W&M President Rowe praises civic engagement

William and Mary president Katherine Rowe was the featured speaker of our fall membership meeting. Read the Virginia Gazette Coverage here!

by Amelia Heymann
aheymann@vagazette.com

 

Katherine Rowe, president of the College of William and Mary, said the school was celebrating 100 years of women at the college. Rowe said while changes were happening at the college, Virginia, its home, rejected the ratification of the suffrage amendment in 1920. The Commonwealth did not symbolically ratify suffrage until 1952.

“In alignment with these centennials, we find the opportunity to reflect on that generation who brought the franchise for women, particularly the women of that generation,” Rowe said. “I want to say that in our current generation of students now, I see a generation that is prime to make a similarly great impact on the world.”

Rowe discussed student civic engagement and was named the first honorary member of the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters at its fall membership meeting Wednesday night.

One of the reasons Rowe said she felt the current generation of undergraduate students were poised to make an impact on the world was because they were more engaged with their communities than past generations.

“The world is here all the time and (students) are in it,” Rowe said. “There is no more bubble of college anymore…for better or for worse.”

She added while students are more aware of the immense challenges they have inherited, they are also are still optimistic about searching for solutions. Rowe said she is especially inspired by undergraduates’ sense of responsibility to build better communities.

“This generation of undergraduates are going to be the critical partners in sustaining our democracy,” Rowe said. “So we need to be listening and learning from them as they too need to be listening and learning from us.”

A member of the audience asked Rowe how the League of Women Voters could attract a younger and more diverse membership population. Rowe said she suggested simply asking younger voters what they thought.

“As a teacher, I would partner with students in the class because they knew things about what their learning process was like that I didn’t know, and if I engaged them as partners I would always come to better solutions,” Rowe said. “So my answer to you is ask, and you will get fantastically exciting ideas.”

Another member of the audience asked Rowe about the college’s Neighborhood Relations Committee. She said most people in the surrounding neighborhoods used the committee to complain about issues with college students. The woman asked Rowe if the committee could be used to create more positive interactions between the community and students, rather than just being used as a sounding board for complaints.

Rowe said she enjoyed the idea another person had brought up that evening, which was inviting college students over for dinner to get to know them.

“You have chosen to live right next to a college campus. It has its challenges, it has extraordinary benefits, so I would think about how we can embrace the vitality of that 18-22-year-old moment,” Rowe said. “And it starts with a nice dinner at midterms.”

At the end of the night, Mary Schilling, president of the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters, named Rowe the first honorary member of the Williamsburg League.

Rowe reflected on her first memory of voting from when she was 6 or 7 years old. Rowe’s said she was allowed by to follow her mother into a voting booth by their local League of Women Voters. There Rowe looked up curiously as her mother cast a ballot.

“It was thrilling to be able to watch an adult vote,” Rowe said.

Later in life, Rowe said she volunteered for the Judge of Elections in Philadelphia.

“It was inspiring to be part of a democratic process,” Rowe said. “I owe a lot to the League of Women Voters, and to everyone who has helped to foster a commitment to (civic) participation.”

What’s on my ballot?

Check these links to see what’s on your ballot for Williamsburg, James City County, or York County.

You can vote absentee in person in your county’s voting office, or request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you. Scroll down to see where your county voting office is located.

 

York County:

(757) 890-3440

City of Williamsburg:

(757) 220-6157

James City County:

(757) 259-4949

Absentee Voting: Final Countdown!

Absentee voting is great if you know you will be unable to vote because of a commitment on Election Day.

Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Monday, October 15, 2018. Check your voter registration at the official state site.

15octalldayLast day to register to vote!

Deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is Tuesday, October 30, 2018. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m.

Deadline to vote an absentee ballot in-person is Saturday, November 3, 2018. Please check with your registrar for office hours.

York County Registrar’s Office is open Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 and Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. for absentee voting.

City of Williamsburg is open Saturday, October 27, and Saturday, November 3, from 8:30am to 4:30pm, for absentee voting.

James City County is open Saturday, Oct. 27 and Saturday Nov. 3 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for absentee voting.

You cannot vote absentee on Monday, November 5, right before the election, unless it is a specific type of emergency, so don’t wait till then!

Source: Virginia Elections Site

Absentee Application

You will need to fill out this piece of paperwork before casting your absentee ballot. You can do it at the office; you can even download the form here and bring it with you.

York County:

(757) 890-3440

City of Williamsburg:

(757) 220-6157

James City County:

(757) 259-4949

 


COMPLETING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION
– https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html

Am I eligible to vote absentee?
Check Here

You may vote absentee if you are unable to go to the polls on Election Day because you …

  • are a student or the spouse of a student outside the City of Williamsburg
  • will be away from the City of Williamsburg on business
  • will be at your workplace for 11 or more hours between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  • will be away from the City of Williamsburg on personal business or vacation
  • are unable to go to the polls because of illness or disability
  • are the primary caretaker of a confined family member
  • have a religious obligation
  • are confined awaiting trial are confined having been convicted of a misdemeanor
  • are an election official
  • are on active duty in the military
  • are the spouse or dependent residing with a member of the military
  • are an overseas citizen whose most recent United States residence was in [Williamsburg, James City County, or York County]

COMPLETE IN-PERSON

Before visiting your local registrar’s office, check your registration status or call your registrar’s office (phone numbers available on Virginia voter registration application). Also review the application to insure you have all of the information necessary to complete the process. If you are not already registered, you will have to wait five days after registration before you can be issued an absentee ballot (exception for military and overseas voters only). If you have a Virginia DMV license or ID card, you can register online using our OAB application.

  • Within 45 days prior to the election in which you wish to vote, visit your local registrar’s office to vote absentee in-person.
  • At the registrar’s office, fill out an Absentee Application. You must show an acceptable form of photo ID. To view a complete list of acceptable IDs, please visit our Voting In-Person page.
  • After completing the application, you will be allowed to vote absentee in-person using a voting machine in the registrar’s office. Accessible equipment and/or curbside voting is available upon request.

An application completed in person can be made up to three days before the election in which the applicant wishes to vote and completed in the office of the local registrar. The applicant signs the application in the presence of a registrar or the secretary of the electoral board. Some large localities offer satellite locations for in-person absentee voting. Check with your local registrar for locations and times.

An applicant generally cannot both register to vote in person and vote absentee in person at the same time. If you register to vote in person, your absentee ballot cannot be issued until five days after you are registered. The only exception is absent military and overseas voters eligible under a federal law.

Registered voters who vote absentee in person are subject to the same rules that apply to voting at the polls. If acceptable identification is not provided, a provisional ballot will be offered and the voter is allowed until the following Friday by noon after the election to provide a copy of acceptable identification to the electoral board. Provisional voters receive a notice to remind them of the deadline and right to attend the electoral board meeting.

 

Sources:

Williamsburg Election Office
Official State Elections Site

 

W&M President Rowe to Speak at Fall Meeting

by Phoebe Kent, The Voter co-editor

The Williamsburg League’s fall program features The College of William & Mary’s new president Katherine A. Rowe. The October 10 event at Legacy Hall begins at 4:30 pm. A reception will follow President Rowe’s remarks.

10oct4:30 pm6:30 pmFall Membership Meeting: Dr Katherine Rowe

In July The College of William & Mary began an exciting new chapter; its 28th president is a recognized leader, teacher, scholar, and entrepreneur – and its first woman president. Prior to William & Mary, Rowe held a number of leadership positions in higher education.

From 2014 to 2018, she was provost, dean of the faculty, and Sophia Smith Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College. She is deeply interested in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and the digital humanities and has been nationally recognized as an innovator in higher education. During her tenure, Smith transformed its liberal arts curriculum, greatly increased diversity in faculty hiring, launched one of the first statistical and data sciences majors at a liberal arts college (and the first at a women’s college) and broke national fundraising records for women’s colleges.

Prior to joining Smith, Rowe spent 16 years at Bryn Mawr College as an English professor, department chair and director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center for leadership and public engagement. Before that she was an assistant professor of literature at Yale. Rowe is cofounder and former CEO of Luminary Digital Media, which developed a series of educational apps enhancing student engagement and learning of classic Shakespearean texts.

Rowe earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Carleton College and a master’s and a PhD in English and American literature from Harvard. She has completed graduate work in Cinema and Media Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her areas of research and scholarship include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Medieval and Renaissance drama and media history.

Rowe has coached Ultimate Frisbee and led multiple teams to state championships in Pennsylvania. She was a World Ultimate Club Finalist and a Women’s Nationals Finalist. She and her husband Bruce Jacobson have two adult children, Danny and Beah.

Unanimously elected by William & Mary’s Board of Visitors in February, President Rowe was officially sworn in on July 2. She describes her goal for her first semester as one of “sustained, strategic listening” to all elements of the community. We are indeed fortunate to have this early opportunity to meet and hear her.

Six Takeaways from the LWV National Convention

by Les Solomon, Membership Co-chair & LWVUS Convention Delegate

 

Creating a More Perfect Democracy was the theme of the 53th National LWV Convention. More than 1000 League leaders attended the four-day convention that included excellent speakers, workshops, and thoughtful, methodical debate.

My key takeaways:

1. The LWV National is on sound footing. Two years ago, the financial health of LWVUS was not good; this year, they reported an amazing turnaround with more than $5 million in the black, thanks to strategic planning and a rigorous donor campaign.

2. Membership diversity is a key to sustainable growth. The League’s ongoing Transformation Journey and accompanying Roadmap provide evidence that demographically, the League must change. This initiative was seen as so important that all delegates participated in a seminar, Using Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lens to Strengthen Social Impact and Collaboration.

3. There is so much energy at the local level to Empower Voters, Defend Democracy. I found the following sessions to be most interesting, many funded by LWVUS grants:

a. Immigration Sharing Session: Immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; meet economic, business and employment needs; and be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises.
b. Youth Voter Registration: Learn Winning Tactics. Learn strategies for planning registration events that get the biggest bang for your volunteer buck and help empower young people!

4. Interesting Brochures (contact me for more info)

a. Engaging Members: Moving individuals onto & up the leadership ladder.
b. The Voter Girl Project: A youth citizenship project with the Girls Scouts.
c. National Popular Vote
d. Did you know that the US deports some veterans? #Deportedveterans
e. Why We Should Abolish the Electoral College: Since 1970, the LWV has believed that the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a direct popular vote.

5. New LWVUS Statements:

a. Mission: Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy.
b. Vision: We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate.
c. Value: We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy. (The Value Statement raised some interesting questions regarding diversity.)

6. August 26, 2020. Get ready to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage marking a century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Our featured speaker at the banquet was Elaine Weiss, author of The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote.

Thank you for the opportunity to be one of your delegates to the 2018 LWVUS Convention.

LWVUS 2018 National Convention: Creating a More Perfect Democracy

by Mary Schilling, President and LWVUS Convention Delegate

More than 1,000 League of Women Voters members from across the country, representing some 762 local leagues, gathered in Chicago for the Biennial LWVUS 2018 Convention. Speakers were inspiring, sessions informative, and camaraderie intense. Most importantly, the body in plenary sessions considered numerous proposals for inclusion in the LWVUS Program for 2018- 2020. Program items create the foundation for national action, advocacy, and lobbying as well as inform both state and local league action and advocacy. Proposals passed by the plenary body include:

• That the LWVUS support gun control, gun safety, and gun ownership limitations a priority in its lobbying efforts.

• That the LWVUS support an emphasis on the ERA this year and every year until the ERA is ratified and becomes a US Constitutional Amendment and that it supports efforts to remove the time limits for ratification of the ERA.

• That the 2018 Convention urgently reaffirm its long-held position that the Electoral College be abolished.

• That the LWV stand united with and in support of efforts to price carbon emissions whether cap-and-trade, carbon tax/fee or another viable pricing mechanism.

• That the LWV reaffirm its commitment to the Constitutional right to privacy for an individual to make reproductive choices.

• That the LWV support a set of climate assessment criteria that ensures that energy policies align with current climate science.

• That the LWVUS adopt an amended 2018–2020 campaign for making democracy work. The campaign includes insuring a free, fair, and accessible electoral system for all eligible voters by focusing on voting rights, improving elections, and advocacy for the National Popular Vote Compact Campaign, finance/money in politics, and redistricting.

• That the national league retain all current LWVUS positions in the areas of representative government, international relations, natural resources, and social policy.

June State Council Report

by Anne Bradstreet Smith, LWV-VA Program Vice President

The Williamsburg League was well represented at the LWV-VA Council meeting in Henrico on June 16. Thirty-eight delegates representing all local leagues were among the approximately 60 people attending. The proposed state budget was presented, and attendees heard Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, Assistant Director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, speak about political behavior and analysis of recent and upcoming elections in Virginia and the nation.

Updates to two LWV-VA positions were presented and formally moved as motions from the LWV-VA Board. Chair Linda Rice (Williamsburg) presented the results and recommendations on Behavioral Health for a total revision of the Mental Health position, now renamed Behavioral Health. The Public Funds for Public Schools Task Force, chaired by Carol Noggle (Prince William), presented a new section to the Education position on School Choice options. Delegates accepted both reports.

Chair Alison Beall (Richmond) presented a preliminary report of the Women’s Rights Task Force. Their review of the Code of Virginia determined that the specific points of the current League position have been addressed by legislative action, thus satisfying the specific charge of the study. However, sexual harassment emerged as a major unaddressed issue. The Task Force requested authorization to extend its study and to make recommendations that update the current position to address sexual harassment. The Task Force will bring its recommendations for action to the LWVVA 2019 Convention. If you are interested in working on this phase of the Women’s Rights study, please let me know. Congratulations to all three Task Forces for their good work during the past year. Having completed their research, now it’s time for all of us to engage in strong advocacy and action.

On a related note, Pat Fishback (Richmond) updated Council delegates on the status of the ERA. Pat has been one of the leaders in this effort; you can view her presentation to the 2018 Virginia House of Delegate on our website under Action and Advocacy / Women’s Rights. You will also find the adopted “ERA Talking Points” in that section of the site.

Candidate Forum Cancelled

by Rubyjean Gould, Voter Services Co-chair

Once again it has been necessary to cancel our League’s attempts to offer citizens an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of the candidates running for office in November.

Immediately after the June primary election, I contacted all the candidates for Congressional Districts 1 and 2 offering several October dates for Candidate Forums in Williamsburg. While the Democratic challengers responded promptly that they would like to participate, I was unable to get a response from the two Republican incumbents. Despite repeated emails, phone calls, and letters over the course of several months, there was no response. Regretfully, on Aug 21 I contacted all five candidates to report that we could not go forward with the public Forums without the participation of all candidates.

While it is no consolation, I understand that this pattern of refusal to meet with the public to answer questions of importance to constituents not unique to Williamsburg or Virginia. Of course, the losers are citizens who deserve an opportunity to hear directly from candidates seeking their vote. Only by Empowering Voters through such voter education efforts as Candidate Forums can the League help to Defend Democracy. We will continue the fight.

Also read President Mary Schilling’s letter published in the Virginia Gazette on August 25, expressing the League’s disappointment that there will be no local Candidate Forum and encouraging readers to ask the candidates to – at least – respond in writing to questions about issues on the website cited in the letter. I encourage you to do the same.

Power Up for Action: Williamsburg Hosts Fall Workshops on September 8

08sep9:15 am3:00 pmLWV-VA 2018 Fall WorkshopsJOIN US IN COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG

by Phoebe Kent, The Voter Co-editor

Our Williamsburg League will host the LWV-VA Fall Workshops at Colonial Williamsburg’s Woodlands Conference Center on Saturday, September 8. The morning plenary session includes welcomes by Virginia League President Sue Lewis and Williamsburg President Mary Schilling, consideration of how to attract and energize membership, and a variety of issues relating to voter access and outreach. After lunch, all attendees will focus on advocacy issues. Following an explanation of the difference between advocacy and lobbying, attendees will consider issues including Behavioral Health, Education, Election Integrity, ERA Ratification, and Gun Violence Prevention. We look forward to welcoming to Williamsburg representatives from leagues throughout the Commonwealth for this informative and useful day of sharing strategies and ideas. At this time, 22 Williamsburg members are planning to assist with workshop logistics and attend the programs. The meeting will conclude at 3 pm.

AGENDA 

8:00 – 9:15 Registration

8:45 – 9:15 Local League Presidents Pre-session Briefing: Things you need to know

9:15 Plenary

  • Greeting and Welcome … Sue Lewis, LWV-VA President, Mary Schilling, President LWV-WA Host League

  • 2018 LWVUS Convention through the Eyes of a Local League

9:30 Membership and capacity building … “Attracting and Energizing

  • Transformational Journey

  • Attracting New and Engaging Current Members 

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Local Leagues Exchange … Community Building and Ideas

  • Fund-raising, Revenue Development, How to Use Social Media

11:00 Voter Outreach/Access

  • Redistricting

  • Registration

  • Voting Rights

    • Election system and process security

    • Voter access

  • VOTE411

  • All About Debates

12:30 Lunch

1:30 Advocacy

  • Advocacy vs Lobbying

  • Behavioral Health

  • Education

  • Election Integrity

  • ERA Ratification

  • Gun Violence Prevention

3:00 Adjourn


NOTE: This year there will be no breakout sessions. Everyone will have access to everything as panels and issues leaders do presentations.