ADVOCACY

LWV-LEGISLATIVE TALKING POINTS  2021                   

                           GENERAL ASSEMBLY 

Updated 12/09/2020

  1. Convenient drop off locations for absentee ballots
  • Dropping off ballots allows voting that is safesecure, and convenient.
  • Ballot drop off helps voters avoid lines at the polls.
  • The boxes were already purchased for the November general election, so there is no additional cost.
  • More than 30 statesalready have such laws or passed them due to the pandemic. Let’s make ballot drop off, which was temporarily passed in SB 5120 for the November election, permanent.
  1. Remove witness requirementfor absentee ballots, SB 1097
  • Witness signatures are not required in 39 states. The requirement is a barrier to voting.
  • Absentee voting is secured in multiple ways, including:
    • In Virginia, each absentee voter gave personal identification when registering to vote.
    • Then, to vote absentee, the voter has to send personal info to identify themselves, and the ballot is sent to that voter’s individual address.
    • The voter signs the envelope.
    • Each ballot has an individual bar code on the envelope, and can be tracked by the voter as well as the Department of Elections.
    • When the ballot is returned, it is recorded in the voter registration system so the voter cannot vote again. The voter has been identified, and has voted.
  1. Give absentee voters who make procedural errors an opportunity to correct them.
  • Allowing voters to correct minor procedural errors is a way to let people make sure their vote counts. Otherwise, people do not find out they made an error until after the election, when it is too late.
  • Eighteen other statesrequire notification of voters about minor procedural errors, such as when a ballot envelope was not signed, and permit the voters to confirm that the ballot is theirs.
  1. Preclearance at the state level of practices restricted under the federal Voting Rights Act
  1. “100% Right to Vote” Constitutional Amendment, SJ 272
  • Every 18 year old Virginia citizen should have the right to vote.
  • Virginia is one of only 5 statesthat take away people’s civil rights, including voting, when they are convicted of a felony, and does not automatically restore them after their release or parole or probation. The other 45 either do not take away rights, or restore them automatically once the person pays their debt to society.
  • Felony disenfranchisement has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. According to the Sentencing Project:
[B]lack Americans of voting age are more than four times as likely to lose their voting rights than the rest of the adult population, with one of every 13 black adults disenfranchised nationally. As of 2016, in … Virginia… more than one in five black adults was disenfranchised.
  1. Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign finance laws protect representative democracy from distortion and add transparency so voters can make informed choices.

Unfortunately, Virginia’s campaign finance laws have been ranked 47th out of 50 in America.

Urge your legislators to restore public faith in our democracy by:

  Governor State Senate  State House
$6,126 $2,947 $2,539
  1. Join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, SB1101HB177

Consider saying: “I urge [Delegate/Senate X] to ensure Virginia joins the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The goal of this compact is to ensure that every vote matters in presidential elections, so all voters have a fairly equal voice in the election. Will the [Delegate/Senator] cosponsor and vote for SB1101 and HB177?”

Background 

“The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact will guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Compact ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The Compact is a state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.

“The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 16 jurisdictions possessing 196 electoral votes…. The bill will take effect when enacted by states with 74 more electoral votes.”

Learn more at https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/written-explanation

  1. Increase Broadband Availability

Support additional broadband coverage within reach of Virginians. This is a matter of geographic equity in access for government, education, and economic opportunities. Children should not have to sit in a parking lot for wifi for homework.

In addition, laws and rules need to be changed so localities can install broadband without onerous requirements. For example, industry analysts state that Virginia Code sections 56-265.4:456-484.7:115.2-2108.6, and 15.2-2403 are prohibitively burdensome to municipalities that would like to provide their own broadband.

 

 

       FORMULATING LEAGUE POSITIONS

STUDY

 

CONSENSUS/CONCURRENCE

 

POSITION STATEMENT

 

ACTION

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ISSUES

For a solely local issue, the problem or challenge is acknowledged by interested League members, and volunteers are identified who will work on the topic.  Once approved by the Board of Directors, a Study Committee is authorized to thoroughly and objectively research the topic.

As the study progresses, on-going discussions by the Study Committee, including informational community discussions take place, examining the pros and cons of the issue. It is essential that members have an opportunity to become informed before being asked to make decisions on the topic under consideration.   The completed study is presented to the general membership along with “consensus” questions for the membership to civilly debate and discuss.

Consensus is defined as the collective opinion of a substantial number of members, representative of the membership as a whole. The statement(s) resulting from the consensus questions becomes a League position when approved by the Board.

APPLICABLE STATE OR FEDERAL ISSUES

To advocate on the local application of a State or National position (previously adopted by the LWV-VA or the LWVUS) the local League does not need to perform a full-blown study.  Instead, it can establish a Group/Committee to examine how the position may be relevant to the local community.  The Group/Committee explores, discusses and recommends the specific steps that could be taken locally to help carry out the state/national position.

The committee also prepares a brief summary of the issue and recommends effective action steps.   Members discuss and reach consensus or agreement on the particular action steps that the issue committee proposes to recommend.  The Board of Directors formulates the position statement based on the League members’ consensus or agreement.

 

It is the consensus statement/agreement — the statement resulting from the discussion and consensus/agreement — that forms the position. Only then can the action or advocacy be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position.