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.
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.
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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.
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 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 http://www.lwvbcc.org/ 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 http://www.vote411.org/ .
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.
The 75-minute debate included introductory and concluding statements from the candidates, nine questions from the sponsors, and written questions from an audience estimated at about 80 citizens. Questions focused on leadership, Benton Harbor's future, cooperation between local businesses and city government, etc.
Thanks to League members Barb Lackner (left) and Melissa Clapper and NAACP members Larry Feldman and Charles Jennings for helping to organize and coordinate this event. The debate is now available via podcast online at WSJM.com. WSJM will also have a video news story in an upcoming edition of their Week in Review.
You may see his presentation --and questions that came from the audience -- on our YouTube video website. Click here to find his presentation once again made possible by video equipment purchased through the generosity of The Pokagon Fund.
You may also choose to see Mr. Gonzalez" PowerPoint presentation which is available by Clicking Here
In Michigan the district lines are drawn by the legislature, effectively allowing politicians to choose their voters, rather than the voters choosing their legislators. This system gives the political party in power at the time a tremendous advantage, but is this the best system for the voters?
Presented at the Berrien RESA Conference Center by Board Members Liz Ennis (see photo) and Melissa Clapper, our lively Town Hall explored central questions such as: What are the consequences of partisan drawn districts that favor one party over another? Is there a better and fairer way to do this? What are the alternatives?
Brian's methods provide learning experiences across the communications spectrum including reading, writing, speaking, and presenting. As he demonstrated his teaching methods it became obvious that by integrating all of the language arts, a learner would benefit from the overlap of experiences and reading would become easier. And with practice the meaning of language and its uses would continue to develop. Kissman has been training teachers in his methods and has seen success grow both here in the U.S. and Japan, Qatar, and Liberia to name only some. The members at the luncheon expressed their enthusiasm for Brian's program, bought several of his teaching books and hoped that his methods could be made known to more teachers and schools. The good news is that he intends to produce on-line programs of his "Phonics Things" and "Literacy Mats: The ABC'S of Literacy." You may learn more @ http://www.learnonpoint.com