Friday, August 15, 2014

August League News

***Voter Education Alert:

The new requirement for Photo ID for in-person voting needs significant broadcast to the public. Voters who have no Photo ID need to know that a free Photo ID is available at election offices NOW. On August 6th  a sudden change in the regulation has eliminated some Photo IDs – those that are expired for over 12 months. The resulting confusion requires diligence to inform the public. We are planning to make phone calls to Voters who do not have DMV-IDs and possibly no Photo ID.*** 

Do you know someone who does not have a Photo ID? Be sure to tell them that a free Photo ID is available at Election Offices.

November 4th: Election Day
Yes, there is an election on November 4th.

            Election Officers definitely needed: This was just confirmed August 13th.  Please consider being an Election Officer. Some League members are EO veterans. It is a very logical, educational, civic-minded job for League members. Ask Brenda Carswell and Judy Anderson about what they do. The required training is excellent. Call Amy Gambrill at the Prince William Election Office: 703-792-6473 and read information here:

Voter Registration: Many opportunities! And Training!

            Many dates and places are being added to our schedule so there should be a time and place for nearly all of us to help. (We have 39 members including some who have not yet renewed.)
            First, there is voter registration training online that we highly recommend for all members even if you have done it before or just want to be knowledgeable. It only takes about 15 minutes. Once completed you will be well-informed but also listed on the Virginia Department of Elections database as certified. There is NO certificate to print this year even though the instructions may state that. You do
not need to order any voter registration forms – we have plenty.
In-Person training may become available at our Election Offices also.

Expected and possible registration sites:
Sign up to help, please!

NOVA Community College: Manassas
Public Libraries: September and October
Farmers’ Markets: Manassas (Thursdays and Saturdays); Manassas Park (Tuesdays); Tackett’s Mill (Tuesdays)
September 20: 9:30 to 5 = Haymarket Day
September 21: Latino Festival in Manassas: 12 to 5
National Voter Registration Event: Sept. 23 to 30: VRE Stations
October 4th: Manassas Fall Jubilee 10 to 5 PM
Senior Centers and Facilities
Fall and Winter:  High School Seniors


Candidate Information:

1. Candidate Meet and Greet Events and Debates:
Meet and Greets organized with Fairfax League and Loudoun League and with PW Committee of 100. Work is progressing on dates and venues.  Brenda is representing us and AARP on this. Those of most interest to our members and PW area voters would be these:
Sept 18 -  1st District Congressional Candidates (PWC100)
Sept 22 - 10th District  (Sully District Council & LWVFA (Fairfax)
Oct 1  -    10th District  (LWVFA/AAUW) at Clifton Town Hall
Oct 14  -  11th District  (LWV-PWA & AARP) at Westminster.
We will have updates on these this week.

2. Voter Guides, including
Coordinating with Leagues in Fairfax, Loudoun and the Virginia League we will help publish the Voter Guide online that includes the comparison of candidates for the U.S. Senate and Representatives from the 1st, 10th and 11th Congressional Districts. Members of the joint-coordinating committee are writing questions for the candidates. There are also races in the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park for City Council and the Manassas City School Board.

Community Issue Research and Event Participation
Re-Entry and Restoration of Rights Programs
            Needs of inmates preparing to re-enter our community are reported at the Re-entry Council quarterly meetings that Brenda and Carol have been attending. (Please see Brenda’s report of the June 16th meeting.) September 15th is the next meeting.
September 25th is the next Community Resource Fair at the Adult Detention Center where we will again provide Voter Education and Restoration of Voting Rights information including booklets and brochures.
            Another possible site for distributing Restoration of  Felons’ Rights is at offices of the Department of Social Services (DSS). Some DSS offices in Virginia are reporting that some clients choose not to register to vote there because they are released felons whose rights have not been restored.

Human Trafficking:
            Recently Brenda Carswell attended a Human Trafficking forum that included a video of the resulting tragedies and the significant impact that is here – even in our own high schools. More programs for awareness and methods of control are needed. (See her attached report.)
            Trafficking is also a major factor in the current immigration of unaccompanied children from Central America. August 2nd Carol attended a forum at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Woodbridge where panelists clarified how some of these children are cared for in PW County. The movie, “Which Way Home”, showed children traveling without adult family members from Honduras through Mexico on top of trains. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) offers pro bono legal support to determine whether children qualify for asylum. A grassroots coordinator for immigrants’ rights described some advocacy work that the Church World Service does for unaccompanied children.

Outreach at Community Events

            The July 20th Manassas Park Election Expo gave Helen, Brenda and Carol the opportunity to meet members of the Manassas Park community – the General Registrar, electoral board members, city council members and candidates, members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, NAACP members, and candidates for Congress. We shared information on the free Photo ID for Voters who do not have an approved Photo ID, our “They Represent You” brochure, the LWV-VA General Assembly Directory, and our Top Ten card with November 4th election deadlines and the list of candidates.
            August 2nd:  We provided Voter education and at the African-American Heritage Festival at Metz School where Brenda, Helen, and Carol had conversations with at least 100 attendees and again provided our best handouts to them. Candidates and representatives of two political parties stopped at the tent so we were able to explain what voter education materials we are providing. It is great to meet candidates in-person in “neutral’ territory.
AARP kindly shared their booth with us.
We received invitations for joint voter education-related events including helping The Light of Life Church that meets at Stonewall Jackson High with voter registration on August 16th; the AKA sorority’s September 13 Restoration of Rights program at the Kelly Leadership Center, and the September 16th candidate forum in Arlington organized by the NOVA Urban League Young Professionals group that encourages civic engagement.

Knowing Our Community

            More community issues besides trafficking and voting rights remain for our study and participation including health care for the uninsured, mental health care, pre-kindergarten program funding, environment protection, affordable housing, women’s rights, immigration, and public safety.
            Participating as a member of the  Prince William Committee of 100 or just attending its meetings on community issues enhances our awareness of current issues and provides opportunities for civic engagement and participation.
            Observing meetings of County, City, School Board, Planning Commission Meetings provide outstanding opportunities for research of issues as well as how we may need to advocate. We should be watching these live on TV or computer or viewing recordings later. Attending the Prince William County Electoral Board meetings keep us well-informed also – next meeting is September 5th at 2:00 PM at the election office.

Dates to Remember for planning and volunteering:

August 16th: Light of Life Church voter registration at Manassas Mall
August 19th: LWV-PWA monthly planning and discussion meeting.
            9:30 AM at the Manassas City Hall.
August 26th: Women’s Equality Day; Celebrate Women’s Suffrage achievement: Ratification of              Amendment XIX in 1920.
September 5th: PW Electoral Board; 2 PM
September 13th: Restoration of Felons Rights forum; Kelly Leadership Center
September 15th: Re-Entry Council quarterly meeting
September 18: Debate, 1st Congressional District candidates; Wyndham
September 20: Haymarket Day: Voter Education/Registration
September 21: Latino Festival Manassas
September 23 -26: VRE Station voter education & registration
September 25: Re-Entry Community Resource Fair: Adult Detention Center
October 1st: Candidate Meet and Greet: 10th district; Clifton Town Hall
October 4th: Voter education/registration at Manassas Fall Jubilee
October 14th: Candidate Meet and Greet: 11th District; Westminster
November 4th: Election Day
December 3rd: LWV-VA Annual Pre-Session Roundtable: Richmond

2015: Signing of Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary (August 6, 1965)