Votes Taken at the 2021 LWV-VA 40th Biennial Convention
Carolyn Caywood, LWV of South Hampton Roads
All of the many League members who contributed to making the Convention function virtually did a terrific job and were wonderfully patient and unflappable.
Bylaws Votes on the bylaws changes were held on Saturday so the updated bylaws would cover the rest of the Convention. There were four changes but since the first two are mandated by the National League of Women Voters, no vote was needed: #1. Add Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Policy – Note, this is a Policy rather than a Position. #2. Add Student Membership Category.
The third and fourth changes were passed by the delegates.
#3. Substitute with new National LWV term, Leagues-at-Large. This term describes a group of Members at Large who are in the process of forming a new local League, but are not yet official. Prior term was Members at Large Unit.
#4. Add proportional Convention and Council Voting Representation for Members at Large (MALs). The new MAL delegate, Tonja Roberts, was waiting in the wings and participated in the rest of the Convention.
The other votes were held on Sunday. 109 delegates and 12 board members were present to vote, thus the maximum possible votes was 121. All 14 local Leagues were represented.
Positions for Adoption Both proposed positions were adopted and all current positions retained.
- Affordable Housing Position passed 114-0
- Election Laws Position passed 113-0
- retention of current positions passed 104-4
LWV-VA Program 2021-2023: A motion was made on Saturday to limit the 2021-2023 Program to two new studies and to use ranked choice voting to identify which two. The motion narrowly failed 51 yes to 59 no. None of the not-recommended program proposals were considered.
A motion was made on Sunday to consider the proposed studies in reverse order. It passed 91 yes to 15 no. Delegates approved all four studies so it will be a very busy biennium. All four study chairs solicited more volunteers.
- Money in Politics: to cover the full scope of financing campaigns, from a donation through its expenditure including: public disclosure of the donor, transparency in actual use of funds before and after the election, limits on personal use, and Virginia executive branch structure to conduct effective oversight and enforcement. This passed 112-0.
- Environmental Justice: to review LWV-VA natural resource position, to address how Virginia can best support environmental justice initiatives to halt or prevent future racial and economic environmental inequalities. This passed 104-7.
- Education Equity: whether state funding is equitable and ensures high quality education for all K-12 students. This passed 88-24.
- Childcare: to examine the nature of Virginia’s childcare system. This passed 83-26.
Budget The Proposed LWV-VA Operating Fund Budget for FY2022 passed 108-0.
Resolutions and Courtesy Resolutions
- Lois Page moved, RESOLVED that LWV-VA consider a virtual option for the statewide convention in 2023. She agreed that a hybrid virtual and in-person convention would be such an option. Delegates pointed out that this would be more inclusive but more difficult, and hoped that by 2023 such events would be more common and venues more experienced. After many spoke, debate was closed, 97-8, and the resolution passed 101-7.
- The board moved, RESOLVED That the League of Women Voters of Virginia steadfastly insists that the General Assembly protect Voter Access to Absentee Ballots and remove the burden of witness signatures. It passed 102-5.
Two courtesy resolutions commended the convention committee and recognized and appreciated Valarie Fillgrove who passed away this spring.
Advocacy awards: Since the number of actions was divided by the number of members in the local League, all Leagues were on an equal footing in this “friendly competition.”
First place: LWV of Washington County
Second place: LWV of South Hampton Roads
Third place: LWV of Arlington
Candidates The slate of candidates was elected unanimously.
President: Deb Wake (Fairfax)
1st Vice President: Joan Porte (Arlington)
2nd Vice President: Erni Bridges (Fairfax)
Secretary: Jes Davis (Montgomery County)
Treasurer: Debbie Combest (Fredericksburg)
Doris Bey (Richmond)
Janet Boyd (Arlington)
Carolyn Caywood (South Hampton Roads)
Denise Harrington (Williamsburg)
Andrianne Konstas-Salvette (Fairfax)
Natalie Miller-Moore (Williamsburg)
Mary Crutchfield, Chair (Richmond)
Chris DeRosa (Arlington)
Elizabeth Obenshain (Montgomery County)