ACTION ALERTS

Materials provided here come from our LWV-VA Action Alert Director, Julia Tanner.

Most recent talking points: https://lwv-va.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/DW-talkingpoints-2019-02-16.pdf


Action Alert_ Ask your US Senator to support VRAA

This year, the League of Women Voters marks its 100th anniversary and 100 years since passage of the 19th Amendment. Today, summon this legacy of success and contact your legislators to protect voting rights.
 
Call to Action! The League of Women Voters of the United States has asked us all to take part in a “Virtual Lobby Day” today, Thursday, June 25, in support of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA).

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 holds states to follow specific requirements when conducting elections for federal offices. The original Act had a critical tool that requires states with a history of suppressing the vote of racial, ethnic, or language minorities to “pre-clear” changes in key voting laws and practices with the US Department of Justice or the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

In 2013, the Supreme Court stripped away these key protections that had reduced discrimination, particularly against Black voters. The Shelby v. Holder decision suspended pre-clearance. States rapidly started purging qualified voters, adopting restrictive voter ID laws, closing polling places, enacting onerous requirements for voting, and gerrymandering with abandon.

It’s past time for Congress to update and restore the Voting Rights Act, including the critical pre-clearance requirement. Ask your Senators to pass S.561, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019. 

Status: the VRAA passed the House of Representatives in December. Now is the Senate’s turn.  
 

WHAT ACTIONS CAN I TAKE ON JUNE 25?

1. Email your Senators using our Action Alert!

2. Call your Senators and ask them to support and pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act

3. Tweet at your Senators (find sample posts & graphics here)

4. Participate in our Twitter Storm between 2-3pm ET (find sample posts & graphics here)

You can find information and Talking Points in the US League’s toolkit here.

After contacting your legislator, report your advocacy here.

League policy is that members do not speak for the League.
 
“Only the President or her designee is authorized to speak for the League. However, we encourage all members to contact their public officials as individuals, whether or not they agree with a League position.”
Contact Virginia’s U.S. Senators

Mark Warner
Washington, DC office phone: (202) 224-2023
Virginia office phones and addresses: here
Email: use this form on the Senator’s website 

Tim Kaine
Washington, DC office phone: (202) 224-4024
Virginia office phones and addresses: kaine.senate.gov
Email: use this form kaine.senate.gov/contact

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Jan 22, 2020 Action Alert for Same Day Voter Registration

Please contact your lawmakers now in support of Same Day Voter Registration bills. You can modify the message before sending, using your own words. Click the contact link

  • Q: Why is same day voter registration important?
  • A: Letting qualified voters register or update their voter registrations on Election Day supports the right to vote.
  • Q: Does it work?
  • A: Yes. 21 states and the District of Columbia already allow same day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters still must show proof of identity, residency, and qualification to vote. 

Urge your legislators to vote for Delegate Simon’s bill HB 187 and Delegate Ayala’s HB 201. Click here now.

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information and then email them a request to support these bills. Let them know you are a constituent, and your address. 

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Jan 19, 2020 Calls to Action

Week of January 20-25

Tip: Are you on facebook? Join the League’s Advocacy discussion group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/373903886296976/ & answer the questions. 

☎️☎️☎️ Remember to log your advocacy! A little competition makes it fun. Click here to be counted for your Local League: http://bit.ly/LogYourAdvocacy ☎️☎️☎️

Privileges & Elections (“P&E”) Committees 

House P&E / Elections Subcommittee

Topic: no excuse absentee voting

Date: Tues, Jan. 21, 7 AM

Location: House Room 1

Senate P&E Committee

Topic: campaign finance reform, voting rights, efficient elections, the ERA (on crossover), and gender equality.

Date:  Tues, Jan. 21, 15 minutes after Senate adjournment (approx. 2 PM)

Location: Senate Room 3, the Capitol, Richmond 

Livestream Video should be available during and after the hearing at this link: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

Contact

What to Say 

if you are a constituent, mention that and state your name and address. 

Please use your own words. Ideas below. We suggest one or two topics per contact. You may also sign up here to join other League members for a preparatory briefing and visits to legislators on League Day.

No excuse absentee voting

“Please copatron and pass no excuse absentee voting so people will not need to name a reason for voting absentee, which can deter voting. Please cosponsor and vote for HB 1, 25, 208 & 209 / SB 111. Thank you.”

Campaign finance reform

“Please copatron and vote for the campaign finance bills in the P&E Committee this week, Senate Bills 25, 166, 205, 266, 488, 889 and 979, to give you greater freedom to vote as you think is right. These bills will help ensure other legislators have to follow the same rules.”

Voting procedure

“Elections should be efficient and designed to facilitate voting. Please cosponsor and vote for Senator Ebbin’s SJ 63, which synchronizes state general elections with federal election years. It will save the state money by reducing the frequency of elections, and will expand voting because voters will see federal as well as state campaign notices during voting years.”

Redistricting

While not on the P&E docket for this week, the state League supports second passage of the Redistricting Amendment. Please urge your legislators to copatron, support, and vote for the redistricting constitutional amendment this session, HJ 71 / SJ 18, with enabling legislation, HB 758 / SB 203 & 204. Click here for a FAQ from the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

Voting rights / felons

“Please copatron and vote for SJ 14, which authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of a felony. The essence of our system of government is the right to vote, and that right should not be abridged.”

Racial equity

While this bill is not in committee yet for this week, schedules are still being posted and supporting it is helpful. “Please copatron and vote for HB 973, which will repeal racially discriminatory laws relating to the racial segregation of students in elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning. For Virginia to fully improve its future, we must clean up harmful laws of the past.”

ERA

“Please copatron and vote for the House Equal Rights Amendment resolution, HJ 1, which will be heard in Senate P&E on Tuesday. This is a crossover vote. The Constitution should provide equal treatment under law, because statutory protections can be rolled back with a simple majority vote; the Constitution is more enduring.”

Gender equity

“Every person deserves the dignity of equal treatment under law. Please copatron and vote for SJ 3 and SJ 7, which will repeal the constitutional amendment prohibiting a legal status for same sex unions. This is already invalid due to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.”

“Please copatron and vote for Del. Plum’s SB 618, which adds gender, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense.”

☎️☎️☎️ Remember to log your advocacy! Click to be counted for your Local League: http://bit.ly/LogYourAdvocacy ☎️☎️

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Redistricting FAQ

Why LWV-VA Supports Constitutional Amendment S.J. 18 to End Partisan Gerrymandering 

What is independent redistricting and why is it needed? Redistricting is the process of drawing maps to determine election districts for members of Congress and the state legislature. In many states, the legislature wields the power to draw these maps. When one party controls this process, it can rig the maps to stay in power by choosing the electorate in each district (“gerrymandering”). 

Gerrymandering weakens voters’ voices. It carves up communities, removes competition, increases polarization, and creates gridlock. Redistricting works better when voters get more of a say. 

Why Virginia needs a Constitutional Amendment now for fair redistricting. Virginia’s election maps are gerrymandered. Virginia’s constitution gives only legislators the power to draw the election maps. Only a constitutional amendment can change the constitution and let citizens serve on a redistricting commission. A mere law (legislation) cannot amend the constitution. 

Last year, after extensive negotiation, Virginia’s legislature passed a constitutional amendment (“CA”) to establish a better way: a commission of 8 legislators and 8 citizens, with a citizen chair. 

Timing is critical. Redistricting in Virginia usually occurs only once every ten years. In order to enact the amendment before the next ten-year redistricting in early 2021, the constitutional amendment must pass again this legislative session and then go before voters on the ballot in November. 

Why the League of Women Voters of Virginia supports the Constitutional Amendment, SJ 18 / HJ 71

  • The Amendment gives citizens a voice in the Virginia redistricting process for the first time. Protectionist maps help legislators keep their seats. Citizens don’t have that conflict of interest. 
  • The Amendment for the first time requires that lines be drawn in accordance with specific “laws that address racial and ethnic fairness,” avoiding harm to our communities and Virginia. 
  • Redistricting decisions will be brought into the light, not hidden away in dark, secret backrooms. 

What do the accompanying bills do? 

  • Senate bill 203 creates criteria for drawing maps, such as ensuring the votes of racial or language minorities are not diluted, preserving communities of interest, and avoiding lines that favor parties or politicians or divide towns. 
  • Senate bill 204 directs the Court to appoint a citizen “special master” to assist in redistricting. 

Shouldn’t we try for a better commission, without legislators? This is the only amendment available to be passed this year, before the decennial redistricting and the next House election. We need to pass it while the window of opportunity is open. 

Should voters be concerned about Virginia’s Supreme Court? Accompanying legislation (SB204) requires the court to appoint a citizen special master to draw the maps. Virginia’s justices are bound by canons of judicial ethics and were appointed by Democrat, as well as Republican, controlled legislative chambers. 

Who supports S.J. 18? Respected voices include the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, Senator Tim Kaine and Rep. Don Beyer, and the editorial boards of the Richmond Times-Daily and the Virginian-Pilot. Importantly, 70% of Virginians support redistricting reform, according to a recent poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. 

The eyes of the nation are on Virginia. Without the constitutional amendment, the very next statehouse election, in 2021, could bring in a legislature that would reverse any mere laws. An amendment is the only vehicle strong enough to start real change and ensure fair elections. 

The League of Women Voters of Virginia stands up for voters. 

The League fully supports SJ 18 and HJ 71. 

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Jan 12, 2020 Action Alert: Fair Redistricting, No Excuse Absentee Voting, & Gun Violence Prevention

Virginia’s legislative session is underway! Contact your lawmakers now to support fair redistricting, no excuse absentee voting, and gun violence prevention. You can modify your message before sending.

To review the bills: 

🔸 Fair redistricting        SJ 18, SB 203, 204 / HJ 71, HB 758

🔸 No excuse absentee voting  SB 45, 111, 879 / HB 1, 25, 27

🔸 Gun violence prevention     SB 70 , 240 / HB 2, 674

For more info: 

🔸 Redistricting

🔸 No Excuse Absentee Voting, p.4 

🔸 Gun Violence Prevention

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information and then email them a request to support these bills. Let them know you are a constituent, and your address. You can note points such as:

🔸 The fair redistricting amendment, SJ18 / HJ71, will finally give citizens a voice and add racial and ethnic fairness. 

– The guardrail bills, SB 203 & 204 / HB 758, make it even stronger. 

– Only an amendment can change the constitution. A law doesn’t have that power.

🔸 Voting is every citizen’s honor and responsibility. Being required to state an excuse for absentee voting deters voters. Please copatron and vote for no excuse absentee voting bills SB 45, 111, 859, 879 / HB 1, HB 25, HB 27.

🔸 We need common sense gun safety. Please especially cosponsor and vote for SB 70 / HB 2, for universal background checks, and SB240 / HB 674, extreme risk protection order / red flag legislation.

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Dec 30, 2019 Contact Your Legislators: Support Fair Redistricting

Now is the time to add your voice for the Equal Rights Amendment.

The League of Women Voters of the U.S. supports the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”), as set forth in this letter.

Please contact your lawmakers now for the ERA.

🔸 Virginia legislation: HJ 1, SJ 1, & SJ 5

🔸 Questions? See the U.S. League letter

🔸 Newly elected legislator? See “Special Cases” below

🔸 All others, click here to support the ERA

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information and then email them a request to support the ERA this session. Let them know you are a constituent, and your address. You can point out:

  • Virginia General Assembly bills for ratification of the ERA are HJ 1 and SJ 1.
  • 80% of Virginia’s registered voters support ratification, according to a poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy, https://cnu.edu/wasoncenter/surveys/2019-12-16/
  • The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee equal rights without discrimination based on sex. The Equal Rights Amendment will help ensure that the government discriminates based on sex only when it has compelling reasons. As stated by the American Bar Association, this will “assure that gender equality is recognized as a fundamental, irrevocable right protected by the highest law of the land.”
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Dec 17, 2019 Contact Your Legislators: Support Fair Redistricting

Contact Your Legislators: Support Fair Redistricting 

 

Fair elections are under threat, and all of us are needed at this moment in history. Please contact your lawmakers to support the redistricting amendment. You can click through here to send them a message you can modify before sending. 

 

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information. Then, email them a request to vote for the redistricting amendment this session. Let them know you are a constituent and your address. 

 

Talking points:

 

  • This amendment is the first time citizens will be on the redistricting commission. Only an amendment can change the constitutional provision that lawmakers (not citizens) draw districts. 

 

  • An amendment must be passed two years in a row, and this is the last chance to get one in place before 2021.

 

  • 70% of Virginians support the second passage of the redistricting reform amendment, according to a poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy, and Mason-Dixon Polling shows 72% of registered Virginia voters support the proposed amendment.
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Now is the Time for the Senate to Act on Gun Violence

From LWVUS:

Contact your Senators about life-saving legislation to end gun violence today!

Now is the time for us to act. Now is the time for us to make it clear to our members of Congress that saving lives from gun violence should be a priority. We cannot wait for the next mass shooting. We must act today. 

Take Action online at http://participate.lwv.org/c/10065/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=13753&utm_source=ActionAlert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=090919

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Pledge to be Counted!

From LWVUS:

April 1, 2020, marks the kickoff of the 2020 Census. This process of counting will ensure that the political power, health, and safety of every community is maintained or enhanced in the upcoming decade.

 
But communities that don’t get fully counted in 2020 will miss out for the next ten years. NOW is the time to get involved.
  
 
The Census counts. So do you. Pledge to be counted and to educate your community about the importance of the 2020 Census.
More information HERE.
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