• “If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.”

     Washington, D.C. – Today, the League of Women Voters sent a letter urging President Obama, to takes steps to lead the world in the face of the greatest environmental challenge of our generation:  climate change.  Specifically, the League asked the President to use his existing regulatory powers to control industrial carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

    “The world has known about climate change for decades, yet little has been done to address the issue,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national League President.  “People are dying because of climate change.  Our families, our communities and our planet are all threatened by it.”

    The League’s letter uses the President’s own words to make the point that action is needed now.

    “Climate change is not a hoax. More drought and floods and hurricanes and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And we can do something about it.”

    - President Barack Obama, September 2012

    The League notes that past Congressional action on climate change has been stymied by special interests but that the President has the authority to take action himself, with his existing regulatory authority

    “With the current gridlock in Congress, it seems impossible that any legislative action will be taken to protect our health and our planet.  President Obama, you can do this by yourself, without a second-guessing Congress or a nay-saying Supreme Court. In fact, the Supreme Court has already said that the Administration can move forward under the Clean Air Act to cut this life-threatening pollution,” MacNamara said.

    “President Obama, if you don’t do it, it won’t get done,” concluded MacNamara. “If the United States doesn’t lead, the rest of the world cannot follow.”

    Contact Kelly Ceballos at kceballos@lwv.org to find out more or to schedule an interview.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    www.lwv.org
    December 14, 2012

    NEW SOOT STANDARD: VERY IMPORTANT WIN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

    Washington, DC - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-awaited air quality standards for fine particles that come from power plants, oil refineries, boilers and diesel trucks and buses. The new rule is set at a level to protect against asthma attacks, heart disease, lung disease and premature death.  Also known as the “soot standard,” this new rule is a very important win for public health and the environment.

    National President of the League of Women Voters, Elisabeth MacNamara said, “The EPA’s new rule is essential to protect the health of our children and seniors. Fine particles from power plants, oil refineries and other sources can lodge deep in the lungs and cause asthma attacks, heart disease and premature death. Continued enforcement of the Clean Air Act is the most important step we can take to protect public health and fight the ill-effects of global climate change.”

    “We congratulate the Obama Administration for putting people before polluters," concluded MacNamara. "We are proud that the EPA stood against special interests and big polluters to take this important step in protecting the health of the American people – a step that will also help stop climate change.”

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

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact: Kelly Ceballos

    www.lwv.org                                                                            202-263-1331

    November 9, 2012                                                                  kceballos@lwv.org

     

    Supreme Court Set to Review Voting Rights Act

    Statement by Elisabeth MacNamara, National President of the League of Women Voters

     Washington, D.C. – Today, the Supreme Court decided to review the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.  In a week when American democracy was on display for all the world, this action by the Court is a huge step in the wrong direction. 

    The Voting Rights Act is an essential part of American democracy.  The thought that the Supreme Court might overrule Congress and take away voting rights should send a chill down the spine of every American.

    The Voting Rights Act ensures that every American has an equal right to vote.  With the problems in our election system exposed once again this week, the Supreme Court should be enforcing voting rights, not taking them away.

    Contact Kelly Ceballos at kceballos@lwv.org to find out more or to schedule an interview.

    ###

    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.  VOTE411.org is the place to go for the election information you need.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           Contact:        Kelly Ceballos

    www.lwv.org                                                                                                  202-263-1331

    November 6, 2012                                                                                         kceballos@lwv.org

     

    ELECTION DAY 2012: VOTERS TAKE CHARGE

    Count all the Votes

    Statement by Elisabeth MacNamara, National President of the League of Women Voters

    Washington, D.C. – “Today is Election Day and it is the day that the pollsters pack their bags and the voters cast their ballots.  Voters, especially those in New Jersey and New York, deserve to be applauded for their deep commitment to voting and for their patience and perseverance.  Voters everywhere have shown real dedication by voting early, standing in long lines when necessary, and making sure their voices were heard.  Voters clearly understood just how much is at stake.

    “It looks like the 2012 elections will be close.  This means that everyone should be patient while elections officials count all the votes.  State laws vary on the timing and process for counting ballots including how to handle absentee, mail-in, emergency, affidavit and provisional ballots.  It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the votes of all eligible voters are counted.  

    If it takes time to count all the eligible ballots, this doesn’t signify a failure of the elections process. It is democracy in action.  This is our democracy, the best in the world.  We want an accurate count, not a fast count.

    “The many organizations that encouraged voter participation and helped people navigate the hurdles throughout the election process also deserve praise.  Voters turned out, to what level we will have to wait and see, but voters clearly want a say in the future of their communities.

    In keeping with the organization’s 92-year-old tradition, League volunteers registered tens of thousands of new voters this year and advocated tirelessly for fair, free and accessible elections for all voters.  And voters turned to the League’s election site VOTE411.org for reliable, nonpartisan information on polling locations, the candidates and more.  VOTE411.org served more than two million voters throughout the 2012 election cycle.

    “While we are aware that there have been problems at the polls today, it remains to be seen how widespread they will turn out to be.  Today, as with early voting, unplanned turnout around the country is causing long lines and is testing the capacity of the election system, which may slow the reporting of results in certain places.  It is the counting of the votes that is now the most important thing.

    Contact Kelly Ceballos at kceballos@lwv.org to find out more or to schedule an interview.

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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.  VOTE411.org is the place to go for the election information you need.

     

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               Contact:        Kelly Ceballos

    www.VOTE411.org                                                                                         202-263-1331

    November 5, 2012                                                                                            kceballos@lwv.org

     ARMING VOTERS WITH INFORMATION BEST DEFENSE AGAINST CONFUSION

    League’s VOTE411.org Provides Comprehensive Election Information

    Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters has been and continues to be on the front lines of democracy. “We’ve fought restrictive voting laws – with great success - over the past few years,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national League President. “Ultimately, our goal is an electoral process that is open to all and is free, fair and accessible.”

    “As we prepare for Election Day 2012 tomorrow,” added MacNamara, “we are worried that in the wake of our success against attempts to keep eligible voters out of the process in most states, voter confusion could perhaps be left in its place.” 

    “In places like Wisconsin, where our state League and other voting rights groups sued and successfully kept a restrictive voter ID requirement off the books for this election, voters and poll workers alike may be confused about what they need to do and have with them on Election Day,” MacNamara noted.

    “In Pennsylvania, voters are not required to show photo ID law on Tuesday but the law will be considered again after the 2012 elections.  Confusing ads run by the state alerted voters that they could still be asked for ID on November 6th even though they didn’t need to show one.  This is not the way to run an election and a judge agreed asking the state to stop such ads that could contribute to voter confusion at the polls.”

    “Similar scenarios have been playing out in key battleground states over the past few weeks and months,” MacNamara said. “What we have been trying to do is arm voters with the information they need. Visit the League’s election resource www.VOTE411.org to find your polling place, general and state-specific information on early voting, absentee balloting, voting requirements and candidate information.”  Multiple studies have shown that many potential voters stay home on Election Day not due to lack of interest, but rather lack of basic information about voting. Lack of knowledge is a particularly major factor contributing to lower voting rates among young Americans, minorities, those without college degrees, and Americans living overseas.

    “This may be the most important election of our lifetime,” urged MacNamara.  “Our future is on the line: jobs and economic stability, the health of our families, the sustainability of our environment and quality education.”

    In keeping with the organization’s 92-year-old tradition, League volunteers nationwide have registered tens of thousands of new voters this year and are now promoting important educational information through printed and online voters’ guides and hundreds of local and state candidate debates. The League has also advocated tirelessly for fair, free and accessible elections for all voters and will be watching conditions closely on Election Day.  Contact Kelly Ceballos at kceballos@lwv.org to find out more or to schedule an interview.

     Like” the League’s VOTE411 on Facebook.   Follow us on Twitter: @VOTE411. 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.  VOTE411.org is the place to go for the election information you need.

  • League Site Provides Candidate Information for Every Locality Nationwide

    Washington – (November 2, 2012) As time closes in on Election Day, the League of Women Voters announced today that its national voter education website, www.VOTE411.org, now has national, state and local candidate information available for every locality nationwide. The website, which has served millions of voters since 2006, also features a national polling place locator as well as important information to help voters prepare to cast a vote. 

    “We are pleased to announce that voters everywhere can now use VOTE411 to find out who will be on their ballot this year,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national League of Women Voters president. “Even if we think we know all there is to know about the candidates at the top of the ticket, many of us still aren’t sure who we will be choosing between for other important offices like U.S. House and Senate or state legislature.”

    “From the president all the way down to our local school boards, our elected officials have incredible influence over the issues and policies that affect our families and communities most. Election Day is our chance to weigh in and take control over what is most important to us.”

    Voters can visit www.VOTE411.org and enter their address to find candidate and other information, including where to vote on Election Day. In addition to naming every candidate for federal and state office, hundreds of communities also feature detailed candidate issue statements gathered by League volunteers nationwide.

    Multiple studies have shown that many potential voters stay home on Election Day not due to lack of interest, but rather lack of basic information about voting. Lack of knowledge is a particularly major factor contributing to lower voting rates among young Americans, minorities, those without college degrees, and Americans living overseas.

    In keeping with the organization’s 92-year-old tradition, League volunteers nationwide have registered tens of thousands of new voters this year and are now promoting important educational information through printed and online voters’ guides and hundreds of local and state candidate debates. The League has also advocated tirelessly for fair, free and accessible elections for all voters and will be watching conditions closely on Election Day.  Contact Kelly Ceballos at kceballos@lwv.org to find out more or to schedule an interview.

     

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2012

     

    CONTACTS:        Barbara Zia (LWV SC)/ 803/251/2726

                              ziab1@comcast.net

                              Kelly Ceballos (LWV US)/ 202 263 1331

                              KCeballos@lwv.org


      THREE-JUDGE PANEL BLOCKS SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER PHOTO ID LAW FOR 2012

     Court Decision Based on Expansive Interpretation of Law

     Today, a U.S. Federal District Court blocked implementation of South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law for the November 6th general election, giving South Carolina voters a big victory.  

    The federal three-judge panel approved the law for elections thereafter, but did so under an expansive interpretation of the law.  Specifically, in future elections, voters who do not have a required form of photo ID will still be able to vote so long as they sign an affidavit stating the reason for not having obtained a photo ID.

    “We are pleased that this court has applied common sense and blocked the state of South Carolina from requiring photo ID from all eligible voters on November 6th.  We believe it would have caused too much confusion at the polls for voters and poll workers alike,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS).  “In addition, the court has interpreted the law in such a way that voters will not absolutely be required to show a photo ID in order to vote in later elections, in 2013 and beyond. This is a victory for voting rights.”

    The League in South Carolina and other states around the country will continue to fight against restrictive voting laws. “We are cautiously optimistic about today’s decision,” stated Barbara Zia, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.  “Voting is the one time all citizens have an equal say in molding our collective future here in South Carolina and across this great country. Barriers such as photo ID threaten that equality.  We will work to ensure that the law is applied fairly and let voters know that a photo ID is not required in 2012.”

    “Politicians should not be allowed to manipulate election laws for their own personal gain. It is time for us to move beyond the rhetoric and work to pass laws that will ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote and will have their vote counted without any barriers. Nothing less than protecting America’s great democracy is at stake,” concluded Zia.

    Originally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) denied preclearance to South Carolina’s restrictive photo voter ID law. The League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) joined the lawsuit in support of the DOJ decision.

     


     

     

  •  

    Photo ID Will Not Be Required to Vote on November 6, 2012

    Washington, DC [Oct. 2, 2012] - Today is good day for democracy with yet another victory for voting rights. A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge ruled that photo ID will not be required at the polls on November 6th.  

    “This is an important victory for all Pennsylvanians,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national League President.  “A significant barrier to voting has been removed for this important general election.”

    “Hundreds of thousands of eligible voters will now have access to the polls without any unnecessary barriers,” said Olivia Thorne, PA State League President. “Now we can focus our work on registering and informing the state’s voters.”

    “The League of Women Voters throughout Pennsylvania will continue registering voters until the deadline on October 9th,” said Thorne.  “In the few weeks that remain between today and Election Day, it will be important that all voters and the election workforce realize that photo ID is not required to vote on November 6th.  We urge everyone with computer access to visit SmartVoter.org, our online Voters Guide, to learn more about the candidates running for office and who they can vote for in this coming election. ”

    “We live in the world’s greatest democracy and our voting systems should remain free, fair and accessible. Today’s decision helps us guarantee that right for all voters,” concluded MacNamara.

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

  •  

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   CONTACT: Stephanie Drahan

    September 12, 2012                                                     202-263-1332, SDrahan@lwv.org


    As election season heats up, League of Women Voters President testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on restrictive voting laws

    WASHINGTON, DC – Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the continuing importance of the Voting Rights Act, and the importance of keeping our voting system free, fair and accessible to all eligible Americans.

    In her written testimony, MacNamara points out that, “Since 2011 we have seen a huge increase in the number of new restrictive voting laws enacted at the state level…These new laws and practices require restrictive forms of photo ID and/or proof of citizenship in order to vote, they restrict independent voter registration drives, decrease early voting, wrongfully purge eligible voters and eliminate Election Day registration. And they create confusion for voters and poll workers alike.

    “What is especially disappointing is that politicians too often are imposing these restrictions on voting rights in order to manipulate the electorate for their own political gain. This is wrong. This is the real threat to the integrity of our elections.

    “There is remarkably little evidence of voter-impersonation fraud, which an ID requirement might block,” MacNamara continues. “The greater threat to the integrity of our elections is that restrictive requirements block eligible voters from voting. And there is clear evidence of that problem.”

     MacNamara provides numerous examples of eligible voters who have been impacted by new state-level restrictions on the right to vote. From an elderly woman in Tennessee to a veteran in Wisconsin, keeping any eligible voters from participating in the process is undemocratic and un-American. These examples can be found in MacNamara’s submitted testimony.

     MacNamara adds, “It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the judiciary in protecting our voting rights. Both federal courts and state courts have invalidated voter suppression laws and the Department of Justice has cautiously applied the Voting Rights Act in challenging illegal schemes, pre-clearing less-restrictive photo ID requirements while blocking the most restrictive.

     “These voter suppression measures are costly, unnecessary and undemocratic. If the states are unable or unwilling to protect the rights of every eligible citizen to vote, the federal government must step in to ensure these rights are protected,” MacNamara concludes.

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

     

  • Court agrees with League of Women Voters and Department of Justice
    Voter Photo ID is discriminatory

    (August 30, 2012) Today, a U.S. Federal District Court has agreed with the League of Women Voters and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the Texas voter photo identification law violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the law does have a discriminatory effect.  The federal three-judge panel rejected the state of Texas’ arguments seeking to overturn a Department of Justice decision to deny pre-clearance of Texas’ photo voter ID law. The League of Women Voters of Texas (LWVTX) joined the lawsuit in support of the DOJ decision.

    “The importance of this case cannot be overstated: It is a landmark decision for voting rights in America,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS). The League in Texas and other states around the country will continue to fight against these restrictive voting laws. This decision helps us ensure America’s elections treat all citizens equally, and are free, fair and accessible.”

    “We are thrilled with today’s decision. The court has upheld our most basic and fundamental right by siding with common sense and this decision will help ensure that the world’s leading democracy provides for equality at the voting booth,” stated Linda Krefting, President of the League of Women Voters of Texas.

    This marks another voting rights victory for the League and its partners in recent months. The groups have been successful in helping to block implementation of voter suppression laws in numerous states nationwide.

    “Time and again these laws have been found to be illegal. These new restrictive voting laws should not be enacted in any state. We cannot allow politicians to manipulate election laws for their own personal gain. It is time for us to move beyond the rhetoric and work to pass new laws that will ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can vote and will have their vote counted without any barriers. Nothing less than protecting America’s great democracy is at stake,” concluded MacNamara.

    It is widely anticipated that today’s decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

     

     

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