Over 1,100 delegates across America joined the virtual convention and stayed through the inevitable Zoom challenges to discuss, debate, and vote. We welcomed in a new board, led by incoming president, Dr. Deborah Turner, of the Des Moines Metropolitan League. Dr. Turner has served on the Finance committee, Governance Committee, and chaired the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, in addition to chairing the Board of Trustees of the League of Women Voters Education Fund. The new LWVUS Board.
Finances: the LWVUS is in good shape with 6 months of operating expenses in reserves. Per Member Payments was held at $32. There was a lengthy discussion on whether or not to admit students for free, what the definition of a student should be and whether this discriminates against young people who go straight into the workforce or an apprenticeship. They retained the definition of student, full time or part time at an accredited institution, which could be a trade school. The local League does not pay PMP for students, but the local League can set dues at any level.
Program Motions Adopted:
- A non-recommended item, the abolition of the electoral college by Constitutional amendment as a LWVUS action focus for the 2020-2022 biennium. The motion PASSED on 681 yay, 458 nay votes (There was a debate that this undermined current LWVUS action for the National Popular Vote.)
- Concurrence on the Transfer of Federal Public Land. The motion PASSED on 885 yay, 207 nay votes (There was debate that LWVUS should focus on voting issues)
- Voter Representation/Electoral Systems Concurrence to support electoral systems at each level of government that encourage participation, are verifiable and auditable and enhance representation for all voters be adopted. The motion PASSED on 1064 yay, 79 nay votes
- To retain all current LWVUS positions in the areas of representative government, international relations, natural resources and social policy. The motion PASSED on 1157 yay, 25 nay votes
- The proposed LWVUS program for 2020-2022 Campaign for Making Democracy Work®: ensuring 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 and to continue to work on urgent issues: Climate Change, the Equal Rights Amendment, Health Care, Gun Safety, Abolition of the Electoral College and Immigration. The motion PASSED on 1139 yay, 30 nay votes
- We resolve that the LWVUS reaffirms our commitment to Immigration reform, for efficient, expeditious immigrant entry into the United States. The League stands in solidarity with immigrants and our immigrant rights community partners. Congress must take immediate action to pass common sense, fair immigration policies that end the crisis at our borders, end the separation of families, ensure their health and safety, and provide a clear path to citizenship, including DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) young people. The motion PASSED on 1,092 yay, 12 nay votes
- We Resolve First, That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes; We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. The motion PASSED on 1094 yay, 32 nay votes
- Resolved, that the LWVUS calls for an immediate, wide-scale, mobilization by the United States, to restore, protect and fund an ecologically sustainable environment and climate, based on an interrelated approach that is environmentally sound, science based, just and equitable, dedicated to adequately addressing the scale and speed of the global climate change emergency. The motion PASSED on 1,091 yay, 21 nay votes
Resolutions Committee Report The resolutions committee was presented with five resolutions. They ruled that two of them did not fit the criteria for resolutions. We passed the other three – see above.
Contributed by LWV Newton delegates Bonnie Carter and Lucia Dolan