by Shirley Tabata Ponomareff
In 1942, national League President Marguerite Wells cautioned that in times of crisis such as war, “the citizen loses sight of government and what government is doing, who is doing it, how it is being done.” She summed up the League’s objective in that wartime period: the support of democracy. Today, as our country wages a war against terrorism, the League continues in this proud tradition. From the time that the USA PATRIOT Act became law in 2001, the League has actively lobbied in support of legislation that would limit some of the law’s extreme provisions. At the same time, it has promoted education through panels and workshops as well as its “Local Voices” project.
by Kelly McFarland Stratman and Nancy E. Tate
The League of Women Voters Education Fund launched its multi-tier project, Local Voices: Citizen Conversations on Civil Liberties and Secure Communities, in February 2005. The project combined one of the League’s strongest traditions—convening community dialogues—with established methods of public opinion research. A complete report of the project’s findings and the League’s recommendations for action was released on September 7. Citizen desire for a transparent and open government is among the project’s important findings. The League’s recommendations in a nutshell: When it comes to the critically important relationship between our civil liberties and our nation’s security, government openness and public involvement are not just desirable—they are essential.
by Kelly Ceballos
Well in advance of November 2, the League of Women Voters has launched a nationwide voter education effort, 5 Things You Need to Know on Election Day, to familiarize voters with new election procedures and empower them to take action to personally ensure their vote is counted. To this end, the League has produced a quarter million 5 Things voter cards that are being distributed across the country. This year many voters will find some things different at their polling place, and these changes will make some of them feel like first-time voters. The League’s 5 Things gives long-time and first-time voters the information they need to look out for themselves and their votes on Election Day.