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Voter Newsletter - Summer 2023

TABLE OF CONTENTS



PRESIDENT’S REPORT


By Alice Bartelt, LWVOR President


It is my pleasure to serve as the President of a very active organization. What is important to me is that the board represents most parts of the state and that they have various League experiences. The Nominating Committee did a great job of recruiting board members. At the convention in Eugene, the members voted to allow flexibility in sharing offices. Even though I am serving as president, I will be sharing some duties with the First and Second Vice Presidents. Leadership in the League is much work, but we in Oregon know that training for our leaders is essential. We are hopeful that anyone looking to lead a local league or to serve on the state board will be rewarded in the successes that we have every day.


I want to give you a little bit of background about myself. I have served as president for several state-wide organizations, including the American Association of University Women, Oregon NARAL, International Training in Communication, and the Oregon Association of Parliamentarians. I am a retired attorney. Since I retired in 2007, I have become a volunteer in a number of organizations, including the Oregon League. I joined the League in 2008 and have served for most of the time since 2009 as Action Chair. Because of my work on Action, I have not been as involved with other aspects of the League. But I will learn as I go along. I look forward to serving as your President, with assistance from the board.



ACTION COMMITTEE REPORT


By Becky Gladstone, Action Chair


The LWVOR Action committee followed the contentious 2023 Oregon legislative session, stymied by the minority party senators’ walkout from May 3 to June 15, 2023, and limited building access for continuing seismic construction—completion now forecast for 2025. Most of our efforts were influential for the many bills we supported or opposed, so overall it was a surprisingly successful, though not positive, session for us. We worked with coalitions, posted Action Alerts in our Newsroom, and sent weekly legislative summary emails, backed up by extensive Legislative Reports (LR). Meanwhile, our active initiative petition work continues for campaign finance reform and redistricting. We are getting requests to work with others, including preliminary research into defining legislative quorums. Subscribe and watch for our final Sine Die LR after session completion, with the Governor signing or vetoing the session bills in early August.


End-of-session rumors swirled as information was not shared for purported weekend leadership meetings, partisan bill lists for negotiation, interpreting consequences for Legislators’ absenteeism, and scheduling special sessions, with failure imminent for agency budget bills. Public access was absent and it seemed that many bills were likely to die with too little time for procedural requirements, which could include returning amended bills to the House for concurrence with subsequent amendments.


The walkout delayed Senate floor hearings for probably hundreds of policy and budget bills across all issue portfolios, including many of the 160+ issues we testified to. Some Senators’ unexcused absences, to prevent assembly of the minimum quorum required to vote, were intended to prevent otherwise likely majority passage of legislation for reproductive and/or gender affirming health care and gun safety bills. As the end of session was declared imminent, advance public meeting notice periods shrank and sometimes were omitted.


The Action Chair position has changed from Alice Bartelt, newly elected LWVOR President, to Becky Gladstone, LWVOR past President. We will meet this summer to celebrate our successes and to face our issue and leadership gaps, looking to reorganize. Watch for a roster of issues that need volunteer support, especially from organizers who can support our volunteers and issue experts. We are planning for a summer Action Retreat, a Legislative Process Day in the fall, and Day at the Legislature in spring of 2024. For information, please write to Becky Gladstone, b.gladstone@lwvor.org.




DEVELOPMENT UPDATE


By Jackie Clary and Freddi Weishahn, Development Co-Chairs


The LWVOR received the Carol and Velma Saling Foundation grant for $50,000 on May 24, 2023, for our essential work providing Oregonians across the state with trusted, non-partisan voter information and civic education. The Saling Foundation has been a stalwart supporter of LWVOR, and we are deeply grateful.


We were also awarded the Oregon Humanities Public Program Grant for $8,152 on June 6, 2023, for our Youth Outreach to encourage civic engagement among young voters in rural, urban, and marginalized communities across Oregon. Our non-partisan Youth Council, joining efforts with LWVOR, will engage in online and in-person training and mentoring to create an accessible and equitable path for youth to civic education and engagement. Their peer outreach workshop at our LWVOR State Convention, May 20, 2023, was inspiring! Watch for news of their Youth Voter Summit, planned for January 19th, 2024.


LWVOR YOUTH COUNCIL PERSPECTIVE


By Celine Ioffe, Youth Council President


Youth Council President Celine Ioffe met with Dr. Deborah Turner, LWVUS President, at LWVUS Council.

I have always believed perspective is everything and the national perspective I gained attending LWVUS Council in Las Vegas last weekend is exciting for all present and future young League of Women Voters members. In all my conversations, whether it be with a member of the Colorado League or a member of the National Board, there was not a single person who wasn’t deeply interested in learning how to involve and create more opportunities for youth within the League.


Attending Council also made me aware of the many different youth involvement projects across the League nationally, including several college campus chapters, Maine’s youth internship program, and more. This made me realize there is no one direct youth pipeline into the League, which makes it difficult for youth in certain areas to get involved.


Connecting and following up in the weeks ahead with as many state Leagues as we can and offering collaboration, support, and sharing of resources for their own Youth Councils in their state or local League was my goal for the weekend.


Representing my other nine LWVOR Youth Council members at a national Council in Las Vegas as a 17-year-old, only six months into my work with the League, was one of the most growing and grounding experiences I’ve had. I was able to gather diverse League perspectives from practically every state and met so many incredible and inspirational people. I am so thankful to the League for giving me this opportunity, for my other two Oregon attendees, Diana DeMaria and Jackie Clary, for being so supportive and helpful the many times I needed it, and for the kindness of LWVUS President Dr. Deborah Turner and LWVUS CEO Virginia Kase Solomon to include and devote valuable time to one of their newest League members at such a busy event. I am motivated and excited to expand the future of Oregon’s Youth Council and the growth of youth involvement in our local Leagues and beyond.



2024 OREGON STUDENT MOCK ELECTION (OSME)


By Mimi Alkire, State Board Secretary


In the November 2022 General Election, LWVOR hosted the first statewide student mock election since 2012. For that mock election, nearly 5,000 students were registered to vote by 38 educators from 21 different cities/towns, representing 15 counties from every corner of the state. However, because of the formidable firewalls around urban school district emails, we were only able to get a response from exactly one (1!) Portland Public Schools educator and only a handful of educators from other large urban districts.


So, to try to make headway in the Portland area, LWVPDX hosted a Multnomah County student mock election in May 2023. PDX volunteers contacted or visited their neighborhood middle and high schools to deliver information about the 2023 student mock election. That effort brought us active contact information for 64 local educators! These come from 13 middle and 14 high schools in the Portland metro area. They include both public and private schools. We hope to replicate that process in other leagues around the state for 2024.


In May 2023, students in Multnomah County voted on Measure 26-238 (Tenant Eviction Representation) and Portland City Measure 26-240 (Children’s Levy). Many of the 2023 contacts were unable to participate in the spring county election but expressed interest in the 2024 statewide mock election. Although we had a small turnout, we count this as a success in collecting contact information for 2024. Reports and feedback from 2023 participating teachers were positive and helpful.


Mock ballots are always accompanied by instructions and an optional lesson plan with many ideas and resources for teachers to use in preparing their students to vote. For the 2024 primary we plan to provide two lesson plans for teachers to use all or parts of:






1. A lesson plan addressing Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV). This one will answer the questions: What is ranked-choice-voting and how does it work? It would be appropriate for social studies classes but is also geared toward math classes.


2. A lesson plan addressing the Parties and Primaries in Oregon. This one will answer the questions: What are the political parties of Oregon and what do they believe? What is a closed primary and why do we have one?


The OSME Committee would love your input as we prepare for the upcoming primary election. If you have comments, questions, ideas, or would like to join the OSME team, please contact Mimi Alkire (mimi.alkire@gmail.com), Chris Cobey (VoterService@lwvpdx.org), and/or Diana DeMaria (YouthOutreach@lwvor.org).


REGISTER YOUR MEMBER ACCOUNT ON OUR NEW AND IMPROVED WEBSITE!



The new website was designed with members and the public in mind. Please take a few moments to explore the new format and let us know what you think.


A few highlights:


• Members-only section featuring an interactive forum (register and sign in to view)

• Improved Legislative Report and Study accessibility

• In development: An extensive Knowledge Base featuring toolkits and tutorials for, DEIJ, Voter Services, New Members, and commonly used digital services such as Google products, Zoom, Canva, and more! Login to view.


PLEASE NOTE: You will need to re-register your account on the website to log in and view the members-only section. After logging in, click on the profile icon to see the dropdown list for members only. Feel free to contact us at media@lwvor.org if you have any questions.



LWVOR CONVENTION 2023

By LWVOR Staff


After years of remote meetings to keep each other safe in a pandemic, League members gathered in-person once again for the LWVOR Convention in Eugene, OR. Laughs, hugs, smiles, and handshakes were shared in the lobby of the Eugene Graduate Hotel, as the oversized University of Oregon duck statue overlooked the reunion of League members coming together for the first time at a Convention since 2020.


LWVOR Bylaws dictate that every other year, delegates and observers from the majority of Leagues across the state come together to approve bylaws updates, discuss the budget, approve potential study topics, and vote in new Board members. It was also a time of meeting those who may only have been seen on a Zoom screen. Some League members chuckled as they met their tall colleagues for the first time, commenting that virtual meetings make for deceptive perceptions of height.

The weekend kicked off with a tour of the Shelton-McMurphy house, a historical landmark of the Eugene community. League members then gathered for the tradition of the “dine-around,” where groups gathered at well-reviewed restaurants recommended by the Lane League host, enjoying the chance to explore downtown Eugene.


Saturday marked the beginning of the business proceedings of the League Convention, where Becky Gladstone, outgoing LWVOR president, conducted a program that addressed some of the key foundations upon which the League operates. Reports were presented from several committees, including Nominating, Budget, and Program, while an energetic

discussion ensued from delegates and observers on several clarifying points. A midmorning business intermission saw Representative Nancy Nathanson making an informative, stirring presentation about her work in the Oregon Legislature. The Saturday morning program concluded with lunch speaker Regina Lawrence, who spoke eloquently on the timely, critical topic of local journalism in Oregon.


Four workshops followed the Saturday business program, including Youth Council members introducing themselves and sharing their goals for the newly-formed committee, a panel discussion of the First Amendment, a Nominating Committee task force presentation, and an update of LWVUS activities relating to climate change. Saturday ended with Pulitzer finalist Les Zaitz offering a moving and forthright presentation on the importance of truth in journalism and the role of news writers in furthering fact-centered reporting.


The Sunday business meeting wrapped up the Convention with votes by delegates on the budget, proposal of studies, and more. League members passed by the silent auction tables for last-minute bids, coffee mugs in hand.


The newly-designed LWVOR banner served as a backdrop for group photos for local League members, our renowned Action committee members, and the outgoing and incoming Board members. Becky Gladstone, passing the gavel after four years of exemplary leadership, smiled as she pulled on her Youth Council beanie and held up her commemoration plaque. The League leadership then passed into the highly capable hands of our esteemed parliamentarian, Alice Bartelt.


The LWVOR Convention ended the same way it began: With handshakes, hugs, smiles, and a renewed sense of commitment to the League principles and mission. League members have adapted swiftly over the past few years to achieve greatness in unprecedented times, defending democracy across the state and in their communities through one challenge after another. While political perils of great magnitude persist, the attitude at the 2023 Convention was one of hope. Together, League members have faced down adversity across the decades in their fight for democracy, and that spirit was evident in the passionate discussions and resolute perspectives. As Les Zaitz concluded in his rousing speech on the importance of fighting for truth: “There is one step that you and I have to take, and that is to not give up.”

IN MEMORIAM


In June, the League of Women Voters of Oregon mourned the passing of the esteemed Norma Jean Germond. Norma Jean was an active

member of both her local Clackamas League and the state League, where she served as President from 1979-1983.


Her influential volunteer work included stints at several organizations, including as the chair of the LWV Columbia River Task Force, member of National Board of Association of Community College Trustees, chair of the Oregon State Advisory Committee on Adult Education and Literacy, president of the board of the Association of Environmental Education Centers at Clackamas Community College, first chair and founder of the Northwest Conservation Act Coalition (now NW Energy Coalition), and elected to Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition Board. Germond was honored with a Distinguished Service Award at the LWVOR Century Celebration in 2020 for her volunteer work.







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