Do We Need Civics Education?

YES! says the League of Women Voters.

Civics education is integral to the future of our democracy.  

Over 20 years ago, the League of Women Voters launched Making Democracy Work®, a campaign focusing on five key indicators of a healthy democracy. Two of these indicators are civic education and civic participation — because, as a nonpartisan voting rights and democracy policy organization, the League knows civic information and involvement are key to a healthy American democracy.  

At the federal level, LWVUS supports the funding of civic education and educates Congress about its importance. There is even more incredible work conducted by state and local Leagues across the country to support civic education; last year, 63% of Leagues who completed an annual survey indicated that Civic Education is a “current priority” for them.  

The federal government spends $50 per student per year on STEM education and only five cents…on civics.

LWVUS decided to delve more into the stories behind the data and learn from a handful of Leagues about their work and motivation to bring better civic engagement to their communities. Many Leagues highlighted similar motivations to lean into this work; for example, there are real, measurable disparities between federal investment in civics education and other areas of study, like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. The federal government spends $50 per student per year on STEM education and only five cents per student per year on civics. This is especially concerning to Leagues because of the strong connection between civically educated voters and a representative, engaged democracy.  


A Look at American Civics Education

I vaguely remember taking 7th-grade civics when I was 13. I imagine that we covered the structure of the US government and the process of voting for elected officials. But five years later, when I registered to vote for the first time, there was so much I didn’t remember. I didn’t know how to find candidates, which offices I was voting for, or how to stay engaged in developments in my community so that I could make my voice heard on important issues.  

In contrast, other school subjects stand out in my memory to this day. For example, in 6th grade, I completed my first science fair project correlating the temperature of water with the time it took for food coloring to spread. I set up a lab in our kitchen, typed out a 10-page report, presented findings to a panel of judges, and took home a 2nd place award. Part of the reason I remember this in detail is that science education followed me throughout my schooling; there was a science class in every year of my education building on skills learned in previous classes. Comparing one year of civics class in 7th grade to more than 8 years of science classes over the course of primary school, students might get the impression that civics is not important. 

This example is anecdotal, but it reflects a real, measurable disparity between civics education and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in terms of federal investment. The federal government spends $50 per student per year on STEM education while spending only five cents per student per year on civics.  

The funding of STEM education is an incredibly important investment, and my experience in the 6th-grade science fair led me to advanced science classes in high school and a Chemistry minor in college. But while I still use some of the skills imparted by STEM education, like strategic thinking and a curiosity about the world, I also wonder if a more robust civics education would have empowered me to start voting sooner than I did at age 23. Looking to the impressive results of investing in STEM, like expanding access to STEM education for girls and students of color, one vision for the future of civics education is that we could invest similarly in this subject to foster empowered and civically-minded Americans. 

What is Civics Education? 

The CivXNow coalition, of which the League of Women Voters of the United States is a member, outlines that: 

 “Civics education covers the study of the rights and obligations of citizens in society by teaching politics, law, American history, and closely related subjects and disciplines. Additionally, civics education can mean hands-on opportunities for students to put learning into practice such as service learning, clubs, and/or opportunities for students to participate in school governance.” 

 All students have the right to a comprehensive civics education that prepares them to take part in our democracy. 

What Might a More Robust Civics Education Look Like?

The Civics Secures Democracy Act [HR1814] [S4384] was introduced in the US Senate earlier this year, with similar bills in the House, to fill some of the gaps in civics education. The bill would invest in states to support the expansion of civics curriculums and allow states to create programs tailored to their students’ needs, expanding civics knowledge and preparing students to be actively engaged in democracy. Notably, this is a bipartisan effort sponsored by Senators Coons, Cornyn, King, Inhofe, Kelly, and Cassidy and represents a shared value to cultivate civically engaged youth. The League supports bringing the Civics Secures Democracy Act for debate and passage to promote an informed population through K-12 education around the country.  

With this proposed investment, schools can offer students a more comprehensive civics education. Expanding civics education looks like going beyond civic knowledge, like history and politics, to include actionable skills and community values. It can do so through both a concrete curriculum and the incorporation of democracy into a school’s climate, culture, and leadership. This work envisions a country where more young people vote and discuss politics fluently, volunteer in their communities, and advocate for their values with their elected representatives.  

What is the Connection Between Civics Education and Democracy?

As the name of the Civics Secures Democracy Act indicates, civics and democracy are integrally linked. An informed and civically knowledgeable population can work together to achieve a more fair society and confidently lead the future of our democracy. Our legislators and education departments must ensure that future generations understand the workings of our country’s government and its history. Offering civics education at all levels is essential to fulfilling our obligation to secure our democracy.  

Over 20 years ago, the League of Women Voters launched its campaign Making Democracy Work®, focusing on five key indicators of a healthy democracy: voter participation, campaign finance reform, diversity of representation, civic education and knowledge, and civic participation. As a nonpartisan voting rights and democracy policy organization, the League values equipping future generations with the tools to inherit and lead a healthy American democracy. 

Civics Education and the Midterms 

The time is always right to equip young people with the tools to take part in our democracy. It is also particularly timely to examine how civics education is prioritized as we near midterm elections. Effective civics education yields increased participation in elections, which is the best way to ensure that our elected leadership reflects the values of the population.  

Make an Election Plan at VOTE411.org

There is a lot on the line in the upcoming midterms. Electing candidates who champion a free and fair democracy is as important as ever, and the midterms are just as important as presidential elections in advancing our democracy.  

For election information, you can use VOTE411.org to make your voting plan! VOTE411 provides the information that voters need to participate in every election successfully. Whether it’s local, state, or federal, voting in every election is vital to ensuring our laws and policies reflect the values and beliefs of our communities. 


Civics Education in Oregon

The Oregon Student Mock Election is an exciting experience-based educational program that involves participating students in the electoral process and demonstrates the importance of voting.

Students will vote for candidates and measures on an abbreviated Mock Election Ballot created just for them. All Oregon students, grades 6-12, are eligible.

For more information see: https://civicslearning.org/

People Not Politicians Ballot Measure

From the People Not Politicians coalition.

What is redistricting?

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the lines that define political districts. For legislative and congressional districts, this typically occurs after the completion of the federal census every ten years. Redistricting should change districts to more accurately reflect the changes in population and interests of constituents.

Learn more HERE.

Current Oregon Process

Every 10 years, the US Census requires that states must re-draw legislative and congressional electoral districts to account for population changes. Currently, these legislative and congressional districts in Oregon are drawn by legislators and subject to a veto by the Governor.

Redistricting in Oregon

  • New district lines based on the 2020 census will be especially important because Oregon is projected to gain a sixth U.S. congressional seat due to population growth.
  • Only four states in the West – including Oregon – don’t have some form of independent redistricting.
  • Only twice since 1911 has the Oregon legislature passed a redistricting plan that became the final adopted plan. Oregon politicians have failed more often than not.

Read more about Oregon’s history of redistricting.

The League of Women Voters of Oregon and Redistricting.

Position statement on Redistricting – Adopted 2007

Congressional and legislative redistricting should advance the fundamental purposes of representative democracy and a republican form of government by affording the people a meaningful choice in electing their representatives and holding the government accountable to the people. The League of Women Voters of Oregon believes that the Oregon legislative and congressional redistricting system should be efficient, adequately funded, based on well-defined criteria, subject to a reasonable and effective timetable, and have an open and public process.

  1. Any redistricting plan should assure that voters are effectively able to hold their public officials accountable, responsible, and responsive, and be based on the following criteria:
    1. Adhere to all federal constitutional and legal requirements, such as that every district should have equal population, be contiguous, and meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act;
    2. Promote competitiveness and partisan fairness;
    3. Consider other criteria, such as respect for political subdivisions, communities of interest, and geographic barriers.
    4. Any redistricting plan should be developed independently of the Legislature in a nonpartisan manner with substantial public input. The Legislature may be afforded an opportunity to review the plan and accept or reject it.
    5. The Oregon Supreme Court should promptly review and rule on any challenge to a redistricting plan and require adjustments if the criteria have not been met.
    6. Oregon should conduct redistricting only once during each decade following the federal census.

Do you believe in Fair Voter Representation? Volunteer!

The LWVOR is part of and is a leader of the People Not Politicians coalition. You may already know that PNP has refiled its redistricting initiative for 2024 as IP 13 and IP 14. We are preparing for the time when we receive certified ballot titles and begin gathering signatures in earnest for only one of these petitions. Part of our plan is to mail a new petition to many of those voters who signed IP 57 two years ago. To do this we have created an online process to verify the IP 57 signatures with voter registration records and add them to a database. We can then use that database for future mailings and other purposes. You can do this volunteer work from home using your home computer and a website. Very little computer skill is needed for this work, and you may do the work as you have time available. If you can help, please contact Chris Cobey or Norman Turrill.

Election Integrity: One Big Key

False information presents an ongoing threat to elections administration. The National Association of Secretaries of State believes that accurate information, when delivered early and by a trusted messenger, can help prevent the spread of false information.

Did you know?

Oregon’s elections are secure. The voting equipment is never connected to the internet. There are no routers connected to the tabulation system and there never have been.​

Did you know?

Oregon performs post-election reviews after every election that includes a federal or state-wide contest. ​

How does Oregon ensure the results of elections?

The post-election reviews across the state after the November 3, 2020 general election showed conclusively that the results of the election were accurately reported and certified, as they have since Oregon started conducting these audits in 2008. Yo​u can review them here where they are publicly posted for each county​​. 

Oregon law requires random sampling hand counts or risk-limiting audits in all counties following Primary, General, and Special elections. All of Oregon’s 36 county elections officials conducted these reviews, which require hand recounts of ballots, for the 2020 General Elections. All reviews confirmed the certified results.

Forensic audits are not currently a part of conducting elections in Oregon. Although the term “forensic auditing” is widely used and has an accepted definition in fields such as finance and accounting, it does not yet have a uniform definition in regard to elections. In the financial world, forensic audits typically trace issues back to individual transactions or people – this cannot be done in an election, as voters have the right to and expectation of a secret ballot. 

Recent efforts in Arizona and Pennsylvania are not fact-finding missions. Rather, they are based on conspiracy theories and designed to keep dangerous lies about the 2020 election alive to justify future attacks on the freedom to vote. As the U.S. Department of Justice recently warned​, when election records are not under the control of trusted election officials, there are significant security risks.

​For further information on Oregon election laws and post-election procedures:

Is Voter Fraud a problem in Oregon?

No. Oregon elections are secure and protected against voter fraud in all but exceedingly rare instances. In 2020, out of millions of votes cast, residents and local elections officials reported 140 instances of potential voter fraud. Of these 140 cases, four cases were referred to the Oregon Department of Justice and two of those are pending resolution.​

By comparison, in 2018 there were a total of 84 total reports of voter fraud. Two were referred to the Department of Justice. 

A recent review of the vote by mail system by the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office found from 2000-2019 there were approximately 61 million ballots cast. Of those, 38 criminal convictions of voter fraud were obtained. This amounts to a .00006% rate. ​

What controls are in place to protect against cybercriminals?

We closely monitor our systems for suspicious activity and frequently test for vulnerabilities. Our staff are routinely trained on how to appropriately handle suspicious email and other threats to prevent unauthorized access or tampering. 

More specifically, we have programs, policies, and plans in place to address and mitigate security breaches. ​We work with partners such as: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to ensure best practices are used to protect our elections and their supporting systems.​

We practice Defense in Depth​ with administrative, technical, and managerial security controls. Layers of security controls provide several ways of monitoring and responding to malicious access attempts to our systems. Any successful access to our system has been reviewed by multiple security checks and verifications.

We routinely perform threat analysis and risk assessments. Assessments are conducted by internal staff as well as contracted third parties. As a result, we continue to improve security processes and protections to maintain secure, private, and accurate election infrastructure.

​Preventative, Detection, and Response Measures

We use preventative, detection, and response measures including:​

Risk and vulnerability management
Network and endpoint security
Continuous monitoring of systems
Incident management and response planning
Routine security training​

from– https://sos.oregon.gov/elections/pages/security.aspx

New Oregon Postmark Law 

A new law known as the “postmark rule” will ensure that every ballot cast on time gets counted by allowing elections officials to count all ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if they arrive at the elections office up to 7 days later.

What this means:

  • Some ballots that were cast on time may arrive at elections offices after Election Day. So the total number of votes will go up in the days following the election as more votes come in. These are not late votes. Every ballot counted will have been cast on time, which elections officials can verify by a USPS postmark. 
  • This means that election results may take a little longer to compile than in previous years. Even if the results come in a little slower, they will be accurate.
  • The Oregon Legislature passed the new law in 2021.

Oregon Primary Election May 17, 2021

Why Should I Vote?

Every political organization in the U.S. encourages voting, from Republicans to Democrats, to Independents. Here are some links to arguments that many groups make about why voting matters.

https://www.demos.org/research/why-voting-matters-large-disparities-turnout-benefit-donor-class

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/why-voting-matters-motivating-facts/

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/voting-rights/voting-matters/

https://www.campusvoteproject.org/why-student-voters-matter

https://indivisible.org/resource/electoral-politics-101-why-elections-and-voting-matter

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/if-someones-trying-stop-you-you-know-your-vote-matters

Who is Running in Klamath County on May 17?

  1. Primary Schedule (pdf)
  2. Open Positions (pdf)
  3. Dave Henslee, Commissioner Pos 1 (pdf)
  4. Todd J Gessele, Commissioner Pos 1 (pdf)
  5. Allen Headley, Commissioner Pos 1 (pdf)
  6. Brandon Fowler, Commisioner Pos 1 (pdf)
  7. Kelley Minty Morris, Commissioner Pos 2 (pdf)
  8. James C Garland, Commissioner Pos 2 (pdf)
  9. Nathan Bigby, Assessor (pdf)
  10. Rochelle Long, Clerk (pdf)
  11. Karen M Oakes, Justice of the Peace (pdf)
  12. Vickie Noel, Treasurer (pdf)

KLAMATH COUNTY CLERK PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 17th Primary Election

1)Official Drop Sites are on the Klamath County Website. Your ballot must be in box by 8pm on Election Day to be counted. Please check the website or call for hours and availability of the non-24 hour drop sites. https://www.klamathcounty.org/685/Drop-Sites

2) Ballots will be mailed April 27. Postmarks CAN count, if:

a.Signed,

b.Postmarked on or before Election Day,

c.Received by the County Clerk’s Office within seven days after Election Day

3) Ballots will be mailed April 27. The last day to register as a new voter or to change party affiliation is April 26. If a voter changes parties after the original ballots are processed, they may receive two ballots. The first ballot is inactivated and cannot be voted when the second ballot is issued. Please call if you are unclear which ballot to vote.

4) Nobody in Oregon will receive all of the candidates on their ballot. Oregon has a closed primary, this is a nominating election for the major parties. Registered Democrats receive Democratic candidates; registered Republicans receive Republican candidates; nonaffiliated voters receive only those races that are nonpartisan.

5) To observe the election, mandatory observation training is required. Please call or email (elections@klamathcounty.org) to attend training. The election can also be observed Live Stream (no training required) on the Klamath County website. https://www.klamathcounty.org/872/Information

Contact the Klamath County Clerk’s Office, (541) 883-5134 or elections@klamathcounty.org, with any questions.

Find FAQs on the website.

Women Power Democracy

Take a look at the League of Women Voters’ new programmatic focus: Women Power Democracy.

Since the 2020 election, we have seen new barriers to voting and continued attacks on our democracy that require a renewed organizational investment. ‘Women Power Democracy’ is a 4-pronged approach to tackle systemic challenges to voting rights through advocacy, litigation, and organizing. These League-led programs will build more trust in our elections, grow our electorate with equity, create fairness for voter access, and ensure community districting truly reflects our population.

Its components are: 

  • Democracy Truth Project: Countering mis- and disinformation in our government and advancing public understanding of the democratic process;
  • Expand the Franchise: Increasing voter participation, with a focus on underrepresented populations and low-propensity voters;
  • Democracy Defense Fund: Protecting voting rights and advancing a more equitable democracy through advocacy and voter protection efforts; and 
  • People Powered Fair Maps™: Leading with advocacy, public education, and organizing to create transparent, people-powered electoral maps and eliminate gerrymandering during 2021 redistricting. 
  1. The Democracy Truth Project will provide the public with the information and the tools to participate in our democracy and work to restore trust in the political system. With trusted partners including leading scholars who are studying the trends of mis- and disinformation, the League will target vulnerable voters and communities that we know are more susceptible to mis- and disinformation to combat the influx of lies, with trusted and accurate information. At the same time, to build and restore the public trust in our democracy, the League will promote educational resources focused on the foundational elements of a healthy democratic system.

2. The League is dedicated to expanding registration and participation for the New American Majority (the growing demographic of voters that include Americans with limited incomes, communities of color, non-college youth, unmarried women, and new citizens). In 2020, the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) served more than 6 million people with VOTE411 election information, in addition to launching our largest ever get-out-the-vote campaign driving participation among low-propensity female voters. In 2021 and 2022, LWVEF will continue our work to equip all voters with the information and tools they need to make their voices heard in elections. This voter engagement program leverages the League’s wealth of registration, education, and protection resources – particularly the personalized information and voters’ guides available on VOTE411.org. 

3. Our efforts to register, educate, and mobilize voters in the New American Majority must be accompanied by work to protect their voting rights and expand their access through persistent advocacy for a more equitable and inclusive democracy. Following the 2020 election, hundreds of anti-voter bills that disproportionately target Black, brown, and women voters have been introduced in state legislatures around the country. These restrictive voting bills include implementing stricter voter ID laws, restricting votes by mail, limiting voter registration availability, and aggressively purging voters from the rolls. The League is speaking out and fighting back against this national trend and supporting our network of Leagues to educate the public about anti-voter bills in their states and to mitigating the impact of new laws. We are also preparing to participate as necessary in federal or state litigation against new voter suppression bills that are signed into law.

4. People Powered Fair Maps™ is the League’s national redistricting program focused on creating fair political maps in all 50 states and D.C. Since 2019, People Powered Fair Maps (PPFM) has worked to advance a transparent, people-powered redistricting processes that eliminates partisan and racial gerrymandering nationwide. To strengthen our advocacy for improving around /on redistricting, the League is demonstrating the impact of district maps on issues of concern to community members – such as healthcare, transportation, city resources and services, and infrastructure – and encourage the public to get involved. 

The lwv and women voters

While women have been on the front lines of democracy, the League of Women Voters has powered their work for more than a century. Women Power Democracy builds upon the success the League of Women Voters saw in 2020. This work will serve to empower voters and defend our democracy while positioning the League as a continued leader in these areas ahead of the midterm elections in 2022. 

Together, these strategies will advance our vision for a stronger, more representative American democracy. Within each strategy, LWV will coordinate with our network of state and local Leagues, mobilize our members and activists across the country, and collaborate with partner organizations at the national and state levels. Building on the lessons of the 2020 election cycle, the League will focus on repairing the damage to our democracy while expanding the franchise during the midterm election cycle in 2022 and the next presidential cycle in 2024. 

National Democratic Institute: A similar Focus

https://www.ndi.org/what-we-do/gender-women-and-democracy

NDI works to support women to overcome the barriers to their equal and active political participation. These barriers are present at the individual, institutional and socio-cultural levels. For example, at the individual level, women who are actually equally qualified as men talk themselves out of running for office. At the institutional level, political organizations – like parties and legislatures – remain unwelcoming to female colleagues. At the socio-cultural level, the representation by the media of women in leadership, still tends to focus on what they wear, their marital status or their voices, as opposed to their policy positions or competence.

NDI’s focus on women’s political empowerment comes from the belief that democratic resilience requires that political systems and processes take account of the voice and agency of all populations. NDI’s multi-national approach to democratic development reinforces the message that while there is no single democratic model, certain core principles are shared by all democracies. Including women as equal participants in the decision-making that affects their lives and their communities, is both a rights issue and an issue of democratic integrity. 

Milestones for Women in American Politics:

Facts and historical data on women candidates and officeholders

Here’s another long presentation on women in politics:

Election Protection: Working to Advance and Defend Your Right to Vote

Know your rights

Everyone has basic rights under the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws. Learn more about what your rights are, how to exercise them, and what to do when your rights are violated.

Voting Rights

Learn more about how to exercise your voting rights, resist voter intimidation efforts, and access disability-related accommodations and language assistance at the polls. For help at the polls, call the non-partisan Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

The League of Women Voters is a partner member with “866 Our Vote” to help ensure the right of of all voters.

WHAT IS IT?

Election Protection is the nation’s largest and longest-running nonpartisan voter protection coalition. Founded in 2001, Election Protection is anchored by the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and other hotlines that provide support to voters in 11 languages. The Election Protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also carries out its work through voter education, advocacy with election officials, roving poll monitors, and rapid response litigation when necessary to protect the vote.

The 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline is a resource for all eligible voters who seek to participate in the upcoming election for the 7th Congressional district. We are particularly focused on ensuring that voters impacted by the pandemic are able to access absentee ballots and are aware of limited in-person voting opportunities on Tuesday,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Election Protection stands ready to help ensure that voters have the opportunity to exercise the fundamental right to vote.”

Voters can contact the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE with questions or if they encounter problems when seeking to cast their ballots.

The national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition works year-round to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count. Made up of more than 100 local, state and national partners, Election Protection uses a wide range of tools and activities to protect, advance and defend the right to vote.

Election Protection provides Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive information and assistance at all stages of voting – from registration, to absentee and early voting, to casting a vote at the polls, to overcoming obstacles to their participation. Election Protection helps voters make sure their vote is counted through a number of resources, including:

Throughout the election cycle, volunteers provide voter information, document problems they encounter when voting and work with partners and volunteers on the ground to identify and remove barriers to voting. Election Protection focuses on the voter – not on the political horse race – and provides guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of his or her voting choices.

LWVOR 2020 Ballot Measure Positions

The November 3, 2020 general election is coming! And not only candidates are on the ballot. There are several measures that voters will decide on as well.

See more information HERE.

The LWVOR Board takes these positions for Oregon November 2020 ballot measures.


Measure 107: Campaign Finance – SUPPORT 

“Amends Constitution: Allows laws limiting political campaign contributions and expenditures, requiring disclosure of political campaign contributions and expenditures, and requiring political campaign advertisements to identify who paid for them.”

Campaign finance reform has been an issue at all levels of government elections for many years. LWVOR has supported contribution limits for local and state elections whenever there has been the opportunity. This is a referral from the Legislature and is a Constitutional amendment. Until a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision, courts had held that the Constitution’s free-speech provision was contrary to contribution limits.

This ballot measure will make sure that campaign contributions are not speech and that campaign contribution limits may be imposed.


Measure 108: tobacco taxes – SUPPORT

Another legislative referral, that “Increases cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.”

It will help to stop some young people from taking up unhealthful habits. Oregon’s taxes on these items are below those in Washington and California. This will raise the taxes to be on a par with those states.

Measure 109: psilocybin – NO POSITION

“Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities; imposes two-year development period.”

The League has no position to support or oppose this ballot measure.


Measure 110: decriminalizing, then funding addiction treatment – SUPPORT

This measure states, “Provides statewide addiction/recovery services; marijuana taxes partially finance; reclassifies possession/penalties for specified drugs.”

The League has several positions on which to base our support, including:


LWVOR Health Policy, Adult Mental Health in Oregon (1987, 2001, 2008): This position states that the mental health delivery system should include adults with alcohol and drug addiction and that the concept of care, treatment, and support should occur “in the least restrictive environment possible.”


LWVUS Sentencing Policy (2012): Alternatives to imprisonment should be explored and utilized, taking into consideration the circumstances and nature of the crime. LWVUS opposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.”


LWVUS Principle: “No person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.”


There is a long list of organizations working toward racial justice that support this measure. The Board concluded that because people of color make up a disproportionate group of those who are incarcerated, many for drug related charges, the League should stand in solidarity with them in supporting this ballot measure.

Vote 411 website informs voters!

The League of Women Voters was created 100 years ago to support women voters, and all voters. This has remained the first focus of this national organization. Here in Oregon the league has followed in these footsteps.

Here is the LWV Oregon’s web page that gives all the information a voter will need to fully participate in our democracy.

VOTE OREGON

Find more information HERE and HERE.

VOTE411.org is now available in Spanish

Supporting Spanish-speaking voters through VOTE411 has long been a dream at the League, and we are so grateful to the strong partnership of the NALEO Educational Fund (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) team in making this a reality. Together, we’ve made the critical election information that voters rely on available in both English and Spanish.

VOTE411 is expected to support approximately 10 million people in the United States through Election Day on November 3, and having the resources in Spanish makes the information even more accessible. 

With so many changes to election information this cycle, VOTE411 is the best tool to keep voters updated on the changes and to counter misinformation about elections. Just as it did during the primaries, VOTE411 will have alerts in both English and Spanish over coming weeks with any late changes that impact voters.

September is voter registration month, and we know millions of voters will be casting their ballots before November 3. VOTE411 has early and absentee/mail-in voting information for every voter in the country. It’s not too soon to check your registration.

People Not Politicians

Media Statement                           

July 2, 2020

Contact
Norman Turrill, (503) 386-7996

People Not Politicians submit tens of thousands of petition signatures to end gerrymandering in Oregon

SALEM—Today, the People Not Politicians campaign, the broad and diverse coalition that has come together to end gerrymandering in Oregon, submitted tens of thousands of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State for Initiative Petition 57 (“IP57”), just days after filing a lawsuit in Federal Court to ensure that all of the signatures gathered to qualify its redistricting reform initiative for the November 2020 ballot would count. 

“People Not Politicians is committed to ensuring that redistricting reform happens before Oregon draws new maps in 2021. We forged ahead through unprecedented times with an unprecedented signature gathering program, bringing in tens of thousands of petitions from Oregonians in barely over one month,” said Norman Turrill, Chief Petitioner and Chair of the People Not Politicians campaign committee.

“We filed our lawsuit on Tuesday asking the Court to recognize the extreme and unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic that impacted the signature gathering process in Oregon, and to protect our First Amendment rights by reducing the barriers to the ballot,” Turrill continued.

Initiative Petition 57, filed in November 2019, would create the Oregon Citizens Redistricting Commission and put redistricting in the hands of Oregonians, not our politicians. The commission would consist of 12 Oregonians who applied and were selected from qualified applicants – four from the first largest political party, four from the second largest political party, and four others who are third party members or non-affiliated. Major donors to political candidates or parties would not be eligible. Neither would elected-officials, political party officials or their family members. Commissioners would be selected to represent the broad diversity of Oregonians.

After succeeding through multiple politically-motivated legal challenges and delays, the campaign was approved to collect signatures in April, weeks after Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued several emergency orders and the Stay Home, Save Lives program, which, while necessary for public health, effectively ended all possibility of traditional in-person signature gathering efforts.

After weeks of brainstorming and preparation, at the end of May, the People Not Politicians campaign launched a novel, creative and aggressive no-contact signature gathering campaign to collect signatures through direct mail, e-petitions and virtual grassroots communications efforts to qualify for the November ballot.

“Our first priority, of course, has been to ensure the safety and health of all Oregonians during this time and we adhered to the social distancing measures under Governor Brown’s Executive Orders with an abundance of caution,” said Candalynn Johnson, Deputy Campaign Manager for People Not Politicians. “But—democracy doesn’t stop. Redistricting will happen in 2021, and Oregonians deserve a redistricting process that is about the people, not politicians. During this time of unrest, our need to protect and advance the democratic process and ensure all Oregonians are represented is more important than ever.”

The initiative campaign coalition came together in April of 2019 and has been led by the League of Women Voters of Oregon, Oregon Farm Bureau, Common Cause Oregon, the Independent Party of Oregon, NAACP Eugene/Springfield Branch, Taxpayer Association of Oregon, OSPIRG, Oregon’s Progressive Party, and tens of thousands of Oregonians who supported the effort to remove conflicts of interest from drawing of voter lines.

Democracy in a time of Pandemic

Democracy as an ideal and process has always been at the heart of the mission of the LWV. From its incepetion as a way to gain women’s suffrage, the organization has focused on voting rights, and by extension, elections, and thus the whole basis of representative democracy.

In the Spring of 2020, the avenues of democracy have been severely challenged by a global pandemic which has restricted the movement of millions of people. The restrictions have affected every part of the process, from voting and elections, to the US census, on which future representation is counted for Congress. In preparation for a national election in the US and other countries, including South Korea, Israel, and the UK, government leaders have been forced to consider how to invite participation during a near-total social shut-down.

Here are some thoughtful articles on some of these issues in the U.S. The LWV is closely monitoring how the US will promote the workings of our democratic institutions.

In-person voting

From Freedom House: Democracy during a Pandemic

From The Atlantic Magazine

Other articles of interest:

from the University of Nevada

from the Carnegie Endowment

from the Bush Presidential Center

COVID-19 and the Census: from the LWV-US

While Census forms continue to be collected and counted, the Bureau has postponed or suspended operations around in-person survey collection in hard-to-count communities. Depending on guidance from the CDC, they may also delay the deployment of enumerators hired to go door-to-door and collect outstanding survey data from houses that have not completed the survey online, via phone, or by mail. There are still ways for these communities to participate in the census—online, by mail, or by phone—and the League continues to monitor how the census plans to ensure hard to count communities still get included. 

The Census Bureau is being incredibly transparent about the decisions they are making around their operational plan. They continue to hold stakeholder calls, brief officials, and issue guidance to partner organizations who are helping to get out the count! The census timeline is mandated by federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Census Bureau is doing everything in their power to help those living in the United States, fill out their questionnaires in the appropriate time frame. 

Completing the census is about collecting the necessary information to determine funding for our community needs. Census data is used to distribute billions of dollars in funding that goes to ensure that public safety, health facilities, businesses, and communities have the resources they need to take care of their communities. The League is a partner of the Census Counts Campaign which has issued digital guidance on how to turn in-person events into digital ones for those participating in Get Out the Count activities! We have also built out a robust census action kit for individuals and Leagues to use when helping get out the count.  

The most important thing we can do right now is to submit the questionnaire via one of the three ways we’ve already discussed. The second most important thing we can do is to ask our friends, families, and yell across the street to our neighbors—“Have you taken the Census, yet?”  

Let’s stand together, stay at home, and complete the 2020 Census. 

Read an article in Vogue Magazine on this topic.

Standing in line to vote: Spring, 2020

Voting in a Time of Coronavirus: from the LWV-US

The CDC recommendation for social distancing to contain the coronavirus comes at a time when many Americans are preparing to cast their ballots in upcoming primary elections. While voters’ health and that of their communities is paramount, the League of Women Voters still encourages voters to exercise their right to vote! There are many ways for voters to participate in elections while mitigating their risk of exposure.  

Early and Absentee Voting 

Some version of early voting and absentee voting, or vote-by-mail, is available in every state. For people in high-risk categories of the virus, the League of Women Voters encourages these voters to limit their exposure to crowds on Election Day. Even voters who are not high risk and want to do their part to curb the virus should consider these options. The more voters who cast their ballots early, the fewer long lines and crowds we will see on Election Day.  

Local Board of Elections 

If voters have missed their absentee ballot deadlines, they still may be able to vote without going to a busy polling place. Many local boards of election offices can support voters in casting a ballot in person and avoid busy polling places. Voters can find their local board of elections information on the League’s election website VOTE411.org and reach out to learn if this is an option where they live. 

Non-Peak Hours 

We are all familiar with crowds and long lines on Election Day, especially first thing in the morning, over lunch hours, and after work. Voters can limit their interaction with the public by planning to vote during non-peak hours, like the middle of the morning and afternoon.  

VOTE411.org 

The League’s nonpartisan election website VOTE411.org has everything voters need to find out their options for participating in early and absentee voting. VOTE411 will also have special alerts on primary election days highlighting any changes to normal voting procedures, including any last-minute changes to polling locations. The site is a personalized voting information hub where voters can check their registration, find their polling place, see what will be on your ballot, and more.  

Elections and Debates, Coronavirus and Civil Rights: from the LWV-OR

Vote by mail in Oregon

Public health declarations are already affecting our elections. Vote by mail will become more important and our public candidate events are already being revised or cancelled. We are looking at the challenge of collecting initiative signatures.


Vote by Mail Senator Wyden is proposing to mandate national emergency vote-by-mail. The need for it is clear as two states, Louisiana and now Georgia, have delayed their presidential primaries. Oregon has vote-by-mail, with ballot return envelope postage now pre-paid. The League still strongly recommends using the ballot dropboxes instead, as many already do, to keep costs down.


Debates and Events LWVOR Voter Service is adapting by trying to change to virtual debates with distance audiences, looking for ways to give audiences the opportunity to ask questions and listen to candidates remotely. This is challenging as public meeting size limits are getting smaller. The studios we are working with are concerned about how they will sanitize their equipment and some candidates are already cancelling for these much smaller events.