LWV Position on Money in Politics.   Local Leagues across the country are  holding consensus meetings to provide input to the national LWV for updating the current position on campaign finance

Consensus Meetings will be held
Thursday, January 14, 2-4 pm
Thursday, January 21, 9:30-11:30 am

Strosacker Center, 220 West Main St. (corner of Gordon)
Conference Room 107

Why is the Study needed?
The League has had a position on Money in Politics since 1974, which states:

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the methods of financing political campaigns should ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office and allow maximum citizen participation in the political process. This position is applicable to all federal campaigns for public office - presidential and congressional, primaries as well as general elections. It also may be applied to state and local campaigns.

The position focuses on the potential for corruption of candidates by contributors along with other aspects of the democratic process.  It does not address First Amendment considerations of financial contribution as a form of free speech, which has been the foundation of Supreme Court decisions regarding campaign finance. An update of the current position is needed to better understand and address this aspect of campaign contributions as a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Money in Politics Consensus Questions
The consensus questions cover three areas:
  • Part I -- What democratic values and interests should campaign finance reform protect?
  • Part II -- What limitations in political campaign spending should there be on the various types of organizations and entities, for example, individuals, corporations, media?
  • Part III -- How should campaign finance reform be regulated to protect the democratic processes?
Tips to help you answer questions...
  • The LWV intentionally words its public policy positions in the broadest possible way so our positions are relevant for many years. Boards of the future must decide when and how to use those positions. For this reason, the MIP consensus questions are also worded in broad, general language. If in doubt about the meaning of a certain word in a question, participants should interpret it in the broadest possible sense.
  • Over the past four decades, major U.S. Supreme Court decisions on financing political campaigns have been handed down. We ask that you respond to the questions without regard for the Supreme Court's current views on the First Amendment. The purpose of the MIP review and update is to determine what the League believes about these issues.
The questions with links to background readings can be found   here.  This  slide presentation gives an excellent overview of the issue and is recommended viewing.

This is a lot of material, but keep in mind that League members who have studied these references in detail will help guide us through the discussion.
Join us in this important effort!

Program Planning
Wednesday, February 17, 2-4 pm 
(NOTE change in date from last month's newsletter)
Library conference room C
We will do planning for both National and Local program in this meeting.
National Program:
Each year Local Leagues participate in program planning for the state or national League, alternating between the two, to give input on priority topics for focus during the upcoming two years. This year's planning for the 2016-18 biennium will be for LWVUS, for development of a national program to be adopted at the convention in June. There is extensive information on national program planning  here.
Local Program:
This is an annual process when we define or confirm our priorities and goals for the coming year. Our Local Program will be presented to the membership for approval at the annual meeting in May. Included in this process is the review of our local positions, which can be found here.
All members are invited to participate.
Radio Days Fundraiser

Our sales reps will soon be out calling on donors for Radio Days, our annual fundraiser. Tune in to WMPX during Sunshine Week, March 14-18, to hear the public service announcements and ads sponsored by our donors. February is also time to start planning for 2016-17.
2016 Presidential Elections

Your Vote Counts button
March 8, Presidential Primary

You can use the MI Secretary of State to find your ballot.  You will need to enter your personal information, then the system will tell you if you are registered and where to find your polling place . Click on "View My Sample Ballot" to see the list of candidates for each party.   February 8 is the last day to register for the primary election.
 If you are interested in joining, please fill out the form below, and send it in. If you have questions, please email Judy McDowell, VP Membership. 
mail to: LWV - Midland Area
P.O. Box 1203
Midland, MI 48641-1203
Any other questions or problems, email Katherine Redwine, e-newsletter editor.