Focus on a Local League: Baltimore City

Baltimore City League: Focused on Youth Voter Registration

Voter Registration: The Baltimore City League wanted to prioritize high school voter registration and voting this year. A grant from the LWV Education Fund (LWVEF) has provided an additional incentive. To help us identify schools that might be underserved in voter registration, we contacted League member, Julia Baez, Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise (a collaborative for youth programs). She helped us work with the Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Family and Community Engagement which put us in contact with Community School Coordinators in five high schools—Ben Franklin, Patterson, Frederick Douglass, Reginal Lewis, and Western. We will also return to Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) where we have been registering voters around National Voter Registration Day.

 

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Presidents' Letter: Many Ways to Engage

During the past few weeks I have had the privilege of testifying before the 2018 Maryland General Assembly Session on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Maryland. Nancy Soreng, former LWVMD President, and I have testified on several election bills and will be testifying on more as the session evolves. It is interesting to note how little in-person support, either pro or con, these bills receive. It seems that the League of Women Voters is one of the few go-to organizations that legislators count on to speak to the important topic of election and voting reform.

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Beware the Ides of March

March 15th is rapidly approaching. All consensus study reports for our PRIMARY ELECTION study must be in by March 15th. At this point only one local League report has been received. Hopefully your League has scheduled a date for your consensus meeting. All material needed for the study are on the Primary Study webpage here.

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Focus on a Local League: Mid-Shore

Talbot Co SealMid-Shore League: Streamlined and Moving Forward!

The Mid-Shore League has been incorporated since 1968, first as the League of Women Voters of Talbot County, and now as the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Shore. The name change came about after we expanded our membership to include two neighboring counties, Caroline and Dorchester. This expansion has increased our reach while at the same time presenting several challenges.

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President's Letter - Making Democracy Work

“Making Democracy Work” is all about process, not about “ends.” I came to this realization as I considered today’s topsy-turvy political climate. Those in power seem to believe that the ends justify the means. Else, why would anyone believe that limiting the number of people able to vote in our democracy would produce a better final result? 

 

2017-19 LWVMD Presidents

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Meet the Young Professional Policy Volunteers

 



Our YPV’s have been hard at work gearing up to help LWVMD on their issues during session, but you might be wondering, “Who are these ‘Young Professionals’ joining us?” Well wonder no more, here are our 2017-18 LWVMD Policy & Education Young Professional Volunteers:

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Focus on a Local League: Frederick League, Active and Growing

FOLL FrederickAs with most local Leagues, the Frederick County League continues to have an increase in membership, with approximately 30 percent of the new members being men. The other exciting things in our League recently have been our first City election forum co-sponsored with The United Way, ethics reform, and our 287g (a partnership between Frederick’s Sheriff’s Office and ICE/Homeland Security) study group.

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Winter Workshop Sessions

 

The Winter Workshop on January 20th (snow date, January 27th) at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ellicott City will feature two sessions this year. The first gives attendees a choice of “Preparing for Elections: Forums and Debates” or “Non-Profit Treasurer's Seminar.” For the second session, attendees will choose between “How to Run a Condo Election” or the “Treasurer's Seminar.” A light breakfast will be served, and a catered lunch will include a speaker. We’re excited to discuss these important issues and hope to see you there - Click here to get signed up online OR here to download and mail a registration form! Early bird sign up lasts until 1/15!

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My Experience Participating in a Study Group as a Newbie

Dona Sauerburger Primary Studay“What did I get myself into?” I thought, after I had volunteered to serve on the LWVMD Primary Election Study Committee. I was brand-new to the League and didn’t know anything about it, other than it had something to do with women and voting (hey, I’m a woman and I vote, so I belong!)One of the first things that I learned when I joined, to my delight, is that LVW members include men as well as women! 

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President's Letter - A Focus on Non-Partisan Leadership

Only a holiday or two now separate us from 2018 - an election year! As Elections approach our League work shifts subtly from policy advocacy and voter registration to other important forms of voter service like voters’ guides and public forums. As a League member, elections bring you the quandary of choices on how you should act publicly. Will you work to support a specific candidate in the coming season or will you be focused on voter registration and conducting forums?

2017-19 LWVMD Presidents

 

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Report for Report from State Circle

Would you like to volunteer, but need something you can do mostly from home?

 Do you want to work on a legislative subject of particular interest to you?  



Consider being a reporter for Report from State Circle (RSC), our publication that provides the public with information on what kind of bills are before the Maryland General Assembly (MDGA) approximately every two weeks during session. 

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Convention and Leadership Training

Washington_College.jpgThe League of Women Voters Maryland held their 2017 Convention at the picturesque Washington College in Chestertown from June 9th to June 11th. Lively discussions culminated in the election of new officers, a new board, and the adoption of several proposed studies and action items. Amidst all the decisions and discussions, I still had plenty of opportunity for informal exchanges between local leaguers.

22.jpgThe Saturday morning session, which formally opened the Convention with kind introductory remarks delivered by William Pickrum, President of the Kent County Commission, was productive and efficient.

Saturday’s lunch break was used as an occasion for workshopping. Attendees could chose a table based on topic, and then participate in a focused discussion around that concept. Being new to LWV, I was hoping for some clarifications on some of the issues I would be voting on the following day. I joined an informal discussion formed originally to focus onlunch.jpg the preparation of the LWVMD Primary Election Study Part II presentation for the following day but was broadened to an overview of the process by which the LWV adopts and acts on studies. More experienced leaguers were helpful and supportive of new leaguers, like myself, while patiently and thoroughly answering our questions.

110257.jpgAfter the lunch break, outgoing Co-President Nancy Soreng presented a video to open a conversation regarding the many challenges facing local leagues. The Board of Directors is committed to working with the Local Leagues in addressing many of those concerns. Attendees then began to offer some of their most immediate difficulties while incoming Presidents Elaine Apter and Richard Willson recorded them to present to the board. Some of the recurring issues mentioned were engaging members, recruiting younger members, and fund raising.  

195.jpgA successful day behind us, we gathered for a reception and banquet. Each Local League had an opportunity to present a few successes from the past year during a Roll Call at the reception. It was wonderful to see each league take pride in their accomplishments as well as gain ideas and insights from the successes of other leagues.

305.jpgKey Note Speaker Sheila Bair, President of Washington College and former chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, was the highlight of the banquet, speaking about her experiences during the financial crisis of 2008 and the future of student loan debt.

 

275.jpgSunday morning provided a choice between two workshops. I attended “NationBuilder: Using the League website platform for communications, and working with membership and donations,” which gave me the opportunity to acquaint myself with the technological tools of LWV. Despite that tech workshops are always a challenge, and especially so when there is such a spread of technological abilities among the attendees, I managed to learn to navigate NationBuilder and look forward to contributing my skills to my local league. (Calvert)

342.jpgDuring the final plenary session, a new board was elected and the delegation voted to adopt four of the proposed studies discussed the previous day. There was also the presentation and adoption of two action items, and finally the newly elected presidents received directions from the body. With the completion of business, the Convention closed, immediately after which the new Board met over lunch to determine the details of the 2017 retreat. I was inspired by the depth and breadth of leaguers’ commitment to education and activism and am thrilled to begin work on the State Board.

Submitted by Liz Demulling

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Calling for study volunteers

Four studies were adopted at Convention 2017 in Chestertown! 

  1. Corrections and Bail - This study is full at this time - Thank you for volunteering!


  2. Civic Education - This study is full at this time - Thank you for volunteering!


  3. Services for the Aging in Maryland  - Volunteers still needed!


  4. Death with Dignity - This study is full at this time - Thank you for volunteering!


Click here to read more and to sign up!


***Not familiar with League lingo like "Study & Consensus"?

Well, studies are adopted when voting delegates from Local Leagues at Convention decide they would like to see LWVMD take a position on an item, or sometimes, simply educate members and the public further about an issue. Click here to read LWVUS' explain the study process at the national level. This detailed description will give you some idea about what participating in a study entails.

And consensus? Click here to learn more about what we mean when we say we've reached a consensus.

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Convention 2017

48 delegates had fun networking on Friday, June 9th (with a walking tour of downtown Chestertown, a Tea at the White Swan Tavern,WhiteSwanTea.JPG a river cruise or a creekside picnic), followed by a day and a half of dialogue produced agreement to tackle FOUR NEW STUDIES, a new LWVMD Board, a new procedure for maintaining memberships, a remarkable address from Washington College's president on innovation in ways to fund college tuition, and an overall focus on making the League sustainable going forward! Click on the "Read More" link to see our study options and to sign up to help!

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Making tracking Membership simpler

At Convention 2017, it was announced that Maryland is simplifying the process for tracking League membership.  Going forward, local leagues will add and edit member information directly in the NationBuilder software that runs our websites, communicates and tracks our contacts. Rather than have each local league enter data in the LWVUS database  local leagues will work directly with NationBuilder to create one-stop membership management controlled and perfected at the local league level.  LWVUS will modify their software so that Maryland can upload membership to the national database.

Local leagues with questions about the new process should email online@lwvmd.org

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