Amendment #1 Passes at the Polls

Citizen-led, transparent process to replace current, broken system

Virginians voted Tuesday to establish a bipartisan and citizen-led redistricting commission, thwarting the practice of politicians picking their constituents.  

The Amendment, which took two years to bring to the voters, after having to pass two different sessions of the General Assembly, creates a redistricting commission rather than having maps drawn by the majority party. Districts will need to be drawn in accordance with strict requirements of federal and state laws that address racial and ethnic fairness and provide opportunities for racial and ethnic communities to elect candidates of their choice.

“Politicians have benefitted from a system where they picked their own districts for too long. The amendment provides for a citizen-led commission which will take redistricting out of backroom political maneuverings,” said Deb Wake, President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “All of the proceedings of this commission are open to the public and transparent, bringing much needed sunlight to the process. Thanks to Governor Northam for inserting enabling language so the process can start immediately.”

The League has been working for fair redistricting for many generations and will continue to work to make sure there is citizen involvement and oversight of the process. We support #PeoplePoweredFairMaps.

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Commending Governor Northam on Voter Protection Proposals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2020
Richmond, VA

EMPOWERING VOTERS. DEFENDING DEMOCRACY.

Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam made recommendations aimed at supporting the health and safety of voters and poll workers during the pandemic.

“We commend the Governor on his elections proposals and urge the General Assembly to adopt them,” said Deb Wake, president of League of Women Voters of Virginia. “Voters should not need to choose between their health and their right to vote, a cornerstone of our democracy. Secure and flexible access to voting will preserve public health and safety.”

The governor’s plan to permit voters to deposit their absentee ballots in secure drop boxes will preserve voter health. More than 30 states now permit voters to deposit their ballots in strong, tamperproof drop boxes. 

The League also supports the governor’s proposal for prepaid return postage on absentee ballots, and budget provisions that will enable absentee voters to correct errors on their ballots. These recommendations will help ensure that all voters can make their voices heard at the polls.

The League of Women Voters of Virginia strongly supports these important measures for access to voting and urges the General Assembly to adopt them. 

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The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 when U.S. women won the right to vote.  We work to encourage informed and active participation in government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.  The League is dedicated to empowering voters and defending democracy.  We are proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.

For more information, visit the League of Women Voters of Virginia at lwv-va.org and on social media @lwvva and @leagueofwomenvoters.

Copyright © 2020 League of Women Voters of Virginia. All rights reserved.
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Happy Juneteenth!

The League of Women Voters of Virginia formally celebrates and acknowledges June 19th as Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day– the oldest-known annual celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when the news finally reached African Americans in Gavelston, Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves living in Confederate states two years earlier. When Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to bring the news that slavery had been abolished, former slaves celebrated, and thus Juneteenth was born.

Earlier this week, Governor Ralph Northam proposed making Juneteenth an official state holiday beginning this year. We acknowledge our state’s confederate history and current climate of systemic injustice and discrimination. It is therefore vital we elevate awareness of this important piece of African American history as we continue to come to terms with the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other black lives lost to anti-blackness and racial violence in America.

As we pay tribute today, we acknowledge the many roles and contributions of the African American spirit to the League and generally to our society, the countless supporters, organizers, and attendees of Juneteenth celebrations hosted all across this nation and beyond. You are writing the history of our country and our world – there can be no greater honor than that. We thank you.

As an organization whose mission is to empower voters, encourage political responsibility and defend democracy, we  stand in solidarity with Black communities. and support protesters across our country who are currently fighting for widespread police reform in response to the pandemic of disproportionate police brutality on black and brown communities. We stand behind the demand for increased funding of healthcare, education, and housing in such communities. The League will show our solidarity, not only by speaking out against racism in all forms, but by doing the work and advocacy required of us to be anti-racist.

Today is a day for celebration, education, and correction. We will take it as such, and ask all members to do the same. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we begin to effect significant and lasting improvements in our society. Examine how you can be an ally on this day. The voting rights advocacy community must not stay silent in the face of systemic injustice. We must act and speak in solidarity with the Black community and the movement for Black Lives. Fighting for an educated, just future for all Americans includes speaking up for a just, nondiscriminatory, participatory democracy without system race-based outcomes and violence. Being silent is not an option. Black lives matter today, and every day. Happy Juneteenth.

We thank Amir Methvin, LWV-VA intern and member, for her invaluable contribution in writing this statement.

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LWV-VA Stands with All Those Who Grieve the Loss of George Floyd

Press Release: “

LWV-VA Stands with All Those Who Grieve the Loss of George Floyd

The League of Women Voters of Virginia stands with millions of Americans in grieving the senseless murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and countless other Black lives at the hands of law enforcement officers. These past few weeks have served as a stark reminder of this country’s pervasive systems of oppression and inequality. It’s also worth noting that these protests come in the midst of a pandemic that is affecting African-American communities at a drastically disproportionate rate. 

 

Read the full release here: https://mailchi.mp/lwv-va/lwv-va-stands-with-protestors-2900137?e=570653d714

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