Hello Oregon League members and friends,
**What does the state League DO for us??** 🡺 LWVOR State-Wide Convention! With only one month until the convention starts, we need you to commit to being there!! We will meet for the first statewide, in-person event we’ve held since our 100th Anniversary Centennial Celebration in Salem, March 7, 2020!
🡺 Be sure your leaders REGISTER your Delegation. Check with them to be a delegate! Read for more info on the May 19-21, 2023 LWVOR Convention, in Eugene, OR.
Your State Board is SO excited to welcome you to Convention 2023! Join us in-person and meet members from our local Leagues, Advocates, Voter Service Reps, our new Youth Council and students members, scholars, and our speakers!
Here’s an Overview:
LWVOR Convention Hotel Rooms: we have filled our initial room block and the hotel is expanding our initial discounted room allotment. Please make your hotel reservations ASAP so we can try to cover you with the discounted rate. Sooner is better! Details are on the LWVOR Convention page.
Convention delegation/ observer registration: League leaders are registering their delegations. Please check with yours to be sure you’re included. Registered League observers are welcome. To avert any possible confusion, double check with your local leaders to be sure you do get registered and don’t get double-booked. We are looking forward to seeing you in-person!
Silent Auction: Local Leagues, bring a Gift Basket to the LWVOR Convention, enter it in our traditional Silent Auction and take your top bid proceeds for your League! You’re Welcome!
Caucuses: use these caucusing opportunities; reach out now and network in advance. Be sure your fellow strategists know You Want to Meet! One group (the local and state Fund Raisers?) are having breakfast together early Saturday morning. We know that our MLD, and Nominating Committee Groups are planning to get together.! For the rest of you, network in advance for the “lateral communication” we keep talking about! Strategize for 2024!
LWVUS All- Members’ (short) SURVEY:
From Dr. Deb Turner, President, LWVUS (full letter):
Over the past few weeks, I have shared Transformation Journey updates and our current phase, Framing the Future. League voices are the foundation for this process, so we have assembled four core working groups and launched a League-wide membership experience survey. Thank you to the 7,000+ League members who have completed the survey! If you have not done so already, I encourage you to take our short survey and share it with your fellow League members.
It is crucial that we hear from everyone in our League community, because all your voices are critical to our transformational success. The survey closes Saturday, April 22. If you have already completed the survey, you still have time to share it with your League members and in your internal League communications. This link is not personalized to you: you can share or forward the link directly to other members. For more information, please visit www.lwv.org/framingthefuture. As we celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Week, I wanted to thank you for all that you do. I hope you take time this week to celebrate yourself! I am honored and proud to serve with you and power our democracy every day. –Dr. Turner, President, LWV (US)
As a special treat to yourself, read this inspiring report from our Coos County Voter Service Representative. Abigail, thank you!
Hi, Leaguers, from rural Coos!
In this area we have a very active political group called Citizens Restoring Liberty (CRL). Associated with a local evangelical church. CRL has promoted hyper-conservative issues for several years. They sent 14 to the January 6 demonstrations in Washington. It is not clear whether any participated in the subsequent attack on the Capitol.
In 2022 they started running members as candidates for local office and supporting other candidates. One was elected by a razor-thin margin as one of our three County Commissioners. They have also repeatedly sued our County Clerk over election issues, and they populate the Coos County Republican Party board of directors.
So I wanted to meet them! I approached the new Commissioner at a town hall and asked if he thought CRL would allow a League delegation to attend one of their meetings and give a presentation about the League and its programs. They eventually agreed and I went with Carol Ventgen, a past president and longtime Coos League member.
The Commissioner, I might add, bucked the trend last year by posting campaign info on Vote411 and participating in our candidate forum, afterward giving us mostly positive feedback. So I felt he was at least open to the League and willing to listen.
He gave us a very cordial welcome and the group followed his lead, applauding and praising us for “having the courage” to show up. Carol led with a brief League history and a discussion of our “two hats,” advocacy and voter service. We picked the most neutral studies we could as examples of the way the League deeply researches topics and then brings them to members for consensus before adopting a position or advocating. (They loved the Privacy and Cybersecurity study especially.)
We talked about Voter Service, detailing steps we take to make our forums as evenhanded as possible. The Commissioner backed this up. We talked about our current election efforts to reach many different groups to solicit candidate questions for our three League School Board forums. For instance, I was invited by the Democratic Party to a meeting to ask for question suggestions, so I immediately wrote to the Republican Party to do the same. When I didn’t get a response, I based some questions on a right-wing candidates’ campaign flyer I found and sent those to the Republican Party. I still got no responses, but some party officers were in the room when I talked about it. We stressed that the public is invited to submit questions. We talked about how our Voter Service programs are free publicity for cash-strapped local candidates, and how these programs serve our mission of promoting a well-informed and engaged electorate.
Then we went into how Vote411.org and the Voters’ Guides are assembled. One of the group’s lawsuits last year cited a “partisan voter guide” the County Clerk had put outside the Elections Office in the primary, naming the League’s Voters’ Guide. So we explained that Voters’ Guide text is the same as on Vote411.org, word-for-word what candidates supply to us, and the ONLY difference is that the Voters’ Guides have a shorter deadline, so if candidates don’t respond quickly, they get onto Vote411 but not into printed guides. We suggested that if candidates CRL is interested in don’t appear in these publications, it’s because those candidates chose not to post, not because we didn’t ask them—and if CRL members want to see more of their candidates represented on Vote411 and in our forums, they need to pressure them. And we told them how to get candidates contact info.
Then we asked if anyone wanted to join and opened it up to questions. Many questions were friendly or simply asking for more details or clearing up misunderstandings. One member had done his research on the League and pointed out that it was Republican women who were behind its founding as the primary women’s suffrage movers. (We added a pitch for the new Votes for Women board game.) A local right-wing radio personality was quite aggressive, detailing many National League positions as tracking with Democratic Party positions and demanding to know why conservatives should trust us if that’s the case. We agreed that both the national League and, to an extent, the state League lean left, but pointed out that the League is a grassroots organization, and choices are made by people who turn up in the room. (One of the most aggressive members of the group immediately stood up and asked for a membership form.) We were able to communicate a bit more about our process for reaching positions and the meaning of “nonpartisan,” using the Bucks County op-ed currently on the National League’s website (we’ve also put it on our website).
One thing they really disliked was our practice of screening forum audience questions. Carol did her best, pointing out that we try to combine similar questions to reduce repetition, we don’t allow slander or profanity, and we usually get far more questions than there is time to ask. But for a group that is into performative political direct action, that answer wasn’t entirely satisfying. The Commissioner spoke up again to say he thought the questions were fair and on important topics. (We mentioned that it didn’t do him any harm to participate in our programs, because he won.)
They tried to trap us into hot-button issue political discussions, especially “biological woman” and trans people in women’s sports questions. Sticking to the League’s “brand,” we said the League hadn’t studied women’s sports so we had no opinion, but maybe they could get back to us on in 3-5 years. We talked about ethical neutrality requirements for League leaders and noted that one Coos League board member resigned last year because she didn’t want to give up her partisan activity.
I don’t know if we changed any minds, but I do think we made it harder to demonize the League or to spread misinformation about us, and if we’re lucky it MIGHT get more candidates to participate in our programs. We received a thank-you note from the Commissioner.
It is exciting to be in the middle of our expanded Voter Service for the 2023 Oregon primary election season with many local races! Our Action Committee is meeting weekly during this intense, long legislative session. We’ve reviewed 147 proposals so far this session to speak to issues. Our Convention is coming together and you will be getting more frequent updates as we get closer.
Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week! Please accept my heartfelt thanks to all of you for contributing to our efforts to defend democracy! I truly hope to see you at Convention, Thank you!