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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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)

DIRECTORS

Doris Bey (Richmond)

Janet Boyd (Arlington)

Carolyn Caywood (South Hampton Roads)

Denise Harrington (Williamsburg)

Andrianne Konstas-Salvette (Fairfax)

Natalie Miller-Moore (Williamsburg)

NOMINATING COMMITTEE

Mary Crutchfield, Chair (Richmond)

Chris DeRosa (Arlington)

Elizabeth Obenshain (Montgomery County)

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Racial Justice Resolution passed at LWVUS Convention, June 2020

URGENT RESOLUTION

RACIAL JUSTICE FOR BLACK PEOPLE AND PEOPLE OF COLOR

  1. Whereas, the deaths of George Floyd and countless other Black people have
    focused our nation’s attention on continuing structural and systemic racism in law
    enforcement and the justice system; and,
  2. Whereas, Black people and all historically marginalized people of color are
    disproportionately criminalized and targeted by excessive force and brutality by
    law enforcement; and,
    3. Whereas, delegates to the 2020 League of Women Voters (League) Convention
    are outraged by these injustices in law enforcement that unfairly target Black
    people and all people of color; and,
    4. Whereas, we have a crisis as a result of racism and socio-economic inequalities
    that have marginalized, discriminated against and harmed Black people and all
    people of color. Education, housing, employment, healthcare and every aspect
    of American life1 have been impacted; and,
    5. Whereas, the League acknowledges painfully that America is a nation founded
    on racism.2 We must work to end white privilege and dispel the myth of white
    supremacy if we are to become the nation we pledge3 to be; and,
    6. Whereas, the League commemorates the centennial of our organization and
    passage of the 19th Amendment, we recognize the courage, persistence and
    vision of our founding members. Yet, our past has been marred by racism and it
    is time to acknowledge this so that we can continue to work toward being
    Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive, (DEI)4; and,
    7. Whereas, the League believes in individual liberties, civil rights, human rights,
    and voting rights writ large; we defend democracy and oppose all threats to these
    constitutional rights5; therefore,
    8. We Resolve First, That the League advocates against systemic racism in the
    justice system and, at a minimum, to prevent excessive force and brutality by law
    enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to
    advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the
    harm that it causes; and,
    9. We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all
    Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black people and all
    people of color deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand
    solutions for the terrible wrongs done to Black people and all people of color
    across the nation so that, regardless of race, racial mixture, ethnicity, religion,
    disabilities, gender or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation
    “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

  1. May 29, 2020 LWVUS Response to Police Killing of George Floyd,
  2. Pledge of Allegiance
  3. See Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy,
  4. See LWVUS Position on Individual Liberties, Pgs. 7 & 31, Impact on Issues 2018-2020/Individual Liberties, 
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