A Voice For Citizens, A Force For Change
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization
encouraging the informed and active participation in government.
It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
PAIGE: WHAT COMES NEXT IN RICHMOND DEPENDS ON LOCALITIES
With the election over comes the task of governing. At the top of the list when the General Assembly convenes in January is the passage of the biennial budget; that work is already well under way. The legislature will begin its 60-day session on the second Wednesday in January; the session is scheduled for Jan. 13 to March 12. Starting next Monday, though, legislators can pre-file bills. To read the full article by Vivian J. Paige, published in The Virginia Pilot on November 12, 2015, click here
WLRT PRE-SESSION REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 25
Join us on Capitol Square in Richmond on December 2nd to hear first hand about the pressing issues that will come before state legislators. The day begins with The <br /><br /><br /><br />Pre-Session Women's Round Table (free) in House Room D followed by lunch. As always, speakers from widely diverse sectors are being invited. Speakers include non-profit advocates and members of the Governor's cabinet. Time is running out to register for this important event.
for more information and to register by mail.
Click Here to register on line."
THE 2015 ELECTION IN VIRGINIA: A TRIBUTE TO GERRYMANDERING
Come January, all 40 seats of its state Senate will be occupied by the same party that held the seats before the Nov. 3 elections. In the House of Delegates, only three of 100 districts will be represented by a candidate from a different party than the current office-holder, and all three were open-seat (i.e. no incumbent running) contests in northern Virginia. Read more of this article by Stephen Farnsworth in The Washington Post, by clicking here
High Cost of Staying Home on Election Day
In case you were wondering, Election Day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. That means it could be as early as Nov. 2 or as late as Nov. 8. This year, it is Nov. 3, which happens to be next Tuesday. All 140 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot. Read the entire article by Vivian J. Page by clicking here
THE LWV-VA ESTABLISHES A STATEWIDE "FIREARMS SAFETY TASK FORCE" TO PREVENT EASY ACCESS TO FIREARMS BY DOMESTIC ABUSERS AND STALKERS
This past May, representatives assembled at the 2015 League of Women Voters of Virginia Convention and unanimously passed a resolution to take action to prevent domestic abusers and stalkers from purchasing, accessing, or possessing firearms. LWV-VA will now advocate and lobby for stronger laws. Implementation of the resolution starts now with the establishment and mobilization of a statewide task force, referred to as the "Firearms Safety Task Force". Click Here
to read the article.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, League Resolves to Close Lethal Loophole
Dianne Blais and Lois Page
, Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters Virginia issued a press release
on Domestic Violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. By the end of the month 48 women in America will have been murdered with guns used by a current or former boyfriend or husband. Behind this number are human lives irretrievably lost -- a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend or neighbor. We should never lose sight of the pain and grief behind the statistics.
LWV-VA RELEASES PUBLIC SERVICE VIDEO "WHY VOTE?"
The League of Women Voters of Virginia has just released a public service video "Why Vote?" encouraging citizens to vote on November 3. The one-minute video asks the viewer what issues they really care about and how to find information about where candidates stand on issues using the League's Vote411 website. State Co-President Lois Page, stated "It's so important that people take part in this election process, since those elected make the real decisions that affect areas such as education, health care, employment and voting equality."
Leaguers are encouraged to view the video and send link to friends in an effort to get out the vote on November 3. If each League member send the link to 10 friends, we will have reached almost 1,000 voters. Do your part and make this campaign effort a success. This is a first of a kind for LWV-VA and the difference it makes is important in planning for future videos.
To view the video, click here
Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association Releases Video
A new video has just been released by the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association (TPSM), a partner of the LWV-VA, reviewing the history of the Suffragist movement in the US. According to Pat Wirth, Executive Secretary of the organization, "This moving video is the first of two tracing the hardships suffered by women attempting to gain their right to vote. It is amazing what they had to endure before Congress passed the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution." A new struggle is underway to raise funds to construct a memorial to the Suffragist at Occoquan Regional Park. To view the video click here
Redistricting Reform Heats Up
Redistricting reform is heating up as an issue in Virginia, thanks to a federal court's decision that the boundaries of the 3rd Congressional District, represented by Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott, were unconstitutional because the Virginia General Assembly had tried to pack as many African-Americans as possible into the district around Richmond.
Despite meeting briefly in a special session in August, the General Assembly failed to meet a September 1 deadline for redrawing the district, as specified by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. After the deadline passed, the co-presidents of the Virginia League of Women Voters published an op-ed in several newspapers around the state, urging the judges to use as a starting point one of the maps that were prepared in 2011 by independent groups, such as then-Gov. Bob McDonnell's bipartisan redistricting advisory commission or the winning teams from a competition among Virginia colleges. To read entire article click here.
Redistricting Lawsuit Based Upon Virginia's Constitution
You may have read that OneVirginia2021has gathered some plaintiffs to sue state officials regarding the voting district lines in 11 state Senate and House Districts. Several of these plaintiffs are League members. The basis of this suit is that these district lines do not comply with the Virginia Constitution's stipulation that districts must be compact. While the League does not consider compactness the only criteria for fairness, it is the one in the Constitution that we can hang a lawsuit on. Named as defendants in the suit are some election officials we consider our friends but we all know who is responsible for the gerrymandered districts in question. To read the text of the suit, click here
THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT COMMENTS SUBMITTED
Your state board recently agreed to sign on to the comments sent to the Special Master who is in charge of redrawing the lines for the Third Congressional District. The deadline for those comments was September 18 and we were able to turn around getting board and LWVUS approval in a very short time. The comments were drafted by the President of the OneVirginia2021 Board of Directors. You may recall that the basis of the original decision was connected to racial inequality issues. To read these comments, click here
SIGN ONEVIRGINIA2021'S PETITION
LWV-VA is working closely with OneVirginia2021 on redistricting issues. We were among the first members of OneVirginia2021. Here's the latest "call to action" from its executive director! Please help and sign their petition, if you possibly can!
Click Here to sign the petition.
To read the press release, click here
DOES YOUR VOTE REALLY COUNT?
Here is another study of value in understanding the redistricting process that should be read by Leaguers concerned with equal voting for all citizens. Although this two-part study was developed by the LWVFA in 2005-2006, the material they contain remains valid today.
Click Here to read Part I.
Click Here to read Part II.
Voter Turnout for Elections is Declining
In Virginia, elections are held every year in November: Year 1 is for Governor (last held in 2013); Year 2: the U.S. Congress (2014); Year 3: the Virginia Legislature and statewide and local offices (2015); and Year 4: President and U.S. Congress (2016).
This year, 2015, in a Year-3 election, Virginia voters will elect officials who will have direct influence on their lives: transportation, schools funding, property tax rates, etc. Turnout in Year-3 elections has been falling for 30 years. In Fairfax County there will be candidates for 52 offices, but less than 30 percent of eligible voters in Virginia, including Fairfax County, will likely go to the polls to cast a ballot and select leaders for the next four years. This is not a new phenomenon. Note in Figure 1 the percentage of registered voters who actually voted in presidential vs. other elections and the especially low turnout in Year-3 elections (2003, 2007, 2011). To read the entire article, click here.
State Board of Elections Updates Website
The Virginia State Board of Elections has updated its website to make it easier to get information on your elected officials
. It also provides a complete list of candidates
who ran all state offices.
Your Vote Counts.
"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." Franklin D. Roosevelt