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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 76, No. 8, September 2000

Celebrating Our 80th Year of Service, 1920–2000

733 15th Street, N.W., Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005
202/347-3020,  fax: 202/347-2522
Website:, E-mail:

President’s Corner
Fall Fundraising
News from the Units
International Relations
Voters Service Update
Member News
DC Representation in Congress
Temporary Help Needed for November’s Primary Voters Guide
September 12 Primary Election: Absentee Voting Procedures
Fall Luncheon Reservation Form
Globaphobia: Seminar on Global Trade Units
Member Handbook and Directory: 2000-2001


Your Board has an exciting array of initiatives, planned for the upcoming year. We are kicking off the year with Natwar Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer for the District. He will review the city's financial condition, address the issue of the perennial shortfall between expenditures and revenues and discuss options for expanding the city's tax base.

Other major initiatives this fall include a Global Trade seminar (see insert), a workshop for DC public school teachers culminating in a mock election on November 2, and an examination of the District Charter Schools.

Program is the League's reason for being. Program is the reason we recruit members, sponsor workshops and forums and raise funds. And in January we'll be selecting new areas of emphasis and for study in the coming two years. What's your passion? Where should the League put its energies?

We look forward to a stimulating year and to your involvement. — Elizabeth M. Martin, President

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Our fall fundraising efforts are off to a strong start led by Carol Ragsdale and Barbara Luchs. 1,300 letters to potential contributors were mailed in August. This is the largest direct mail effort the League has made in recent memory. It is an enormous effort to stuff, seal, affix the address labels and then carry them to the post office and we thank our volunteers. And producing the letters was no mean task. Sheila Willet and Tirza Chavez spent countless hours entering names and printing the letters as well as finding a way to attach the president's signature. Signing 1,300 letters was not in the cards for this president! The generation of the list was Ralph Watkin's idea and his generous gift made this mailing possible.

Also, many thanks to Audrey Hatry for her generous gift of Home Depot stock. It is being used to increase our Voters Service efforts. And, from out of the blue, we received a letter from First Trust in Chicago informing us that Mrs. Dorothy Heinsimer of Lincolnwood has donated Walgreen stock to the DC League. Mrs. Heinsimer's gift will go toward Voters Service as well as our teachertraining project on September 26.

You will be receiving our once-a-year fundraising letter to members shortly. We are targeting those funds for voter education also. With a new school board to be elected November 4, we are planning an expanded school board education effort and gel out-the-vote campaign for November 4. —Liz Martin, President

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Our six Units, after a three-month summer break, are planning a full program year. At our first Unit Meetings in October (see October DC VOTER for schedule) members will have an opportunity to meet the candidates for the newly restructured School Board, the subject of Unit Meetings last May.

Many thanks to members who filled out and returned the survey "The Neighborhood Units Retain, Restructure or Replace" that was enclosed with your July/August newsletter. Look for a preliminary report next month. If you have not yet sent in your responses, please check those stacks of mail received during the summer, fill out the survey and send it to me ASAP (you can also call me at 9661692 for a copy). — Sheila Keeny, Unit Director

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Because of decisions reached at Convention 2000, the LWVDC now faces an opportunity long sought by the IR Committee -- that of updating LWVUS positions adopted in the 1970s on the United Nations as well as Trade. Thanks to the farsightedness of our President, LWVDC is ready to go, with a six session seminar on Trade, led by IR committee member Janet Burmester, already in the works. The seminar, in turn, will lead to Unit meetings on Trade in February. At the same time, the Committee will follow developments at the UN in anticipation of a similar program of study on the UN next year. Anyone interested in working with the Committee is urged to sign up for the seminar, get the book and start reading. The Committee will hold a brief organizing meeting immediately following the first Seminar session on September 13. — Sheila Keeny and Susan Rao, Co Chairs.

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First Seminar Session: “Globaphobia: The Virtues of Free Trade”
Wednesday, September 13th
See flyer

The deadline to reserve your place at the Fall Luncheon is September 15
Reserve with this form

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The League's major effort for the primary election will be the mailing of approximately 15,000 Voters Guides to half the residents of Ward 8. We decided to focus our efforts in Ward 8 because of low voter turnout in the past. It will be informative to see if the precincts that got the mailing had a higher turnout than the precincts that did not receive the information. Additionally, we mailed 1,000 Guides to our members, contributors and new citizens who we have been registering to vote each month. An additional 4,000 guides were distributed across the city. Kudos extended to Voters Service Co-chair Guy Coriden for handling the distribution to so many!!!

Our first effort with DNet, the League's electronic Voters Guide, has been relatively problem free although responses from candidates has been slow. WRC (NBC Channel 4) will feature DNet in their election coverage on air and in their web site after Labor Day.

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Summertime has been a quiet time for least relatively speaking. A remarkable opportunity, however, was the visit of four heads of Ukrainian NGOs {nongovernmental organizations) who sought to speak with American groups like ours about interacting with government in a democracy. Eight of us spent a morning with them at the LWVUS office, discussing League organization and functioning. After lunch, we all took the subway to the home of DC Leaguer, Sheila Keeny, where we had an elegant tea and informal, spirited conversation with our young visitors. We learned as much as they did, I'm sure. I hope they had as satisfying an experience as we did.

Our D.C. Finances Committee wrote to the Washington Post, providing clarification on the substance of the Post editorial of July 16 called "Confronting the Commuter Tax." Signed by Committee members Nancy Bliss (LWVMC) and Roland Bowers (formerly LWVFC), we were grateful that our letter was published (almost unedited) on July 24. — Naomi Glass, President

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Many thanks to the members who sent in additional contributions to support the League: Jean Flemming, Morella Hansen, Audrey Hatry, and Eleanor H. Trowbridge.

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DC VOTE Amy Slemmer has been hired as the executive director. She began full time the first of August after working part time the last half of July. She has a deep commitment to social justice issues- especially, full voting representation n Congress for DC citizens. She is an attorney, organizer, and lobbyist with deep ties across the District. She has attended both the Republican and Democratic conventions. At both she was interviewed by radio commentators about full voting representation in Congress for DC citizens. Before the Democratic convention she ran a workshop for those from the DC area who would be attending to coordinate their support efforts. The Coalition has relocated to a storefront and offices at the comer to 15th and U Streets, NW. Those interested in volunteering for a few hours each week are asked to call 872-8683. — Kathy Schmidt, 202-232-6460

LWVUS President Carolyn Jefferson-Jerkins wrote to the Members of the U.S. Congress on Voting Representation for the Citizens of the District of Columbia. Thank you to Barbara Yeomans for providing the following text to DC Voter of Ms. Jefferson-Jerkins June 19 letter:

"Dear Members of the U. S. Congress:

The League of Women Voters urges you to support full congressional voting representation for the citizens of the District of Columbia.

The citizens of the District have always fulfilled the obligations of American citizenship by paying federal taxes, serving in the military, and contributing leaders in nearly every field of human endeavor. Yet District citizens are denied voting representation in the U.S. Congress, the very body that has ultimate authority over every aspect of the city's judicial, executive, and legislative functions.

Over the last 200 years, the principle that all citizens are entitled to a voice and a vote in their national government has emerged as a cornerstone of American democracy and a fundamental tenet of our Constitution. Although relative few Americans were entitled to vote when the Constitution was adopted in 1788, virtually all restrictions on the franchise have been eliminated, including those based on race, sex, wealth, property ownership, education, marital status and place of residence. Disenfranchisement of District citizens is he last great exception of the constitutional principle of one person, one vote. "

The United States is the only nation on earth that completely disenfranchises residents of its capital city in national legislative elections. Imagine France denying voting rights to citizens of Paris or Chile disenfranchising Santiago. It is hard to conceive of such a thing.

There is an ongoing misunderstanding of the Framer's decision to grant to Congress "exclusive legislation" over the federal district. The purpose of the so-called "District Clause" was to guarantee Congress military security and police powers over the site of its own operations - not to disenfranchise anyone.

A basic principle of democracy is at stake. Americans living in the nation's capital deserve to have full voting representation in the body that makes their laws, taxes them and can call them to war. Only Congress can ensure that the democracy Americans have espoused and fought for across the globe becomes a reality in the nation's capital. The time has come for full representation."

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Temporary Help Needed for November's Primary Voters Guide

Voter Services needs part-time volunteer help to input data (utilizing Microsoft Word) at the League office for the "Voters Guide to November's Primary Election." We will be concentrating on the School Board candidates. The time frame is during the last two weeks in September and first week in October. Call the League office at 202-347-3020 for more information.

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SEPTEMBER 12 PRIMARY ELECTION : Absentee Voting Procedures

"Registered  voters in the Democratic, Republican, D.C. Statehood-Green, and Umoja parties may cast an absentee ballot either in person or by mail. if they cannot vote because of physical limitations or out-of-town travel." announced Election Board Director Alice P. Miller. The procedures are:

Absentee Voting by Mail - Under DC law, voters wishing to have a ballot mailed to them must send a written request to the Board of Elections. This request must reach the Board by Sept. 5th and must include the voter's name and address, mailing address if different, reason for voting absentee, and signature. An absentee ballot request form can be downloaded from

Absentee Voting in Person - Voters may cast an absentee ballot in person in the Voter Services Office in Room 250 at 441 Fourth St., NW, directly above Judiciary Square Metro stop. The period for in-person absentee voting begins Mon., Aug 28th and runs through Mon., Sep 11th. Office hours are from 8:30 am to 4:45 prn Monday through Saturday.

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Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
4 5 6 10 a.m., LWVDC Board Meeting, 1730 M Street, NW, 10th Floor 7 8
11 12 October DC Voter Deadline
DC Primary Election
13 10 a.m., Education Committee, LWVDC Office, 733 15th Street, NW, #432
12 noon, Globaphobia: The Virtues of Open Trade, 1730 M Street, NW, 10th Floor
14 15
18 19 20 21 11:30 a.m., Fall Luncheon, Peoples Congregational Church, 4704 13th Street, NW 22 October DC Voter mailed
25 26 “Making Our Votes Count” workshop for DC teachers 27 28 29

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