Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

August 2022 State Board Update: President’s Report

Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@aol.com

Our democracy is being threatened like never before.  We have all heard and spoken these words but they are never more true than now.  Voting rights have been restricted in many states and being threatened in others. Women’s rights/human rights are being threatened with some states eliminating abortion for any reason at all.  Our law enforcement and justice systems at all levels from FBI to local police are being threatened.  Workers in all forms of government from volunteers at the polls to sitting judges and even the United States Attorney General are being threatened. 

Never has the LWV mission to protect voters and defend our democracy been more crucial.  Although over the years, LWVNYS has stressed the importance of us all working together, as I reflect on what I have written and talked about in the past, I think it now important to stress the importance of working with LWVUS.  LWVUS has been out front, often leading the way on the fight for our democracy.   LWVUS has increased its visibility, its funding sources, its staff and ultimately its ability to help leagues all over the country.  LWVUS have provided webinars, monthly updates, and valuable information and templates and toolkits. LWVNYS and our local Leagues have benefitted from the materials and programs they have offered. In addition, LWVNYS has benefitted from the grants they awarded us, much of which we passed through to your Leagues. Now LWVUS is looking for our opinions but also our help.     
  1. The League of Women Voters has been a trusted organization with an excellent reputation for over 100 years. In these extremely partisan times, it is crucial we maintain our reputation.  LWVUS is trying to insure that all local leagues, MALS and ILOs are committed to maintaining our integrity and our mission.  LWVUS board has developed two draft policies which they believe “will provide clarity on organization-wide expectations for LWVUS, state and local Leagues, and members in the form of a League Rights and Responsibility Policy and a Member Rights and Responsibility Policy.  These policies were formulated from existing bylaws, politics, and legal or nonprofit best practices.  As the LWVUS board and staff prepare to finalize and implement these policies, they are looking for feedback from Leagues. They have stated that our feedback is critical to ensure the policies are as useful as they can be. LWVNYS will be carefully looking at these policies and submitting our feedback and comments. We feel it is important that each League have board discussions and submit their comments. Click here for the proposed  League Rights and Responsibility Policy and click here for the proposed Member Rights and Responsibility Policy . 
  2. In order for LWVUS to continue to flourish and grow, just like local leagues, they cannot stand still.  They have to not only maintain their funding sources but increase them.  We know that grants are data driven. LWV is a grassroots organization and our Leagues, MALS and ILOs provide the boots on the ground.  LWVUS needs us to not only collect data but provide it to them.  The next President’s zoom on September 8th will mainly focus on the data we need to collect and how to collect it.  Although LWVNYS will be presenting on what we need, and how to do it, there will be the opportunity for you to share ideas, ask questions on this topic as well as on the Leagues Rights and Responsibility policy.   Please mark the date Thursday September 8th at time 7 PM and on your calendar.  I am aware that data collection is not the most stimulating topic, but it is extremely important and must be seen as a necessary stepping stone to reach our goal of Empowering Voters and Defending Our Democracy!
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