W.E.B. DuBois, on liberty for black men after emacipation:
"The ideal of liberty demands for its attainment powerful means, and these the 15th Amendment gave him. The ballot, which before he had looked upon as a visible sign of freedom, he now regarded as the chief means of gaining and perfecting the liberty with which the war had partially endowed him."
"The For The People Act (S1) would:
-Restore the Voting Rights Act,
-Modernize our voter registration system,
-Restore voting rights to formerly-incarcerated individuals,
-Curb partisan gerrymandering, and
-Make campaign contributions more transparent.
"...We're calling on President Biden to continue speaking in favor of S1 and to urge the Senate to pass it by any means necessary!
"Sign the petition today to let him know you feel the same way! Together, we can strengthen our democracy.
"Warmly, The League Team (LWVUS)"
The petition was emailed to us by LWV.org on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 2:09 PM. Please find this email and sign the petition.
"It was only a sunny smile,
and little is cost
In the giving,
But like morning light
It scattered the night
And made the day
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Volunteers are needed for the program committee. While the committment can be brief and for just a month, more members are needed to help with our fall and winter programs.
Please contact Cheryl Naperala at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-223-7903 to find our what you might be able to do to help out with our very successful programs.
Program Report from May Program
The LWVGTA Program Committee has wrapped up the winter/spring virtual programs with great success. Our final program for the season was Does the Electoral College Have Value for the American Republic Today? presented by Dr. John Zachman, professor of philosophy and political science at NMC. Brenda Knaack coordinated this program.
The programs were shown over zoom, TACM Facebook, LWVGTA Facebook and Channel 189 with Spectrum TV. Views on zoom ranged from 25 - 66, views on the Facebook pages ranged from 50 - 211 and two programs were shown on YouTube and received 33 - 110 views. We cannot capture the number of views on channel 189. In addition, our data does not show how long people watched the programs for the entirety. Nevertheless we feel pretty positive about the number of people we reached through the programs.
We will begin programs again in September - either virtually, in person, or both. September 21st is an important program for those of us in Grand Traverse County. The program will discuss the redrawing of the Grand Traverse County lines, which affects the election of county commissioners, and will be presented by Bonnie Scheele, GT County Clerk and chair of the committee redrawing the lines. I hope to have information regarding this process on our website and Facebook pages prior to the program.
October 19, we hope to have a program on the 39 bills now moving through the Michigan State Legislature, that have to do with voting. Joan Williams is the coordinator of this program. This is a very important subject and the changes which may be made in the process of voting will affect you! We will post information regarding these bills on our web page and Facebook pages as we approach this program date.
Other programs being considered are: The census and how it affects you, jail diversion programs, and how civics/government are being taught today in our classrooms.
Please consider joining the program committee. Present members are: Nancy Quinlan, Linda Wagner, Mary Grover, Peg Townsend, Anne Montgomery, Joan Williams, Eunice Crockett, and Cheryl Naperala (chair). Brenda Knaack moved to California! We will miss her! We meet monthly to plan programs. Members choose a topic in which they are interested and plan a program around it. All members help each other out and work together to make sure we have interesting programs.
The programs can still be viewed on TACM.tv, LWVGTA Facebook or Channel 189.
"The National Popular Vote Explained"
Alex Cohen, The Brennen Center
"In 2019, Colorado, New Mexico, Delaware and Oregon became the latest states to take a stand against the Electoral College and join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV). The NPV is a mulit-state agreement that, when active would ensure that the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationally also wins in thte Electoral College.
"The electoral College is one of the most unique - and undemocratic - elements of the U.S. government. It was originally included in the Constitution as a means to thwart direct democracy. Many of the framers of the Constitution were uncomfortable with giving power to the people, and in part devised the Electoral College as a democratic bypass. The Electoral College was also designed to protect the influence of the slave states.
"But the problems with the Electoral College extend beyond its historical roots. Basing the elector count off of congressional delegations continues to give disproprotionate voting power to people in smaller states. For example, Wyoming voters have nearly four times as much influence as California voters do.
"Addionally, under the Electoral College system electoral outcomes can undermine the popular vote. Because 48 states and Washington, D.C. award their votes on a winner-take-all basis, it is technically possible for a candidate to win the presidency with around 23 percent of the national popular vote. While that's unlikely to ever happen, the system can and does fail. In the 1991 book, Wrong Winner: The Coming Debacle in the Electoral College, two political scientists predicted that the Electoral College would select the 'wrong winner' within twenty years. As we have seen, their forecast turned out to be correct - twice since 2000."
From Time Magazine, May 24-31, 2021, page 88: "ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE"
"The core case for the direct national election of America's President is simple: equality. Each American voter should count equally: Black or white, Democrat or Republican, urbanite or country dweller. Direct election was a political nonstarter at the founding of our country. Such a system would have given the South no credit for its slave population. (Slaves don't vote.) The founders thus hatched a complex system allowing slave states to count their bondsmen, albeit at a discount. Each slave would count for three-fifths of a free person in apportioning both the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. Virginia, with its large slave population, was the big winner: eight of the first nine presiential elections crowned a slaveholding Virginian. Northerners complained, but to no avail, even after the three-fifths clause notoriously advantaged Virginia's Thomas Jefferson over New England's Jon Adams in the 1800 presidential contest.
"The best argument for keeping the current system is inertia. It's the devil we know and any changes could trigger unanticipated consequences. Defenders of the status quo also say the system reflects American federalism, but direct election could harness a superior version. In direct election, the more who show up to vote in state X, the more clout X has in the national count. States would be incentivized to encourage voter turnout. They would become laboratories of democracy - federalism at its best - subject to congressional supervision to keep it fair.
by Akhil Reed Amar, author of The Words That Made Us
"At the League, we believe that the direct-vote method for electing the President and Vice President is essential to representative government. Therefore, the League believes that the Electoral College should be abolished."
LWVMI STATE CONVENTION UPDATE
I attended the virtual convention May 21 and 22 and thought it was very informative and well organized. Here are some highlights from Jocelyn Benson's session:
Jocelyn stated that the 2020 election was the most secure election in Michigan history with 3.3 million absentee ballots and no security breaches. She encouraged us to converse with those with different opinions on the election, especially to listening to them and responding with data and facts, making sure we have the best data and facts.
Nancy Nordfjord, Membership Chair
LWVMI Opposes 39 BillsThat Affect Elections
The League of Women Voters of Michigan opposes the package of bills introduced by Senate Republicans on March 24 and assigned to the Senate Elections Committee, prior to the spring recess. The bills as introduced set up barriers to carrying out a safe and secure election in which the right to vote is protected. The bills seem to respond to the unfounded claim that there was fraud in the 2020 election. The bills are SB 273 through SB 311 and are available at www.legislature.mi.gov.
The bills are likely to move quickly through the MI Senate, we urge you to contact your Senator by email or telephone and urge them to vote no on these bills. You can link to your Senate here. https://senate.michigan.gov/
Judy Karandjeff of the LWVMI Advocacy Committee will keep us updated on this vital issue.
From LWVUS on Statehood for Washington, D.C., May, 2021
"The 700,000 residents of DC were recognized by members of Congress, who voted to pass the Washington, DC Admission Act (HR 51). The League has been a strong advocate of this legislation, which would create a 51st state from the residental and commercial areas of the District.
"As LWVUS CEO Virginia Kase has stated, 'DC statehood is not a partisan issue but a civil rights issue which cannot be separated from the fight for racial justice. As DC is a jurisdiction with a majority population of Black and Brown prople, continued efforts to block full representation is discrimination against the people who live, work and pay taxes in the District... It is long past time that we dispel these racist and discriminatory excuses and deliver justice to the residents of our nation's capital.'
"The bill now goes before the Senate. Encourage your Senator to support it today."
"Walled Lake Resting Stop on Underground Railroad Undergoes Renovations" From the Detroit Free Press, by Minnah Arshad
"Once a stop on the Underground Railroad and home to a Michigan icon of the suffrage movement, this 1833 landmark in walled Lake got some TLC recently, as local businesses came together to replace the home's windows.
The Banks-Dolbeer-Bradley-Foster farmhouse served as a depot on the Underground Railroad to help escapers of slavery reach their freedom. Because of its proximity to Canada, Michigan was a hotspot for freedom fighters from the South, and Walled Lake's very own farmhouse was one stop along the way. The stop in Walled Lake was added to National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Dr. Sarah Gertrude Banks, one the the first women to graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School, resided in the house She was Clara Ford's personal physician, friend fo Susan B. Anthony and a champion of women's rights."
Annual Meeting Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 10:00 to 11:00AM
Please see Anne Montgomery's email blast that was sent Monday, May 31st at 9:13AM for the Zoom meeting invitation.
Save Olesons Receipts
One way we raise money is to collect Olesons receipts. Please send your receipts to: Jan Warren, 12055 S. Woodwinds Circle, #15, Traverse City, MI 49684.
The League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area
Facebook: Search for LWVGTA or League of Women Voters Grand Traverse Area
Serving Antrim, Benzie, Crawford, Grand Traverse and Kalkaska Counties
1st Vice President: Mary Grover 2nd Vice President: Linda Crandall Treasurer: Ingrid Brophy (Liz Messing) Secretary: Ann Swaney Board of Directors:
Mary Beeker, Web Master
Marcia Koppa, Crawford County
Peg Townsend and Anne Montgomery, Voter Services Co-Chairs
Nancy Nordfjord, Membership
Cheryl Naperala, Programs
Natural Resources, unfilled
If you have content for this newsletter please contact Nancy Nordfjord at: email@example.com.
LWVGTA Membership renewal for the fiscal year of 2021-2022 (July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022) begins in May. To pay dues by Paypal or print a membership application go to: https://www.lwvgta.org/join.html.