A good way to catch up on the context for Virginia’s changes to election laws and rules coming for the November election.
For LWV members & the public; please pass this on to friends or organizations that may be interested
How did voting rights in our Constitution evolve since 1787?
What did our Founding Fathers envision about voting?
What is the history of the power of voting in America?
This second Civics 101 webinar from the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters, co-sponsored with the Williamsburg Regional Library, will answer these questions, review the effects of Jim Crow laws and prepare voters for the recent changes in election laws in Virginia.
Save this LINK to join the webinar at 4 pm on Tuesday, July 21.
The Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters is developing these CIVICS 101 webinars to fill the void as the pandemic has upended learning in schools across the United States and prevented the League from holding meetings. Thank you, Williamsburg Regional Library, for suggesting the concept!
If everything goes right, voting is quick and easy – but there are laws, regulations, and election quirks that can mess you up. Review this helpful brochure from the Virginia Department of Elections to make sure you’ve prepared for any issues. It includes some COVID-19 specific information, like what to put as your absentee vote by mail reason on the paperwork to request an absentee ballot.
You can check your personal voter status at elections.virginia.gov, and request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you.
Try for the prize! In the right sidebar on our website, you will see the Advocacy Challenge link. This advocacy challenge is active during 2020 Virginia General Assembly session, which ends in April 2020.
League members use this form to “log their advocacy” every time they’ve had a meeting, called a state legislator, tabled for their issue, or written a letter to the editor. The Local League that logs the most contacts with their lawmakers on the Advocacy Challenge form will win a $650 cash prize at Council in 2020. There are lesser prizes for second and third place, too. Every Local League president I’ve spoken with is hoping their League will win.
Friendly competition makes it fun.
Click the link to report in and get counted for the Challenge.
Every League has the ability to win, because we weight the results by the membership size of the League. A big League won’t automatically beat a small League.
When we send emailed Action Alerts, the software we use automatically counts your emails to lawmakers, so you won’t need to log your action for those.
After League Day, we will also want people to submit “after action reports” on their League Day meetings. Those are at the link Submit Meeting Notes.
Quoted material below from Jackie Rivas, LWV Arlington (from October 2019 Virginia Voter)
“Virginia has an historic opportunity that we can’t let slip away. In the 2019 General Assembly, our legislators passed House Joint Resolution No. 615. HJR 615 is a constitutional amendment to create a citizen-led redistricting commission to draw the voting districts for the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Senate and the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly in 2021, after the 2020 Census. This citizen-led redistricting commission would drag the map-drawing out of the smoke-filled back rooms of Richmond and expose it to the cleansing rays of the sun.”
Eight commissioners will be citizen members appointed by retired circuit court judges; two Delegates and two Senators from each party constitute the other eight. Meetings of the commission will be open to the public. It will hold public hearings across the Commonwealth to receive and consider citizen comments. Its records and documents will be considered public information.
The General Assembly passed the amendment to establish the commission 2019; we had an election on November 5, and now the amendment must be passed – verbatim, with nary a comma change – a second time by the General Assembly in 2020. The League and OneVirginia2021 hope to ensure that that happens. The amendment would be on the ballot on November 3, 2020. A separate enabling bill must also pass that determines how district lines will be drawn that specifically prohibits favoring or disfavoring a party or individual; that keeps intact communities of interest; compactness; other implementation requirements.
After census data is collected in 2020, it will be released in 2021 and redistricting will occur. We
are hopeful that a fairer process – a redistricting commission – will be in place by then for drawing
legislative districts. Make sure your representatives know that you want this to happen.
Please join us at the LWV-VA Pre-Session on December 4 to prepare for advocacy and action in the 2020 General Assembly Session and network with Virginia advocacy groups! This is your opportunity to hear about our legislative priorities and those of our many partners around the Commonwealth. At this Roundtable, advocacy experts from many nonprofit organizations come to speak about their priority issues and legislation, and give their predictions on what may or may not happen during the 2020 General Assembly Session.
Each expert will Predict and Preview where Action will be needed. These experts, 15 to 20 each year, have experience lobbying on the Front Lines in our General Assembly so they provide specific, ready-to-use advocacy/action messages. Not only do advocacy experts preview legislation but one or two Cabinet Secretaries come to describe important issues for the upcoming General Assembly session. This annual meeting in December prepares us to visit our own legislators at home even before the General Assembly convenes in January.
Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne will be the first speaker to share his insights on the priorities and challenges of Governor Northam’s administration. After he speaks, about 20 speakers will each have about 5 to 7 minutes each to share their legislative priorities and concerns in the upcoming Session. Some areas that will be covered by the speakers are elections, voting rights, transparency in government, education, women’s rights, gun violence prevention & public safety, healthcare, juvenile justice, transportation, and environmental issues.
Other Speakers include: Brian Cannon One VA 2021 Chris Piper Commissioner of Elections Walt Latham VRAV Voter Registrars Association of Virginia Andy Goddard VACPS Virginia Center for Public Safety Megan Rhyne VCOG Virginia Center for Open Government Ashna Khana ACLU American Civil Liberties Union Kati Hornung VAratifyERA Campaign Tarina Keene NARAL – Naral Pro Choice Virginia Jill Hanken VPLC Virginia Poverty Law Center Kim Bobo VICPP Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy Chris Duncombe TCI The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis Rhonda Thissen NAMI National Alliance of Mental Health of Virginia Corrina Beall Sierra Club / VA Chapter Danny Plaugher VTA Virginia Transit Association Sylvia Rogers AAUW American Association of University Women Brian Koziol Executive Director of Virginia Housing Alliance
Attend our breakfast and hear speakers from our partner organizations in the morning for $20.
A full day pass that includes breakfast, all day speakers and a plated lunch with a special presenter is $50. If you wish to pay by check, just select that option and either bring a check for the exact amount made out to League of Women Voters of Virginia Education Fund or mail to
Treasurer, 804 Ridge Place, Falls Church, VA 22046.
This event, in addition to providing a lot of good information, also provides opportunities to meet with and network with others who share similar interests and concerns.
Voting is a start, but advocacy is now needed. And 2 opportunities wait for you. 1) Join Williamsburg Area League members who are going to Richmond on Wednesday, December 4 for the annual “PRE-SESSION” Legislative Round Table, from 9 am-3 pm (or just the morning) at the John Marshall Hotel. Get your tickets here. NON-BOARD MEMBERS are encouraged to go! Learn more about issues that matter to YOU such as sensible gun safety legislation, election integrity, redistricting, mental health funding, passing the Equal Rights Amendment by hearing from numerous advocates from other organizations. Carpooling will be available. Breakfast and am session for $20 or all day with lunch for $40. Join in with fellow LWV members and others from around the commonwealth.
2) Williamsburg Area LWV member Christine Payne was asked to take a lead role in the LWV GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION GROUP and is asking our local League members who are interested in participating in this group to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org so that she can arrange a conference call or meeting soon. Chris says, “The upcoming 2020 General Assembly session will focus heavily on Gun Violence Prevention and as League members, we can impact the legislative process.” Please join Christine to add your voice in reducing gun violence. Learn about the League’s gun violence position and how it aligns with proposed legislation in Virginia.
LWV-Williamsburg Area Fall Reception is today, September 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Legacy Hall in New Town. Speaker: Chris Piper, Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner. Hear the latest on election integrity in Virginia. Our program BEGINS promptly at 4:30 p.m., so please arrive a bit early. Wine & Cheese Reception will follow. No cost. New and interested members welcome. If you are coming, don’t forget to RSVP by clicking here.
Dear Director Howard and members of the Virginia State Crime Commission,
As President of the League of Women Voters – Williamsburg Area, I write in support of several critical pieces of legislation regarding gun violence prevention. A super majority of Virginians support the concept of sensible gun reform and legislation.
We urge you to pass the following pieces of legislation on to the General Assembly for their serious consideration and vote:
– SB4019, which would close background check loopholes
– SB4012, which would implement Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Virginia
– SB2024, which would ban assault firearms equipped with high capacity magazines, bump stocks, or silencers
The public safety of Virginians is at stake. Having lived in the Commonwealth since 1999, I have witnessed the impact of the massacres at Virginia Tech and the recent gun violence in Virginia Beach and all those other less publicized incidents.
Please use your influence and political decision-making power to make a difference by boldly addressing this unprecedented challenge. You have an an opportunity to do the right thing for the people of our great Commonwealth.
Mary Schilling, President League of Women Voters-Williamsburg Area
We thought about what we’ve been up to the past year and wanted to share it with you. The League pursues non-partisan political work that educates voters and supports our community.
The League’s Voter Registration team attended a June 14, 2018, Flag Day Naturalization Ceremony, registering new citizens as voters.
President wrote a formal letter to Virginia Elections Commissioner Chris Piper in
June 2018, regarding League’s concern about mapping errors resulting in
numerous voters being incorrectly assigned to the wrong polling places in the
Voter Education team distributed over 500 copies of Facts for Voters, a flyer listing names and contact information for
all elected officials in James City County, Williamsburg, and York County as
well as top officials in the Commonwealth.
Also included is information on voter registration.
Voter Registration volunteers visited high schools, community colleges, and senior
residences in the early fall in preparation for November 2018election, repeating these efforts again in
the spring to register additional students.
270 subscribers, both League and community members, participated in our Great Decisions, our signature foreign affairs lecture series, with topics on: Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics; Nuclear Negotiations; US-Mexico Partnership; Regional Disorder in the Middle East; Rise of Populism in Europe; US-China Trade; State of US Diplomacy; Refugees and Global Migration. The 8 lectures were presented on Tuesday mornings in February and March 2019.
Violence Prevention event on May
13, 2019, attended by 58 members and friends, featured an update on the
status of various legislative initiatives to curb gun violence and increase gun
presented public panel on January 24, 2019, discussing “Medicaid: Bridging the
Cost of Health Care,” that included 4 healthcare professionals, economists, and
community agency heads.
dozen League members attended an
April 26 Legislative Wrap-up Session hosted by the Greater Williamsburg
Chamber & Tourism Alliance and featuring comments by Senator Monty Mason
and Delegate Brenda Pogge.
On October 3, The Virginia Gazette, published the League President’s substantive commentary articulating the League’s mission and commitment to Voter Education. The article called for civic and political involvement and urged informed voting in the midterm elections. The timing of this article was prompted by the fact that the League was unable to host traditional pre-election Candidate Forums lacking the required participation of all candidates for each position.
Advocacy and Action groups on Election Integrity, Gun Safety Legislative
Reform, and Civics Education in fall 2018.
Schilling spoke in support of the Equal Rights Amendment at a January 9, 2019,
meeting of the James City County Board of Supervisors.
the May 2019 LWV-VA Convention, our League was awarded Third Place in the
Advocacy Competition, measuring the number of individual advocacy initiatives based
on membership size. This is the second
year we have placed third out of 13 Leagues across the Commonwealth.
members joined students and community members for the March 23 March to End Gun Violence, hearing
remarks by students, elected officials, and other community organizers for
sensible gun reform.
Seven members (6 Board) attended the LWV-VA Council Meeting on June 16, 2018, in Henrico, with information shared on state positions and other priorities.
President, Vice President, and Immediate Past President attended the July 2018 Biennial
LWVUS Convention in Chicago, among 1,000 members from across the country.
President Katherine Rowe spoke to 150 members and guests at our Fall Reception
at Legacy Hall on October 10, 2018.
members attended the LWV-VA Fall Workshop Day at Colonial Williamsburg
Conference Center on September 8, 2018, were who participated in training on advocacy
members participated in the W&M Homecoming Parade on October 19, 2018, riding
in a red convertible and marching, carrying banners celebrating W&M’s 100
years of admission of women and encouraging parade viewers to vote in November
6 Midterm Election in an effort to Empower Voters, Defend Democracy.
November 10, 2018, 12 members attended opening day at Tenacity: Women in
Jamestown and Early Virginia at the
Jamestown Settlement museum.
members attended the November 19, 2018,all-day symposium on the Equal Rights
Amendment, featuring law school faculty, elected officials and others.
members attended the LWV-VA December 5, 2018, Pre-session Roundtable in
Richmond to hear speakers, lobbyists and representatives of non-profits who
highlighted upcoming proposed bills in 2019 General Assembly.
members attended the annual Holiday Reception at Schilling home on December 6,
On January 19, 2019, members participated in an ERA Women’s March on DOG Street, featuring elected officials and non-profit speakers, with League members marching and carrying LWV-WA and ERA banners.
From January 31, 2013 to January 31, 2019, our League doubled in membership, from 100 to 200. Current membership is at 232 — and still growing.
Our League was the most consistent League with the largest number of members participating in the Women’s Legislative Roundtable. The six Wednesday morning sessions during General Assembly featured Delegates and non-profit lobbyists discussing bills being forwarded through committees and to the floors of the House and the Senate. League members sitting in the Senate gallery were recognized at League Day, February 6, 2019.
Our April 4, 2019 New Member Orientation Reception at Schilling’s home drew 17 of our newest members to learn more about the League from Board members and to get acquainted with one another.
Eleven Voting Delegates and 3 Observers participated in the May 17-19, 2019, LWV-VA Convention in Norfolk with outstanding speakers and breakout sessions, bringing together Leaguers from across the Commonwealth.