• League of Women Voters and Rachel's Action Network Joint Event March 12, 2014

    This post is part of “Celebrating Women: Past, Present & Future,” the League’s series honoring Women’s History Month.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt, League of Women Voters

    This post is part of “Celebrating Women: Past, Present & Future,” the League’s series honoring Women’s History Month.

  • League of Women Voters Voter Registration Buttons

    EDITORIAL NOTE: This guest blog was written by Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio

  • Members of the League of Voters, Wheaton IL at the Iowa Caucus

    EDITORIAL NOTE: This blog was written by our intern, Kelsey Greenagel

    I am currently a college sophomore interning at the League of Women Voters’ national office in Washington, D.C. Many people in the office were surprised to learn that this is not my first time working with the League.

  • Online Voter Registration: Improving Access to Voting

    EDITORIAL NOTE: This blog post was originally posted on President Elisabeth MacNamara's Huffington Post blog.

  • TAKE ACTION: Stop Dark Money and Protect the League

    UPDATE: Please note that the action period for these comments is now closed.

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  • LEAGUE CALLS ON IRS TO STOP “DARK MONEY”

    Protection for Truly Nonpartisan Voter Service Essential

    Washington, DC – Today, the League of Women Voters of the United States submitted comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for 501(c)(4) organizations. League President Elisabeth MacNamara urged the IRS to “keep pushing to stop the secret ‘dark money’ that has been polluting our elections since Citizens United, while at the same time protecting truly nonpartisan work to provide the public with unbiased voter information.”

    “The League is commenting on the proposed new IRS rule for two critical reasons,” said MacNamara. “The health of our democracy demands that we rein in the secret ‘dark money’ election spending unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. The IRS proposal is a step in the right direction,” she said. “At the same time, any new regulations must continue to allow truly nonpartisan voter service activities by groups like the League,” according to MacNamara.

    “Since Citizens United, our nation has seen a huge explosion in the sums of money being raised and spent by 501(c)(4) organizations – social welfare organizations – to elect or defeat candidates for public office,” said MacNamara. “This practice is not only contrary to the law regulating how much political activity is allowed by these organizations, but it is done in the dark. The money is not disclosed to the public, which leaves voters unable to judge the credibility and motivation of the advertising and campaigning by these groups.”

    “Reforming IRS regulations is our best opportunity to stem the tide of secret cash,” MacNamara said. “The IRS can halt the abuse in its tracks by stopping 501(c)(4) organizations from spending on ‘candidate-related political activity.’ The League urges the IRS to move as soon as possible with a rigorous and clear definition of ‘candidate-related political activity’ which would be barred for (c)(4) organizations,” she said.

    “However, the new IRS proposal is too broad, because it would undermine truly nonpartisan voter service activities like those carried out by the League,” MacNamara said. “We urge the IRS to use the standards currently applied to (c)(3) organizations governing nonpartisan election activities and apply them to (c)(4) organizations as well,” she said.

    “With nearly 800 local and 50 state Leagues, we conduct truly nonpartisan debates, publish unbiased voter guides, register voters of all political persuasions, and work actively in communities across the nation to encourage all citizens to vote,” MacNamara said. “In fact, in many communities, the Leagues’ voter information is the only truly nonpartisan information available to the public. Unbiased and nonpartisan voter service activities deliver tremendous value to voters, potential voters and our democracy. Thus we believe that truly nonpartisan voter service and voter education activities by a 501(c)(4) organization must be clearly and explicitly allowed,” she said.

    “The League commends the IRS for addressing the dark money issue. They must fix that problem while protecting truly nonpartisan voter service and voter education activities. Though the IRS has been attacked from both sides of the political spectrum, we urge the IRS to do what is right,” MacNamara concluded.

    Contact: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  •  COMMISSION RECOMMENDS ELECTION CHANGES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

    "Lots of work to do,” Says League

    Washington, D.C. – This morning, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) will present their report to a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing entitled, “Bipartisan Support for Improving U.S. Elections: An Overview from the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.” In September 2013, the League submitted testimony to PCEA that urged the Commission to consider a five-point reform agenda as part of its recommendations.

    “This is a solid and comprehensive report with many recommendations for action that will improve how elections are run in America,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “League members around the country can use key parts of the PCEA report in their ongoing efforts to improve the voting process and protect voters.”

    “The Commission’s benchmark that no voter waits longer than 30 minutes to vote sets an important goal for every polling place in the country,” MacNamara added. “The PCEA toolkit on polling place management should help elections officials allocate and distribute resources within communities to fix the very long wait times many voters faced in 2012.”

    “The Commission’s call for online voter registration is also a positive step, but the accessibility of these systems continues to be a major concern,” noted MacNamara. “A shortcoming of PCEA’s report is the failure to recognize that most of the systems adopted in the states leave out a significant and important part of the population – citizens who don’t have a driver’s license or non-driver’s ID. This limitation is unnecessary and will substantially reduce the effectiveness of online registration. For example, young people are much less likely than the general population to have a driver’s license – and young people are also much less likely to be registered to vote. We are concerned about the discriminatory effect,” added MacNamara.

    “The Commission’s recommendation urging Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to transmit voter information electronically to elections officials is a good one but the League believes this should be extended to all social service agencies that register voters as well,” MacNamara said. “Such expansion would enable officials to eliminate costly and time consuming steps in election administration, reduce errors, and increase the ease and convenience of the elections process for both their workers and for voters.”

    “Additionally, the report’s discussion of the need to professionalize the election workforce is long overdue,” said MacNamara. “Both this recommendation and PCEA’s call to take politics out of the administration of America’s elections should be given serious consideration and attention.”

    “There’s lots of work to do to fix our election systems, and the Commission report is an important boost to those efforts,” concluded MacNamara.

    CONTACT: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org

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    Like” the League on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter: @LWV.

    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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