Making Democracy Work

Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

3 Election Forums on 2 Nights

Niles Mayoral Candidates Debate

The Riverwood Luncheon

Our speaker at Coach's Restaurant, 2528 Glenlord Rd, Stevensville, at Noon on Sept 14, 2016, will be Rick Compton, CEO of Riverwood Center. He will give an overview of their services, different populations they serve, how their services can be accessed, how their board works. He will bring his clinical director for those who wish to ask clinical questions.

INSPIRING HOPE, IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH, AND ENCOURAGING RECOVERY ...EVERY DAY! Riverwood Center has been delivering quality mental health services and programs since 1975 when large state institutions closed their doors. Over 150 people from Berrien County are seen at their offices. Lakeland Hospital Mental Health Center refers patients to Riverwood.

Integrated Healthcare Integrated healthcare means the Center believes your mental health is closely tied to your physical health. If you receive mental health services, Riverwood Center will work with your primary care doctor to coordinate your physical and mental health services.

Riverwood Center is accredited by the Commission of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). It is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes the quality, value, and good results of mental health services that enhance people's lives.

Riverwood is a valuable resource to anyone suffering from any form of mental illness including depression and drug addiction.

All are invited to attend what promises to be a very inspiring and informative luncheon.

From the Detroit News: Michigan's straight-ticket fight echoes national debate

Jonathan Oosting, Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Michigan's high-stakes battle over straight-ticket voting echoes a national fight over new laws critics argue could disenfranchise minorities and affect the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Much of the national debate centers on strict voter identification laws backed by Republicans as a means to curb election fraud. Federal courts recently struck down strict ID and other voting rules in North Carolina and Texas. An appeals court last week reinstated a Wisconsin version.

The North Carolina law "required in-person voters to show certain photo IDs, beginning in 2016, which African-Americans disproportionately lacked, and eliminated or reduced registration and voting access tools that African Americans disproportionately used," a three-judge appeals court panel of all Democratic appointees ruled in July.

Democrats and allies have pushed legal challenges to new voting rules in several states they say could limit participation by minority voters more likely to support presidential nominee Hillary Clinton than Republican businessman Donald Trump.

Click here for the complete story. The following article contains external links which may lead to websites over which LWVBCC has no control regarding content, advertising, etc.

Voting rights in the U.S.

A federal appeals court has ruled that Texas' voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, violates the Voting Rights Act. Voting rights advocates are praising the decision as a significant victory. It was the fourth time in nearly four years that a federal court found that the Texas law discriminated against or disproportionately affected black and Hispanic voters.

Repair the Voting Rights Act

TAKE ACTION: Repair the Voting Rights Act
By: Chris Carson

We recently marked the three-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision to gut key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). We've had three years of bad laws that make voting harder in states all across the country. But there is a solution. Tell Congress to repair and modernize the Voting Rights Act TODAY!

The Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced to address the voting discrimination unleashed in the wake of the Shelby County v. Holder decision. Yet the legislation is being held up on both sides of Congress. It is an unfortunate fact that discrimination in voting against racial, ethnic and language minorities continues in America. This should be unacceptable in the greatest democracy in the world.

Add your voice! Tell your Senators and Representatives to move the Voting Rights Advancement Act forward.

Without congressional action to repair the VRA, 2016 will mark the first presidential election in 50 years without its full protections. Throughout the 2016 primaries we saw voters face a variety of obstacles, from reduced polling places, to long lines, to removal of registered voters from the rolls, and these challengers are just a canary in the coalmine for what's to come in November without the VRA's protections.

It's time we all call on our Senators and Representatives to take action and end voting discrimination in this country.

Annual Meeting for 2016 Pebblewood Country Club

The annual dinner held June 23 was enjoyed by all. Our honorees, Sara Bode, Fred Lighthall, Bonnie Pollack, Judy Scully, and Jean Sharp (absent), were surprised - pleasantly - with the accolades showered upon them for their many significant contributions to the League over the years.

Many of the "Fund Raising Ideas" slips distributed among the tables were returned. Ideas ranged from holding a raffle to another tour of Cook Nuclear. I'm sure more of you have additional ideas. Please let us know when anything occurs to you that may be of help to us in raising the funds we need to assure a balanced budget. I am happy to report that we did get one generous donation at the dinner. It's a start. You know who you are. Thank you!!

As part of our dinner program, we learned from member Fred Lighthall about the contents of and the time, energy and extraordinary efforts required in writing his newly-published book, "Disastrous High-tech Decision Making".

We also aeard from board members Liz Ennis and Barb Lackner about their experiences at the LWVUS convention in Washington, DC, earlier in June. And we elected Bette Pierman and Lorraine Stepanek to two-year terms on the board. Then we recognized continuing board members Dutton, Clapper, Ennis, Klawiter, Lackner, Ripley, Ristau and Zilke.

Schedule for the coming months:

Monday, July 11, 10:00 a.m.

League Book Club
Dark Money by Jane Mayer
Chris Zilke's house, 10726 Red Arrow Hwy., Bridgman
(S of the Bridgman I94 interchange - look for balloons on mailbox)

Tuesday, July 19, 1:00 p.m. Regular Board Meeting

Board meetings take place at the Lakewood Estate Club House
8000 Warren Woods Road. You do not need to be a board Member to attend.

Tuesday, August 16, 1:00 p.m. Regular Board Meeting

Watch for other important dates and events in the August newsletter.

Visit The Vickers Theater website for information on the upcoming showing of the movie "The True Cost." Admission is free to this showing.

John Rappaport, University of Chicago Assistant Professor of Law, Discusses U.S. Supreme Court Makeup and Workings on April 29

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in February, questions about the makeup and workings of that court came into sharp focus. John Rappaport, Assistant Professor of Law at University of Chicago, visited us to discuss "Our U.S. Supreme Court: Who they are, How they got there, What they do, and Why it matters" at a forum sponsored by our League on April 29. This forum is part of the LWV's nonpartisan education project. A question and answer period followed his presentation. You can see our event at .

John Rappaport clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is currently on the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School. His teaching and research interests include criminal procedure, criminal law, constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, and evidence.

Judges of the state court system in Michigan are elected by voters to specified terms. By contrast, judges of the federal courts, including the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, are not elected. Rather, they are nominated by the President and appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. Once appointed, they serve "during good behavior"--in effect, until they either die or resign.

In March, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacant position on the Supreme Court. Unless the pending nomination is approved by the current Senate, responsibility for filling that vacancy will rest with the President and Senators holding office next year. Consequently, the composition, duties, and role of the U.S. Supreme Court remain major issues in this election cycle.

The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. The LWV promotes an informed electorate by providing information at .


Liz Ennis, LWVBCC Board member, past president, and current Education Director of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, participated as a panelist in this local production by South Bend's Public Broadcasting station, WNIT, Sunday, Nov. 15. Liz made a superbly educational presentation not only about redistricting in Michigan but also about the League's mission, especially with regard to voter rights and other current issues citizens need to know about.

You can watch the 57-minute program by clicking here.

The panel included Liz Ennis, Brandon Smith, State News Reporter, Indiana Public Broadcasting, and Julia Vaughn, Policy Director, Common Cause of Indiana.

LWVBCC Newsletters

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