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Voter Newsletter - Spring 2023

Updated: May 25, 2023

TABLE OF CONTENTS


PRESIDENT’S REPORT


Dear LWVOR Members and supporters,


This is my last President’s column for The VOTER. I will complete my second 2-year term this May at our Convention in Eugene. I hope you can join us in-person, our first membership-wide convening since our Centennial Celebration lunch on March 7th, 2020.

Our future looks bright! No one asks any more if we are relevant. Come to the Convention to meet each other, for training workshops, and to hear our exceptional speakers. Come and meet our powerful slate of Officers and Directors. Meet your “lateral communication” networks in person! I look forward to seeing you!

Our stormy political climate is now much more challenging. MDM, for Mis-, Dis-, and Mal- Information poses a serious threat to our democracy, as we anticipated in our Privacy and Cybersecurity work. Powerfully manipulative AI, artificial Intelligence, is with us on uncertain terms and may further destabilize our political landscape, thinking here of ChatGPT and Google Bard. This is one reason for our Convention theme, Free Press and the Survival of Democracy. When I began as President, I didn’t foresee the SCOTUS Dobbs decision and didn’t expect to be defending our overwhelmingly successful automatic voter registration, Oregon’s #MotorVoter.

Now we have grown considerably:

  • Our YO! Youth Outreach is not just promising but already hard at work building a Youth Council, supporting and extending our Student Mock Elections.

  • The Action Committee had five stalwarts when I began on the board as Secretary in June 2011. Now we convene year-round with a network of 30 advocates.

  • Voter Service has grown with virtual outreach, newly adding Vote411.org to this odd-election year, still needing a Chair.

  • Program / Study coverage is under strong leadership.

  • The Membership /HR/ and MLD hats worn by one board member ably have been shared. Our Nominating Committee has stepped up to the “lateral communication” that is strengthening most of our work, from local League Leaders to Treasurers.

  • The LWVOR Nominating Committee Task Force is bringing together voices from across Oregon, with LWVOR Membership guidance.

What an intense time this has been. We may find that *human induced climate disruption* has played a part in the COVID pandemic that has both separated us and brought us together virtually. Drought, wildfires, and floods were with us before, but not to this extent. The February “polar vortex”, as I write this, is a recent addition to my lexicon. Our work is more needed than ever! Thank you for helping!

Please subscribe and manage your preferences to League communications.

Thanks to Office Manager, Abigail Hertzler, for covering as this edition’s VOTER Editor.


And Thank You to all of you for carrying part of our League efforts!



FIRST CALL TO CONVENTION 2023


CONVENTION


Is the biennial State Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Oregon, alternating years with the State Council. First Call is issued so that local Leagues can plan and discuss matters that will be presented at the convention.

TIME & PLACE


The 2023 State Convention will be held Friday through Sunday, May 19-21, 2023 in Eugene, OR at The Graduate Hotel.

HOSTS


League of Women Voters of Lane County

PURPOSE


The convention shall consider changes to the Bylaws; shall consider and authorize for action a program; shall elect the president, first vice-president, secretary, three directors (two-year terms), and a chair and two members of the nominating committee; shall adopt a budget for the ensuing year; and shall transact such other business as may be presented.


DELEGATES

The convention shall consist of the LWVOR Board of Directors and delegates chosen by members of local Leagues. Each local League shall be entitled to two delegates for the first 40 members or fewer. If possible, one local League delegate should be the President. An additional delegate is allowed for every 20 additional members or major fraction (10 or more) belonging to the local League as of January 31, 2023. Each approved State Unit of members-at-large (MALs) shall be entitled to one delegate. For those MAL’s not in an approved unit, MAL representation at convention shall be one delegate for every 20 MALs or major fraction (10 or more) thereof. If there are fewer than 10 MALs, the interest of the MALs shall be represented by the LWVOR Membership Chair.

OBSERVERS


Any member of the LWVOR (in a local League, a State Unit, or as a general MAL) may attend as an observer. Observers may not vote, but may, upon recognition of the Chair, have the privilege of the floor. All League members are urged to exercise this privilege, and members are encouraged to register as observers.

BASIC COSTS


Registration fees will be announced in the next update.

Hotel reservations can be made online or by phone:




YO! YOUTH OUTREACH AND YOUTH COUNCIL



WELCOME CHRIS WALKER | LWV of OREGON YOUTH LIAISON


We warmly welcome Chris Walker, a sophomore Legislative Scholar at the University of Oregon studying public policy, political science and business management as a LWVOR Member At Large. On Friday, February 10th, he was appointed to a ground-breaking role as a strong, influential voice for the Board as the League of Women Voters of Oregon Youth Liaison. Chris feels a definite stake in the commitment of our state and local Leagues to encourage youth leadership, and is mentoring a new LWVOR Youth Council inviting youth across Oregon to get connected and involved by emailing him at youthcrew@lwvor.org or messaging on their Instagram at @lwvoryouthcouncil



WELCOME CELINE IOFFE | LWV OF OREGON YOUTH COUNCIL


Celine is a high school junior in Portland and LWV Washington County member who is passionate about reproductive justice and our legal system. She is actively involved in Columbia Willamette Teen Council, a peer education and leadership program where members learn medically accurate and inclusive sexual health information, lead classroom presentations and organize events in schools and their communities around sexual health awareness. Celine interned for a DUI and domestic violence law firm last summer, and plans to attend university and law school after graduating in summer of 2024. She will lead a diverse team of Youth Council members to build effective power in their communities to achieve their goals.

Spring Special District Elections will be here before we know it. OSME Committee will be offering to customize mock ballots and share supportive materials for any League who wants to offer to their local students. LWVPDX Voter Service Committee Chris Cobey and Mimi Alkire will be trying a new League Neighborhood School Partner program with already designed quarter-sheet postcards with space to add local League contact information. They can share with local Leagues to drop off with key administrative personnel at each school. We view this as a relationship-building connection to strengthen into the 2024 primary and general elections. Please check out the free civic ed curriculum and the mock election webpage at lwvor.org/mock-election and email mockelection@lwvor.org

Mimi Alkire, Diana DeMaria and Chris Cobey attended the PNW Junior State of America Winter Congress on Sunday, February 5, 2023 to present LWVOR's 2023 launch of Youth Council to impressive young high school civic leaders from all over Washington and Oregon. We invite any League members interested in Youth Outreach to attend Weekly Wed 8am YO Mtg Link as we are still building our outreach plan, content and contact list to share our expanding resource. Drop by anytime! If not able to attend, please email to connect.


LWV of OREGON YOUTH OUTREACH | youthoutreach@lwvor.org

OREGON STUDENT MOCK ELECTION (OSME) | mockelection@lwvor.org



VOTER SERVICE NEWS


General Election 2022


The 2022 midterm election is generally considered a win for democracy in the U.S., and Voter Service volunteers around the state can justifiably feel they were responsible for some of that in Oregon. Nearly 31,000 Oregon voters accessed Vote411 for candidate information, and 25,000 of them received a printed Voter's Guide. Local leagues are increasingly using online technology to inform voters. At least five local leagues produced one-on-one interviews with candidates, available on YouTube and posted to Vote411 and league websites. Candidate forums were also available online for an extended time during the election season.


Our long history of giving voters candidates' answers to unbiased questions about important issues continues to pay off in better government for all of us!


Special District Election 2023


Odd-numbered election years are often overlooked but School District and Special District Elections that happen in the spring of odd-numbered years elect people to oversee the services and infrastructure that are closest to our everyday lives.


These are directors (members of the Boards of Directors) of school districts, fire and emergency services districts, water and public utility districts, park and recreation districts and many more, from Port Districts overseeing multi-million-dollar budgets to tiny road districts serving a few families. They are not part of state, county, or city government, although they are audited by the Secretary of State and must "follow state laws for public meetings, public records, public contracting, bonded debt, and elections"[i].


Not all special districts have elected directors. Some are appointed. The County Commission may serve as the Board in some cases (but the District remains separate from the County). Importantly, almost none of the positions are paid. It's fascinating to me that so much of the business of governments is done by volunteers!


The challenge for Voter Service in covering the election of these directors is that, because almost all the positions are unpaid, almost all candidates run unopposed and are not interested in our help in mediating between them and the electorate. Some of the positions, however, particularly for school boards, are becoming more contentious in today's partisan climate. Local league Voter Service leaders have decided that local leagues will decide which local district races will be covered in Vote411 for the May election, although we will make an attempt to cover all school districts throughout the state.


[i] "What is a Special District", Special District Association of Oregon, www.sdao.com, accessed 2-26-23.


NOMINATING COMMITTEE


Your state nominating committee still has LWVOR Board vacancies to fill for this May’s Convention. Please let us know if you are ready to serve or have suggestions for potential nominees. diana.bodtker@gmail.com or medleylj@gmail.com.


On February 23 there was a meeting for local League representatives discussing successes and challenges in the nominating process. It was a very productive and fun meet up.


Another meeting will occur in March. Come join in and see what you missed. Watch for a Doodle poll to choose a date and time.


ANNOUNCEMENTS


Caring for Our Children

March 22, 7:00pm

Join us for a webinar on the state of child care in Oregon! The topics will include: Why affordable, quality child care is critical for Oregon; challenges and successes of childcare providers; and a report from the nascent Oregon Department of Early Learning and Childcare. Our moderator will be Terry Styner from the League of Women Voters.

We are looking forward to an informative panel discussion from our knowledgeable speakers:


  • Martha Brooks, Oregon State Director, Western Region States Regional Director, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and ReadyNation, Council for a Strong America

  • Julie Hurley, Co-Leader of the Child Care Coalition, Douglas County and Executive Director Early Learning, Douglas ESD and Heather Freilinger, Co-Leader of the Child Care Coalition, Douglas County | Program Coordinator Douglas ESD | Care Connections and Education Program

  • David Mandell, Chief of Policy & Research, Early Learning Division, Oregon Department of Education

  • State Legislator TBD


PROGRAM PLANNING 2022




As the LWVOR recently appointed Study Chair, I’m sharing my plan to bring our attention to what causes our league heart …to beat. Our interest in issues leads to League Study which results in writing our positions on issues, ultimately leading to ACTION and ADVOCACY. In the past, the League has encouraged our members to write and present a Study because this is the only way to create issue positions and, thus, the only way we may take action with ONE VOICE!


League members pledged 103 years ago to participate in government and defend democracy and to do so ONLY with accurate, balanced, shared, and nonpartisan understanding. That understanding comes from Study that was created by and shared with league members, and with our community and public policy makers in our government.


How does Study begin? A local League(s) will identify an issue or topic that is or will be addressed by the government through the creation of public policy, action, or legislation. A study committee forms with a designated leader. A title is declared, a time frame committed to, and ultimately, presentation, and approval for Study by their Board.


Once a Study is completed, consensus from members is given, and positions are created, it is archived and reviewed annually, usually in January. These Studies and their positions are neatly stored and accessible on our websites as tools for us to use when taking Action or Advocacy. Local, State, and National Leagues have created Studies and positions.


Let’s pause here to recognize that our interests in a particular issue by League individuals or as a group could also result in a white paper or a discussion group or a public forum. We recognize the truth that our eyes, ears, hearts, and brains may hunger for information, yet not always with the ultimate goal being…STUDY. The League encourages interest in various topics and interests, recognizing that the end goal may not be a Study.


Study will be an important topic during our LWVOR Convention, May 19-21st. Read the studies and concurrence to be presented to our league delegates on the Convention tab on our website.


Please contact me by email or phone if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Annie Goldner

LWVOR Interim Study Chair

541-389-9660




DEVELOPMENT UPDATE



We are most grateful for the generous donations we received in January of this year: $1,000 from the Dicentra Fund of Oregon Community Foundation, and $5,000 from Norman Turrill, former president of LWVOR, and one who has a vast understanding of the needs and potential of our League. Thank you!


Our outstanding staff is a most important part of our budget, and we could not function as a state League without their availability and professional skills. There are multiple ways you can help sustain the LWVOR operational costs.


  • Convenient monthly giving through your bank’s auto-pay

  • A charitable contribution from your IRA to benefit the LWVOR - tax neutral!

  • A donation in honor or memory of a loved one

  • A bequest to our League - please consult an attorney or estate planning professional

  • Consider legacy giving to build our endowment for increased annual returns


Our Youth Outreach (YO) committee is working with Development to apply for a Community Challenge Grant from AARP to enhance civic engagement. Our proposal will be a short-term project in which our Youth Council and senior-aged League members will form a team for an essay-writing contest to be held this fall in selected districts across Oregon. The program is designed to foster intergenerational communication and help amplify the voices of our youth on issues affecting their communities and their future.


Jackie Clary, Freddi Weishahn LWVOR Development


IN MEMORIAM




Marion-Polk welcomed Willie Richardson as a new member of the League of Women Voters in October.


From the Statesman Journal:

Willie Richardson, a champion for minority education and respected voice for racial equality in Salem for more than four decades, has died. She was 74.

Service arrangements are pending. The family told the Statesman Journal it will be open to the public.

Richardson in 1987 was the first Black person elected to the Salem-Keizer school board and is the past president of Oregon Black Pioneers, whose board and staff posted condolences on Facebook:

"Willie's immeasurable impact on the organization, the city of Salem, and the state of Oregon will be felt for many generations."

Salem Art Association also posted condolences and celebrated Richardson's impact on its organization.






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