February 2013




LWVSF Vote By Mail Consensus Meetings

Reminder: the Vote By Mail Study Consensus Meetings are this week and next! We hope you can attend for a great discussion!


Vote by Mail: Voters love it! Does it comply with the League position that voting systems be Secure, Accurate, Recountable, Accessible and Transparent? (p. 12, Impact on Issues, 2010-2012)  Are there procedures that voters can follow to ensure the security of their vote? that it will be accurately counted? Join other League members as we discuss the points on Voting by Mail made by the Pew Charitable Trusts, President Jimmy Carter and James Baker III, CalTech/MIT, and the LWV New York, and others, and whether or not they are relevant to San Francisco. This is a formal study that has been underway since membership approval in June of 2011, and we hope to come to some conclusions and possibly consensus this League year.


Dates: Both meetings have the same content, you can attend one or the other:


Saturday, Feb 23, 10-12. 9:30 coffee! Downtown location upon RSVP by noon Friday to lwvsf@lwvsf.org AND chandra.friese@gmail.com


Tuesday, Feb 26, 6-8. Downtown location upon RSVP by noon Monday to  lwvsf@lwvsf.org AND chandra.friese@gmail.com


Important: Please prepare by reading the research summaries available on our Study website.


See you soon!

-Elections Education Committee

URGENT ACTION ALERT: Stand Up for the Voting Rights Act!


The Voting Rights Act (VRA), passed in 1965, is a landmark law which bans discriminatory voting practices responsible for the disenfranchisement of racial and ethnic minorities. On February 27th, the Supreme Court will hear Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, one the most important voting rights case to reach the high court in decades. The court is being asked to determine the constitutionality of Section 5 of the VRA, the critical enforcement mechanism of the law. Over the years, the VRA was reauthorized several times by Congress including in 2006 with broad bipartisan support.


National League of Women Voters President Elisabeth MacNamara stated, “Section 5 of the VRA plays a vital role in protecting voters from real barriers that threaten to keep eligible citizens from voting and ensuring that their votes count. It has helped transform American democracy from a restricted, segregated past to one of remarkable inclusion.”


The protection of the right to vote is the bread and butter of the League’s mission. On February 27th, League members will join many national partners in a rally before the Supreme Court. See how you can rally to protect the VRA by visiting the LWVUS webpage, “Get Involved in Supporting the Voting Rights Act.” You can also read a HuffingtonPost Blog Post by President MacNamara. Now is the time to stand up for the vote, the very foundation of our democracy.

League Spotlight on Initiative and Referendum


If you’ve been keeping up with the LeagueVoice, you know that nearly two years after members of the League of Women Voters of California approved an Update Study on Initiative and Referendum, the consensus meetings are finally close at hand, coming up on March 11th and March 23rd 2013. Join members of LWVSF in adding your voice to one of the hottest topics of our time!


The time to educate yourself in preparation for these meetings is now. First, begin to engage with the Study Guide - meticulously researched, it is packed with information on: LWVC's current position, history, the current process, issues to consider, proposals for reform, alternative models in other states, and much more! Next, get to know the Consensus Questions, which you and fellow LWVSF members will be answering at the meetings coming up next month. Please save the March dates and contact the League office for locations at lwvsf@lwvsf.org or 415-989-8685.


Finally, don't forget to visit and share the LeagueVoice, where we have been posting weekly reviews of the topics addressed in the Study Guide for your convenience. Read up, and remember: our blog is a forum open to a wide range of opinions, proposals and discussions that encourage informed and engaged civic participation in San Francisco. Have something to say? Submit your post to LWVSF and start the conversation. Posts can be sent to lwvsf@lwvsf.org. We look forward to hearing from you and strongly encourage you to share this opportunity with others in your community.

2013 Local Program Planning Results


LWVSF made the following local program planning recommendations to the Board for 2013-2014:


GOVERNMENT - Retain all positions.

Board of Supervisors - Advocacy opportunity:

• Sunshine/Ethics Committee Membership - retain active membership, observe and comment on behalf of the League


SOCIAL POLICY - Retain all positions.

Education - Advocacy opportunities:

• Adequate funding

• Transparency and accountability of the Board of Education

• Criteria for evaluating teachers


NATURAL RESOURCES - Retain all positions.

City Planning - Advocacy opportunities:

• Effects of public school assignments on traffic

• Livable neighborhoods (language "update"?)


The members also recommended LWVSF track and advocate, where appropriate, on LWVC and LWVUS Alerts/Calls to Action:

• Gun Control

• Health Care

• Campaign Finance

• San Francisco Voting Task Force

• Human Trafficking


Many thanks to the membership for their participation in making our 2013-2014 program planning meetings a success!





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The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, multi-issue organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


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