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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 77, No. 12, December 2001

Making Our Voices Heard — Making Our Votes Count

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

President’s Corner
News from the Units
DC Leagues Invited to Join New Court Observation Project
Member News
General Meeting December 4: Regional Transportation Study
Affordable Housing Committee: Update on Pending DC Housing Legislation
International Relations Committee
Education Committee
LWVDC & the American University College of Law: Marshall-Brennan Fellowship Program

Opportunity Knocks
Congressional Representation
Helpful Workshop on Lobbying the DC Government
Healthcare Committee Update
A View of Washington History
Calendar — December 2001
Election 2001: Analysis and Future Action: An LWVUS Symposium
Fact Sheet: Transportation Process — Why Does It Take So Long? 


Our Shadow Senator, Ray Brown, has been visiting the states to lobby for Full Voting Representation in Congress for the District of Columbia. He asked us for a letter of introduction to the state League presidents and legislators, which we were happy to provide.

A warm THANK YOU goes to the seventeen DC League members who have already responded to our recent request for financial support for our programs. Our Voter Service/Education activities are gearing up for next year's elections, and the contributions will be well-used in that area, as well as for advocacy and support of issues on our program, such as Affordable Housing, Transportation, Health Care, Children At Risk and Education.

The National Capital Area League hosted a Presidents Brunch a". their r regular monthly meeting, which offered local League presidents from its 18 member Leagues a chance to meet and exchange information on their concerns. Many issues were discussed, but fund raising, a Combined Voters Service Guide, and results of legislative meetings dominated the session.

We attended a Town Hall Meeting that was co-hosted by the LWV-EF with the National Policy Association, NPA, and the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, SAIS. This first meeting of a two-year project intends to help citizens focus on globalization by focusing on such issues as public health system, income inequity, immigration, cultural understanding, and our childrens' future. A series of meetings is planned across the country.

The Montgomery County League held a luncheon on October 24, featuring Washington Post columnist Bob Levey and his wife Jane Freundel Levey, writer and historian. D.C. League members attending were happy to see our city presented in such an informative way. The Leveys gave a brief slide show presentation taken from their book Washington Album: A Pictorial History of the Nation's Capital.

Season's Greetings to all. — E. Patricia Hallman, President

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Co-Director of the Greater Washington Research Program - Brookings Institute

6:30 pm Refreshments, 7 pm Program

Sumner School
1201 17th Street, NW
on the corner 17th & M Streets
RSVP (attendance only) 202/667-5445
Washington Regional Network


DECEMBER 4th, 1:30 - 3:30 pm
See article and insert.

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December traditionally provides the occasion for celebrating the holidays rather than the customary discussion of public policy issues at the monthly Unit Meetings. This year is no exception, although the NW Day and the Evening Units, responding to the tragic events of 9/11, also plan to discuss a short video featuring UN Secretary General Kofi Annan concerning the enhanced role of the United Nations in a changed world. The Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit plans a bus tour of moderate housing developments in the 14th Street corridor and the Shaw and Washington Heights neighborhoods. The Upper Sixteenth Street and Southwest Units will follow the more traditional pattern of discussing neighborhood issues or simply socializing with other members over holiday fare. League members are welcome to attend any of the Unit Meetings listed to the right - whatever fits your schedule or interests. Note that all Units except Upper Sixteenth will meet the second rather than the third week of the month to make space for Christmas. Call Hostess/Chair to confirm arrangements.

There will not be a Unit Council meeting in the month of December. — Sheila Keeny, Unit Director (966-1692)

Tuesday, December 11

Southwest Unit, 9:45 a.m.; Hostess: Anna Marsh, 554-7719, 1253 Delaware Ave., SW.
Program: Discussion of neighborhood development issues.

Northwest Day Unit, Noon; Hostess: Jeanette Miller, 362-1203, 2841 Tilden St., NW
Program: Potluck Luncheon & exchange of "white elephant" gifts followed by Annan video

Thursday, December 13

Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit, 9:45 a.m.' Hostess/Chair: Joan Wilson, 237-6264, 3050 Military Road, NW (Ingleside Apartments)
Program: Housing Tour (call Chair for details.)

The Evening Unit, 7:30 p.m.; Hostess: Sheila Keeny, 966-1692, 3600 Albemarle St., NW
Program: Annan video

Wednesday, December 19

Upper Sixteenth Street Unit, 9:45 a.m.; Hostess: Constance Tate, 237-5550, 609 Delafield Place, NW
Program: Holiday fare and socializing; video possible.

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The September issue of the DC Voter included Nathalie Black's report on LWVDC participation in a community-observers project of the Council for Court Excellence, which addressed the functioning of the DC Superior Court and its Civil Division. The Council is organizing a similar effort with respect to the Criminal Division beginning in January. There is great flexibility for participation, e.g. weekly, biweekly, or even on a customized schedule! Contact Barbara Yeomans for more information to join in the upcoming project

The Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization that has been working since 1982 to improve the administration of justice in the courts and related agencies and to increase public understanding of our justice system. According to the Council's report on the previous project, it was designed to provide members of the community a direct voice in how the courts are run and to provide the court with the fresh, commonsense perspective of people who do not frequent the court regularly. Among its other achievements, the Council was the moving force in the adoption of the one-day/one trial jury service here in D.C.

Some of the practical findings of the 2001 project for observation of the DC Superior Court and its Civil Division were: Guidance for metro riders: A sign and map are needed at the exit point of Judiciary Square metro stop; more, better, and bilingual signs are needed throughout the courthouse; the daily schedule of proceedings should be posted on each courtroom; Civil Division courtrooms are often empty -- space needs to be assigned and used more efficiently; Security personnel need better customer service skills; routine maintenance of such things as clocks, pay phones, temperature controls, and restrooms needs improvement; the Court should publicize availability of child care for those who need it. — Barbara Yeomans (363-8940), 3rd VP (National Programs)

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Awards: League member Geneva F. Perry received NAACP Community Award for Outstanding Community Service Over Past 2 Years and Lifetime. Her activities in her LeDroit Park community drew the attention of the NAACP, especially the editing and publishing of the newsletter "LeDroit Park Sentinel - A Commonsense Approach to Preservation." The award presentation cited her many achievements and described Ms. Perry as: "a retired educator and lifelong community activist and environmentalist, who is a tireless advocate for the uplift of her immediate community and humanity at large. Ms. Perry's strong spirit makes her a valuable asset to LeDroit Park and our great city ...She is an advocate for historic preservation and the preservation of our local history and culture. "

Moving: MacClaire Arlt has moved to Rye, NY. Southwest Unit members will miss her at their monthly unit meetings. We trust she will soon connect with a League near her new home.

Condolences: Sincere condolences are extended to Evelyn Sidransky and her family on the death of her husband Herschel and to Leona Rumsey and her family on the death of her husband William.

New Members: It is our delight to welcome the following new members: Rita F. and Harry Aid, Catherine Burnight, R. C. Cleveland, Florence Gennet, Susan Gutchess, Mary Lou Hildreth, Mary Matzkuhn, Sarah M. Moore, Eva L, Nash, Marti Rabinowitch, Jenny Rohrer, Ann I. Schneider, H. A. Sinclaire, Mary Liana Stover, Chinyere Uzoukwu,

Contributions: We gratefully thank the following members for additional contributions received to sustain the DC League's programs: June C. Bashkin, Rita G. Cloutier, Naomi Glass, Morella R. Hansen, Barbara B. Luchs, Elizabeth M. Martin, Ken Nesper & Chris Matthews, Nelson Rimensnyder & Lisa Nickerson, Mary S. Rodgers, Jacqueline Russler, Kathy and AI Schmidt, Reggie Yancey, Constance P. Tate, Margaret C. Thompson, Sue Whitman, Sheila A. Willet, Barbara T. Yeomans

New Life members:

Editor's note: Life member status is given to members who have maintained their membership in the LWV for 50 years. If you have been a LWV member since 1951 or before and your mailing label does not indicate Life Member, please call the League office (347-3020).

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Beth Cogswell, co-chair of the NCA Transportation Committee, will conduct a general meeting for DC Leaguers on December 4, 2001, from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, in the LWVUS Board Room, 1730 M Street NW, 10th Floor. A major and crucial issue discussed will be how decisions are made in this complex, multi-jurisdictional area. See the fact sheets inserted in this VOTER.

The fact sheets view the District of Columbia as a "Major Jurisdiction," that is, as a state. DC, of course, functions as a local jurisdiction as well. Therefore, President Pat Hallman and Luther Marsh, co-chair of the DC Transportation Committee, gathered information in the relevant areas reported in the table

Mass Transit in the District: Five Metrorail Lines with 40 stops (one additional line under construction) and 102 Metro bus routes.

labeled "LOCAL GOVERNMENTS -- MASS TRANSIT," as follows: Five Metro lines, with 40 DC Metrorail stops, serve the District of Columbia: Red, Green, Yellow, Blue and Orange. Daily commuter services are provided by the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) from various locations in Virginia to L'Enfant Plaza and Union Stations, and by MARCMaryland Commuter Rail from various locations in Maryland to Union Station. AMTRAK operates service along the Eastern Seaboard to Union Station. DC and WMATA are constructing a new rail station on the Red Line at New York and Florida Avenues NW.

DC is served by 102 Metro bus routes. Two privately operated Georgetown Shuttle Routes transport passengers between Rosslyn and Dupont Circle and between Foggy Bottom and Georgetown.

Interest groups involved in transit development include Business Improvement Districts, ANCs, the "developer" community, the Chamber of Commerce, the Federal City Council and many more. According to District officials, WMATA works with the DC Division of Transportation and the DC Office of Planning on the local side and the National Capital Planning Commission on the federal side to assure that land use and transit plans are integrated. The discussion should be fascinating as well as vital. Be sure to read the Fact Sheets and join us! — Naomi Glass

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMITTEE: Update on Pending D.C. Housing Legislation

Congratulations to Unit members, who wrote over 90 postcards to Council members urging that the omnibus housing bill be moved out of committee and that an additional hearing be held. With a fair and firm hand, Councilmember Jack Evans, Chair, Finance and Revenue Committee, held that hearing on October 6. We commend him for listening to District citizens. More than 50 people and organizations, in a remarkably unified voice, testified at the four-hour session. The revised bill incorporates many of the suggestions made by District citizens at the first hearing last June. However, there are still a number of areas that need improvement, along with several sections that the League does not support. (Call the League office for copies of the League's testimony.)

At a committee mark-up on November 9, affordable housing advocates won their first modest victory as Councilmembers Patterson and Graham, articulately supported by Councilmembers Chavous and Fenty, introduced amendments to enlarge the benefits to low income families, especially those who rent, of the Committee's revised bill (14-183, Nov. 9, 2001.

Kudos to Councilmember Kathy Patterson, who introduced five amendments. After caucusing with coalition members, Sczerina Perot and Nina Dastur, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, drafted extensive amendments to the 82page bill--and did it in an overnight session!

The amendments included: lowering the definition of "low-income" from 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), or $68,000 a year for a family of four, to 60% of AMI or $51,000; increasing the percentage of funds committed each year for extremely low income households from 30% to 40%; adding to the Fund's advisory board representative low-income tenants and advocates for the disabled community; and deleting the second representative of the for-profit housing industry. Two other amendments that appeared unable to get the support of Evans, Brazil, or Catania were withdrawn and will be re-introduced for full Council consideration. The most important of these would have restored the requirement that 40% of each year's Trust Fund expenditures be spent on rental housing. Not having this included is a major set back. It is interesting to note that Mayor Williams does not want this set aside included in the bill.

After a short break, in a surprise move announced only in the late morning, Councilmember Brazil held a meeting of his Economic Development Committee to mark up the same bill now numbered 14-183. At this session Graham, backed by Chavous and Fenty, introduced two amendments. One would require inclusionary development — a requirement that developers of new residential buildings of more than 20 units must include 10% of affordable units, half under 30% of AMI ($25.000) and half under 60% of AMI (S51,000) if the builder receives help of any kind from the city--or they can build the equivalent of 15% of the units elsewhere, or contribute the equivalent in cash to the Housing Production Trust Fund.

In a move to gain time and to make improvements and further additions to the amendments, Chavous moved to postpone the Committee's final approval of the bill for two weeks and to hold a hearing in the meantime. It was left to Brazil to set the hearing. It must be noted that Brazil has failed to return calls from the League and we have been unable to schedule a meeting with him.

Along with the League, the Washington Regional Network, Washington Inner-city Self Help (WISH) and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and probably others we are not aware of, have met and talked repeatedly with Committee staffers and as many Council members as we could get in to see. Since Labor Day, our efforts have mainly been to get the new bill out of the committees. — Janet W. Brown (332-0789) and Elizabeth M. Martin (537-3043), Affordable Housing Committee

ACTION: Please take a minute to call the offices of Kathy Patterson, 724-8062; Kevin Chavous, 724-8068; Jim Graham, 724-8181; Adrian Fenty, 724-8052; and thank them for their leadership. Also call Brazil's office, 724-8174, and ask when the new hearing will be. Keep calling until you receive an answer. We also are grateful for the support of Councilmembers Cropp, Mendelson, Schwartz, Ambrose and Allen.

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Process to Update LWV Position on the United Nations Begins: Pursuant to directions from Convention 2000, LWVUS has now convened the Task Force that will draft an updated position on the UN. The December/January issue of the National Voter will present the first background article on the matter, preparing the way for our update. Written by NY Times correspondent Barbara Crossette, it should provide much food for thought as the UN takes on an enhanced role since the events of 9/11. Also appearing in that issue will be the proposed text of the updated LWVUS Trade position. We will have a General Meeting in February to discuss it - details will be in your January DC Voter. — Barbara Yeomans, Vice President for National Program

LWVDC to Honor Amy Slemmer (DC VOTE) at UNA Human Rights Day Luncheon: LWVDC will again participate in the annual Human Rights Day Luncheon on Capitol Hill sponsored by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. We have named Amy Slemmer, Executive Director of DC Vote, to receive a Human Rights Community Award in recognition for her untiring efforts in support of the right, to be represented in one's own government, a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event will take place in the Cannon House Office Building on December 10 from 11:45 to 2 pm; box luncheon will be $30; to register, call 518-0471 soonest or call. — Sheila Keeny at 966-1692.

LWVDC Again Sponsors Great Decisions Discussion Group: A Temporary Book Club for Major Issues -- For those of us who are not necessarily experts on all of the major foreign policy issues facing us, Great Decisions was invented. The Foreign Policy Association annually picks eight major issues, hires experts to write essays clarifying each and compiles them into a soft-cover book costing around $15. Topics this year are Terrorism, Korean Security, The Middle East Peace Process, Colombia and Drug Trafficking, South Asia (focusing on India), AIDS and Africa, Russia, and Energy and the Environment. There will be eight meetings starting in February; one member presents the issue while the others question, discuss, and sometimes argue with each other about it. Interested in participating? Call me at 202/966-6367 (e-mail - Non-LWV members welcome. Location and time to be determined by your wishes. — Hope Marindin, Coordinator

Next Meeting: The next meeting of the IR Committee will be held at my home, 3600 Albemarle St., NW, on Sunday, December 16 from 3-5PM. Those arriving at 2:30 will be able to see the video of Kofi Annan and Walter Cronkite made on Oct 11 to consider the role of the UN in combatting terrorism. Any interested League member is invited. — Sheila Keeny, Co-Chair, IR Committee

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A recent survey revealed that more than ten League members participated in the Giant and Safeway "Funds for Education" project. You too can help a school earn free education equipment by enrolling your Safeway or Giant Club card with the school of your choice, and your purchases total will automatically be credited to that school. Double credits will be given to all Safeway Select items you purchase.

You should register NOW to support the project, because the cut-off date for accumulation of points this school year is March 29, 2002. To enroll on-line, just log on to the web sites of either Safeway ( or Giant ( Or, you can enroll at the store where you shop.

With points earned, a school can acquire academic items it most needs; for example, computer equipment and software, laboratory equipment for science and math, videos, books. Mrs. Holmes, Principal of Jefferson Jr. H.S. tells us they especially are in need of printers and are very appreciative of this type of program and all those who participate.

We are asking you to support Jefferson Jr. H.S. for this 2001-2002 school year. The code numbers for Jefferson Jr. High are: Giant 000263, Safeway 0302.

Even if you participated in this program in a previous year, you must register again for this year. — Constance Tate (882-0387) and Gladys Weaver (554-3055), Co-Chairs

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American University's Marshall-Brennan Fellows are currently teaching an elective constitutional law course entitled, "We the Students" in twelve DC Public Schools and three Public Charter Schools.

Recognizing the need for these students and others at their schools to become involved in civic and citizenship activities, the D.C. League of Women Voters and the Marshall-Brennan Fellowship Program are working together to help students develop School-Wide Projects.

Marshall-Brennan Fellows will introduce the concept of Student Citizenship Involvement to their pupils and elicit from them activities and projects that they might undertake. The involvement of all students at the school including student-government representatives and club members will be encouraged.

The D.C. Public School students in each class will be given the option of developing an individual, group or school-wide project. Marsha Marshall-Brennan Fellows teaching the class should facilitate and encourage the greatest possible student involvement in choosing projects.

These activities will encourage students to go beyond the acquisition of knowledge about their roles and responsibilities as American citizens and will help them apply classroom learning to real-life experiences. Each school's plan would reflect the culture, organization and interest of the students.

The Marshall-Brennan- Fellows will offer extra academic credit, community service credit and recognition prizes for each student-generated project. Students would be directed and encouraged to design plans with the widest possible participation of other student groups and faculty members

The DC League of Women Voters will prepare materials and resources that can be distributed to students as they plan and initiate their projects. The League presented the outline of the project to the Marshall-Brennan Fellows at their weekly meeting on November 14. The MarshallBrennan Fellows enthusiastically endorsed the proposed project ideas and thanked LWVDC for our work in developing this project. — Elaine Melmed (1st VP) and Elinor Hart (Voters Service)

Projects suggested by the D.C. League of Women Voters are:

  • Organizing a voter registration campaign that will register all senior high school students prior to graduation.

  • Organizing a parent and community voter registration drive.

  • Researching and reporting on successful community-and student-generated "get out the vote" efforts across the country.
  • Organizing non-partisan voter information forums, workshops, and assemblies on both candidates and issues concerning District of Columbia citizens.
  • Participating in "Youth at the Booth" activities. (Students are trained to work at the Polls during the November 2002 election.)
  • Organizing school's efforts in nominating candidates for student representative to the school board.
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    • Contact your Council members about Affordable Housing.
    • Participate in the Community Observers Project of the Council for Court Excellence.
    • Learn some facts about Regional Transportation Systems at the December 4 General Meeting.
    • Introduce a friend to your Unit friends at the December (social) Unit meetings.

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    On-Air: On November 16 League member Kathy Schmidt spoke as DC Vote representative in an interview on the "DC Politics Hour" on the WAMU's Mark Plotkin Radio Program. She spoke about Congressional Representation for citizens in the District of Columbia. The interview was taped on November 15th. The "DC Politics Hour" reaches out to DC residents to seek interest and community support for issues affecting DC citizens.

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    Several times each year, the Fair Budget Coalition (a loose coalition of advocates and service providers working with and for vulnerable populations) offers a workshop on how to lobby the DC Government.

    Two League members attended the most recent, given at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The workshop provided descriptions of the structure of the city's government, a sample bill's introduction and passage through review and amendment to enactment, organizational charts, lists of commissions, boards and officials. A web site offering much of this information is

    Concluding the workshop was a presentation on the budget calendar. Two economists from the Fiscal Policy Institute advised early advocacy. The key moment to work for inclusion of a specific program or program expansion is when the involved government agencies prepare their annual budgets for submission to the Mayor's office in early November and December. This is the time for advocates to weigh in on issues they care about. Carefully prepared material with strong justification for the proposal is critical. They predicted that this .e=· given the economic turndown, agencies will be instructed to hold the line, no increases. In fact, they may well face the need to reduce budgets from last year's levels.

    This prospect of flat budgets, when the needs for emergency food, shelter, and health services have been dramatically rising since September 11, inspired the Fair Budget Coalition's forum on November 15 on "Meeting Human Needs in DC: Providing Stability in Times of Uncertainty." The League of Women Voters of DC was proud to sponsor this forum with a large number of other civic organizations concerned about the survival of a safety net for the suddenly unemployed as well as other citizens in need.

    The Fair Budget Coalition meets monthly at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The Clinic has been very helpful to League members with information on housing, children in shelters, and other matters, relating to the work of the Housing and the Children-at-Risk Task Forces. — Joan Wilson and Janet Brown

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    Highlights of the Nov. 7 LWVDC Board Meeting are well covered in committee reports in this DC Voter. The next board meeting will take place Wed., Dec. 5`h, 10 a.m. at LWVUS Headquarters, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 1000.

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    National Family Caregiver and Respite Support Program: The enactment of the Older Americans Act established an important program -The National Family Caregiver Support Program. $113 million has been allocated to put into place systems of support for family caregivers. Thanks to an alert from Leaguer Sue Whitman, we attended a discussion centered on defining the daily challenges faced by family providers of care for older relatives, and we made suggestions as to the types of services and supports that would respond to the caregivers' needs. A major component of that support would be respite for the caregiver, including that provided in a home, an adult day-care center, or over a weekend in a nursing home or an assisted living facility.

    Teleconference on Blue Cross/Blue Shield Conversion: Representatives of eight organizations met by teleconference on November 6, 2001, to discuss the conversion of Blue Cross/Blue Shield from non-profit to profit status. The states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia were represented. Spokesmen for each state gave a summary of actions so far; efforts to obtain documents relating to the prospective conversion are being made.

    Next Meeting Tuesday November 27: Our next committee meeting will be on November 27, at 10:30 am, in the DC League Office, Suite 432, 733 15th Street, NW. Our subject will be Nursing — Opportunities and Challenges, and our speaker will be Karen S. Skinner, MSN, RN. Come if you can. — Natalie Howard, Chair, 882-8762

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    The Montgomery County League held a luncheon on Wednesday, October 24, featuring Washington Post columnist Bob Levey and his wife Jane Freundel Levey, writer and historian.

    DC League members attending were happy to see their city presented in such an informative way. The Leveys' gave a brief slide show presentation taken from their recently published book, Washington Album: A Pictorial History of the Nation's Capital.

    Keeping in mind Shakespeare's question, "What is the city but its people?" the presentation focused on the city's diverse local communities within the context of the federal government's influence on everyday life. Mrs. Levey examined the themes they found most telling from their research for the book and Mr. Levey predicted the city will continue to be a growing force and will continue to change.

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    2 3 4 5 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Mtg. 6 7 8
    9 10 11 Deadline for January DC Voter
    9:45 am, Southwest Unit Mtg.
    12:45 pm, Northwest Day Unit Mtg.
    12 10:00 am, Education Committee Mtg. 13 10:00 am, Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit Mtg.
    6:00 pm, Evening Unit Mtg.
    14 15
    16 3:00-5:00 pm, International Relations Committee Mtg. 17 18 19 9:45 am, Upper 16th Street Unit Mtg. 20 21 December DC Voter mailed 22
    23 24 25 26 27 28 29
    30 31          

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    (National Press Club, November 9, 2001)

    The purpose of the symposium was to help inform the effort to improve democratic processes in light of the new political and economic landscape brought on by the events of September 11th. In a round-table format, the invited speakers discussed the recent elections, the continuing effort on election administration reform, and civic engagement. About 60 people attended, including many Leaguers from the area. '

    LWVUS President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins gave the welcoming remarks as well as a report on the League's assessment on election administration. The moderator of the round-table discussion was Lynn Neary, Cultural Correspondent, NPR. The panelists were: E.J. Dionne, Jr, Washington Post journalist and a Senior Fellow in Governmental Studies at Brookings; Larry Gonzales, D.C. Director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund; Peter Harkness, editor and publisher of Governing, a magazine for state and local government leaders; Cameron P. Quinn, Secretary of Virginia's State Board of Elections in 1999; and Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau.

    Ms Neary asked the panelists to address what we did learn this time. Were there any surprises? For Virginia, the surprise was how smoothly things ran. The state evidently has many mechanisms which help avoid problems other jurisdictions experience, e.g., provisional balloting and good Motor-Voter records that can confirm, or refute, claims at the polls of being registered. New York had experienced double counting of precinct results in the primary but had overcome that problem in the election. On balance the panelists thought that elections this year, although not perfect, were relatively trouble-free, certainly compared to last year. Even Florida had better experience (although no major office contested). The adage that "all politics is local" was borne out widely this year; local issues and personalities dominated. This seemed true, for example, in New York. Mayor Giuliani came out at the end for one candidate (Bloomberg) and Rev. Al Sharpton for the other (Green). That seemed to have sent a significant Latino vote for Bloomberg, and the Latino vote was high in proportion to its share of NYC population. Discussion touched on the weakening of cooperation across ethnic and other lines that had arisen in 2000. Mr. Shelton believes that African-Americans were still angry from Election 2000. There seemed to be consensus that, although the electorate was urged to see voting as a patriotic duty post September 11th, generally this did not drive participation. There are many reasons why people do not vote. The tone of partisan politics, if harsh, will turn off voters.

    There was clear consensus that the states are awaiting funding from Congress for any mandated steps to reform administration of elections. There is also concern that states be given flexibility since elections are run locally and there is little role for the Feds. Action on Capitol Hill has stalled in the current emergency; but states have about a 2-year procurement lead-time. Further delay now risks new efforts for 2002 and possibly the 2004 presidential election.

    The issue of funding reform (and campaign finance reform) has run into the current economic situation - an economic decline already in progress exacerbated by the current unusual security and military demands and appeals for relief. Moreover, the competition for funding is severe at both state and federal levels. Election reform costs, (e.g., for new voting machines in all precincts at $33 million per machine), can be very high for local budgets. Such demand must compete squarely with funding needs associated with new unpleasant realities, notably, return of the Medicaid monster and the growing welfare pinch, particularly as time-limits expire at the very time unemployment is growing and states have previously undertaken assistance beyond what is required by federal law.

    The National Voter and the LWVUS web site have addressed election administration reform. LWVUS President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins spoke to the results of a survey fielded through local member Leagues. Of nearly 1,000 state and local Leagues, 460. reported, representing a broad cross section of the country, including local Leagues in major metropolitan, suburban and rural areas in 47 states and representing jurisdictions that account for almost half of all registered voters. Her concluding theme was "good enough" is not good enough. Highlights of findings include: voters' names are not regularly getting on to voter registration lists, resulting in voters being turned away; voting machines do not consistently function properly; there are not sufficient numbers of voting machines in many locations; there is insufficient communication on the part of election officials, especially regarding changes in the location of polling places; and insufficient numbers of poll workers, including conditions which discourage participation.

    In the Q&A session, the aging of poll watchers triggered much discussion about ways to keep and attract workers. Decisive action is needed to recruit replacements plus additional workers to meet needs. A new corporate community project was suggested, allowing administrative leave for those who wish to serve. There might be a form of national service. Senior high school students could assist through appropriate duties. There was also concern about the poor coverage of civic education in textbooks. Evidently the University of Maryland (Prof. William Balston) is paying special attention to this problem. There was hope among panelists that we are not seeing just a spasm of patriotism at this time. — Barbara Yeomans, 3rd Vice President (National Program)

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