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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 80, No. 4, April 2004

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 Message
Save These Dates!
Congressional Representation: DC Voting Rights Committee
Our New Intern

International Relations Committee: April 25 Meeting Subject Turkey
March for Women's Lives - April 25
Voter Services Committee - Election Workshop
LWVDC to Host Reception for New Citiaens April 13
DC Delegate Norton Hosts Meeting on Medicare
What Is "Medical Homes DC"
LWV National Program: Election of the President
Support for the League
DC Homes Needed for B&B
See the Capitol Steps Musical Political Satire for Free
Welcome New Members
International Women's Day
LWV NCA Annual Convention - 2004
More from LWVUS about Electronic Voting
LWVDC Archives
LWV of Arlington Sponsors Public Forum on Energy Policy
Unit News
Member News
84th lWVDC Annual Meeting
Calendar - April 2004
Honoring the Buffalo Soldiers reservation form
84th Annual Dinner Meeting reservation form

By Frances Gemmill

Efforts to gear up for voter service - registration, education, systems - are burgeoning here in D.C. and around the country. On March 10, several D.C. Leaguers attended a breakfast reception "Tu Voto-Tu Voz" to hear inspiring advice as to why we should vote. The event was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Telemundo 64, and the League was well represented by Kay Maxwell, Xandra Kayden, and several staff members from LWVUS. Our DC League contribution was to offer the opportunity to register - Elinor Hart brought a stack of our new registration cards, and Amy Proft delivered them to the Board-of Elections and Ethics. Next week we've scheduled a meeting with the Youth Vote Coalition to explore ways to cooperate, and to coordinate their efforts to get out the vote with ours.

Our Voter Service Committee is offering a very important Voter Service Workshop on Saturday April 3, to take place in the offices of the Board of Elections and Ethics at 441-4th Street, NW (the Judiciary Square Metro stop). See articles below for more details, and take advantage of the opportunity to get involved in this most important League activity.

Turning to other issues, we read and hear that our D.C. government officials are conducting preliminary sessions regarding our 2005 budget - behind closed doors! For more about that, look up Colbert King's article in The Washington Post of March 20 entitled "Why the District Needs More Sunshine." As some of our members who are attentive activists have noticed that "secrecy over the annual budget battle between the Mayor and Council make public scrutiny especially difficult." And as Colbert King notes: "The big losers in all this, of course, are D.C. taxpayers, who, despite the belief of the city's politicians and top bureaucrats, have a right to know what their government is up to."

This just in: Mr. Robert Bobb, City Administrator, has accepted our invitation to speak at our 84th annual meeting on April 22 at the David A. Clarke School of Law. I hope to see you there.

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Save These Dates!
You'll Want to Attend These Events!

Election Workshop

April 3, 2004
10 am - 12 noon

DC Board of Elections & Ethics
441 Fourth St. NW
(Metro Stop - Red Line Judiciary Square)

(See below)

84th LWVDC
Annual Meeting

Thursday Evening
April 22, 2004
5:30 pm Registration
6:00 pm Business Meeting
7:00 pm Buffet Dinner
8:00 pm Guest Speaker

(See article and reservation form)

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DC Voting Rights Committee

Eighteen members attended the Voting Rights committee of the LWVDC on Thursday, March 11, at 3:00 pm in the Cleveland Park Public Library. Committee members described and discussed the status of current draft legislation and potential legislation in Congress.

Joanna London described HR1285 (S617), "No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2003", introduced by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Senator Lieberman. It has 130 co-sponsors in the House; 16 in the Senate. The bill emphasizes "one person, one vote", and notes that the citizens of the District pay the second highest per capita income tax in the country. It argues that denying Congressional voting rights is inconsistent with the principles on which our country is founded. IT PROVIDES THAT FOR PURPOSES OF CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATION, THE DISTRICT SHALL BE TREATED AS A STATE, WITH TWO SENATORS AND AS MANY REPRESENTATIVES IN THE HOUSE AS A SIMILARLY POPULOUS STATE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO, WITH ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATES.

Joe Grano discussed HR 381, "District of Columbia Maryland Reunion Act", introduced by Representative Ralph Regula. All land except for the National Capital Service Area, which constitutes the non-taxable federal property, would be returned to Maryland. DC citizens would become Maryland voters, with all of their rights and responsibilities. After a Presidential proclamation, the law would take effect only after acceptance by Maryland. DC would retain its own representative until after the 2010 census, at which point the Maryland legislature could reapportion the state.

Nelson Rimensnyder gave the details of HR 3709 "District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2004" introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher. The District citizens would vote only in federal elections with those of Maryland, not in state or local elections. Our current delegate would become a Representative as part of the Maryland delegation, and would represent only DC until the 2010 census, when the legislature might reapportion the state. Our Electoral College vote would decrease from three to one.

Susannah Gourevitch, from conversations with the legislative assistant to Representative Tom Davis, told what to expect in the "District of Columbia Fairness in Representation Act". (Shadow Representative Ray Browne has endorsed the Davis bill, which is expected in May). The DC delegate would become a Representative. To balance the Democratic vote, Utah would be granted an additional seat until the 2010 census. The bill would have no effect on the number of electoral votes for DC; it would add one for Utah. Further, the bill does not rule out statehood or retrocession in the future.

Following discussion by the committee, Lloyd Leonard, Senior Lobbyist of LWVUS summarized options. Statehood is the easiest process constitutionally, but hardest politically. The constitutional amendment failed in 1978, and today it would be even harder to obtain ratification by the required number of states. Because reunion would need to be accepted by Maryland, which now has a Republican governor, it is not feasible. Voting with Maryland only in federal elections (Rohrabacher) not only would require acceptance by Maryland, but also after 2010 the lines for the District might well be altered by the Maryland legislature in order to maintain a population balance, and there is a question whether or not the DC residents would have a voice in the re-districting process. The Norton bill argues that the District clause of the constitution would grant Congress the power to make DC a state, but only a Supreme Court decision will settle that issue, and the bill has no Republican co-sponsors. The Davis proposal will preclude nothing for additional voting rights: retrocession, senators, statehood, has a quid pro quo for an additional seat for Utah, will have bipartisan support, at least as long as Utah's lone Democratic representative isn't gerrymandered out in the re-districting process, AND - is proposed by a very powerful Congressman.

The Committee agreed that we should remain committed to our position supporting full voting rights, but be willing to consider interim steps toward attaining those rights. It was the sense of the meeting that efforts should be made to reach member consensus on principles to support and oppose at the May 11 general meeting. — Kathy Schmidt, Chair (237-5550)

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The Voter Services Committee would like to introduce our new intern, Benjamin Kull, a first-year law student at the David A. Clarke School of Law, UDC. As part of their curriculum, first year students are required to do forty hours of unpaid community service for their Law and Justice class. Ben chose to work with the League because of his interest in voting rights for DC residents. "I have lived in Washington for almost eight years now. The voting rights situation here is one which I believe deserves every citizen's attention, both in DC and across the country."

After an interview with President Frances Gemmill and Voter Services co-chairs Elinor Hart and Judy Smith, Ben agreed to research the campaign finance patterns of at-large D.C. Council candidates from 2000, especially those who are running for re-election. The objective is to give voters information about what groups made contributions to which candidates, thus informing citizens about possible interests of and influences on those candidates. Ben will present his results at the April 3 Voting Registration Workshop, and to League members at a later date.

Ben is from Buffalo, New York, and graduated with a B.A., summa cum laude in English from George Washington University. He has studied in Spain and taught English as a Second Language in Washington, D.C., as well as working for Jumpstart for Young Children here. He has also volunteered with DC Vote. For recreation (and to relieve law school stress) he bikes and runs. — Judy Smith, Voter Services Co Chair

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The President of the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations, Mr. Ercument, will speak to us and there will be ample time for Q&A and discussion.

The meeting will be Sunday, April 25th, from 2-4 pm at Susan Rao's house (1504 Girard St., NE, Washington, 202-636-1688). All are welcome!

Our IR discussions have been very interesting and lively this year. If you haven't been to an IR meeting with our "salon" format, you might want to give us a try! — Susan Rao (636-1688) and Anne Porowski (364-0557), Co-chair

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On Sunday, April 25, hundreds of thousands of prochoice individuals will converge on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate widespread support for the right to make reproductive choices.

How to find the League of Women Voters at the March. On April 25, please arrive between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. on the National Mall between 3rd and 14th streets. There will be a morning program with speakers and entertainment as people gather. As you approach the Mall area, look for clearly identified volunteers who will tell you the location of the League's delegation.

Please help the League increase its visibility at the March. Bring your League banners and wear your League gear -- t-shirts, buttons, hats -- to the March. DC League member Chris Matthews will be carrying the DC League banner.

The March for Women's lives has created an on-line calendar of events before and after the March. Go to If you have questions, contact LWVUS Grassroots Coordinator Diana Onken at — LWVUS

[Editor's Note: Those who wish can participate in the march in the morning and still attend the IR Committee "salon" in the afternoon.]

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Election Workshop

Saturday, April 3, 2004
10 am - 12 noon
DC Board of Elections & Ethics
441 Fourth St. NW
(Judiciary Square Metro Stop - Red Line)

This League Workshop will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the headquarters of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Voter registration, with emphasis on how to handle the new federal regulations in the Help America Vote Act, will of course be covered. Tracking campaign contributions, the significance of turnout, and an exploration of Get-Out- the- Vote efforts will also be topics for discussion.

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April 13

For the second year, we will host the reception for new citizens following the naturalization ceremony in April. For those who attended last year, the ceremony was a memorable and moving experience. After the ceremony, we will take up the voter registration forms from the new citizens and then, at the reception, we will have a chance to meet them individually and talk to them about the League and what we do.

The ceremony takes place in Courtroom 20 on the 6th floor of the U.S. District Courthouse, located at 3rd St. and Constitution Avenue N.W. The ceremony begins at 10 o'clock and lasts about 30 minutes. We need to be seated at the front on the left of the courtroom by 9:50 am. The closest Metrp stop is Judiciary Square. Parking is available at meters next to the East Wing of the National Gallery. Come and be part of this celebration of citizenship.

If you can provide flowers for the ceremony, or would be willing to collect the voter registration forms and walk them over to the Board of Elections, located next to the Metro stop, please call Judy Smith 8823021 or Amy Proft 362-3316. — Elinor Hart ((387-2966) and Judy Smith (882-3021), Co Chairs

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"MEDICARE: How to get the most from the new benefit, despite its flaws"

Tuesday, April 6
10:00 am to 1:00 pm

345 Cannon Office Building
1St & C Streets, SE
Metro: Capitol South, Blue & Orange lines.


To help you get your benefits and learn how to survive the new Medicare prescription drug benefit while Congresswoman Norton cosponsors a better bill to get seniors the benefits they deserve.

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Following the Brown Bag Dialogue with Alice Rivlin and Rene Wallis on February 23, several League members (mainly those who were unable to attend the Dialogue) asked this question: What is Medical Homes DC? Following is an excerpt from materials prepared under the auspices of the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA).

Medical Homes DC is needed because "the doctor is out" in many neighborhoods. This doctor shortage leaves people medically homeless, and is the source of poor community health, overuse of emergency rooms, and high cost to the city. Because DC's low-income residents lack medical homes, they don't have a chance to prevent illnesses or to discover them early. When they get lucky and find out they are sick, perhaps at a free diabetes screening at a local fire station, they struggle to find medical care and medications to prevent their diabetes from escalating into crisis.

Medical Homes DC is a citywide effort led by the DCPCA and the Brookings Institution to ensure all DC residents have a medical home, where their health history is maintained, where the doctors and nurses know them as people, and where the doctor will be in. — Frances Gemmill

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Forty members participated in six February Unit meetings to discuss the LWVUS position on Election of the President, and to fill out forms provided by LWVUS for each member's concurrence, or lack thereof, with a proposed new position on Selection of the President. The forms were returned as a bundle to LWVUS before the March 1 deadline; the tabulation of results showed that 11 members "strongly supported" the new position, 7 members "accepted" it; while 24 members "did not accept". The problem seemed two-fold, to judge from comments written on the forms as well as recorders' notes; 1) lack of opportunity to review in depth the problems of the Electoral College, and 2) dissatisfaction with the proposed position's two new sentences. Delegates to Convention 2004 will be asked to vote on whatever the LWVUS Board recommends regarding the new position. In the meantime, LWVDC has sent the LWVUS Board a memo laying out our reservations about both the substance and the process of the concurrence. It will be interesting to see whether other Leagues share our concerns. — Sheila Keeny (966-1692), 3rd Vice President - National Program

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The DC League has had several successful fundraisers this year, starting with our event at Hillwood, which raised about $500. Our direct mail campaign to nonmembers netted $819 for the Education Fund and $50 for the General Fund. The Valentine's Day card party at lona House raised $950 after expenses, with 50 Leaguers attending or contributing. Our profits were enhanced because Elaine Melmed arranged for and donated the lunch. Other donations included the special cake baked by Mary Rodgers' son; a carrot cake made by Hope Marindin's daughter, Joan Domike's famous mince pie, and a special dessert made by Barbara Yeomans. Thank you all.

Our next benefit is with Johnnie Thomas, storyteller extraordinaire (see enclosed flyer), who will present a one-woman program about the Buffalo Soldiers. It will take place on Saturday, May 22, from 2:30-5:00 at Peoples Congregational Church. Tickets are $25, of which $20 is tax-deductible. Elizabeth Martin, (537-3043)

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JUNE 10 - 16, 2004

As in previous years when the LWVUS Convention is held in DC, League members have opened their homes to out of state Leaguers as a Bed & Breakfast alternative to the hotel. This year the convention will be held at the Hilton Washington and Towers on Connecticut Ave., NW. The DC Leaguer provides a bedroom, access to a bathroom, and a light breakfast. In turn, the League charges a daily rate that is split with the hostess. This raises funds for the League and compensates the hostess for the use of her home. If you have a spare bedroom and would like to participate, call Chris Matthews at 269-3890.

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See the Capitol Steps Musical Political Satire for Free!

Be a LWVUS National Convention Volunteer
June 11-15, 2004

and you will have a ticket to the performance on Sunday, June 13th, 7:30 pm
in the Ballroom of the Hilton Washington Hotel

See the flyer enclosed in your March 2004 DC VOTER for further details.

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Welcome New Members

Chandrima Das
Sarah Johnson
Mrs. Toni Miles Maloney
James Rimensnyder
Jon Rimensnyder

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"The Role of Women in the Emerging Government and Society of Iraq" was the topic at the Mayflower Hotel luncheon on Monday, March 8. The luncheon was sponsored by the United Nations Information Center and co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and 15 other organizations. D.C. Leaguers Madlyn Calbert and Kathy Schmidt attended the luncheon. LWVUS President Kay Maxwell introduced one of the six panelists-Anita Sharma, Director for Conflict Prevention Project at Woodrow Wilson International Scholars; Nasreen Barwari, Minister for Municipalities and Public Works in Iraq; Robin Raphael, United States Department of State Coordinator for Iraq Reconstruction; Asia Aydintasbas, Turkish journalist for "Sabah"; Johanna Mendelson-Forman, Senior Program Officer for Peace, Security, and Human Rights of United Nations Foundation; Judith Kipper, Director of Middle East Forum, Council on Foreign Relations. There was general agreement that the current political situation presents an opening for women in Iraq, but there are many obstacles. All agreed that women there need our help. — Kathy Schmidt

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The League of Women Voters of the National Capital Area (LWVNCA) has announced that its 2004 Convention will take place on Saturday, May 15, at 9:30 a.m., at the Arlington Hilton Hotel and Towers in Arlington VA.

LWVNCA is an Inter-League Organization formed to address issues of common interest to our region. In addition to LWVDC, its members include the state Leagues of Virginia and Maryland, plus 10 local Leagues in those two states. Budget autonomy for the District of Columbia is one of the issues supported by LWVNCA; another is voting rights for D.C. Three DC League members currently serve on the LWVNCA Board -Naomi Glass, Elinor Hart, and Grace Malakoff.

The D.C. League will send five voting delegates to this Convention (in addition to the above Board members). In addition to the voting delegates, League members are welcome to attend this opportunity to meet and greet our sister Leagues in the region who enjoy voting privileges, and continue to provide staunch support for our efforts to gain budget autonomy and voting representation.

If you would like to attend this Convention, either as a delegate or an observer, please let me know. Friday, May 7, is the deadline for reservations. — Frances Gemmill (347-3020)

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In our continued efforts to share information with League members on the various issues surrounding the use of DREs in our election system, please see the following four items:

  1. a new Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) statement of principles on electronic voting. "Voting machines and systems must provide for: 1) Non-discrimination, 2) `second chance voting' and Voter Verification, and 3) Compliance with National Certification Standards."
  2. a Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project statement on verifying the vote and auditing elections. "We believe that all new voting equipment should have a voter-verifiable audit system that both allows a voter to double check the vote before it is cast and provides assurance.
  3. a letter to members of Congress by the election reform community. "The security of voting technology is a non-partisan issue and must remain so. The most appropriate forum for reviewing such security issues and developing security standards for voting systems is the EAC, as required under HAVA. To comply with HAVA and meet the election needs of the nation; the EAC must be able to act immediately by forming the technical guidelines committee that will work with NIST to develop updated security standards for DREs and all voting systems. We ask that you support HAVA as enacted and urge the EAC to expeditiously issue these security standards as required by the Act."
  4. an op-ed piece authored by the LWV of Georgia entitled Paper Receipts No Guarantee. "Electronic voting equipment prevents voter errors and reduces errors that commonly result from counting paper ballots, resulting in a more accurate vote count than previously possible." — LWVUS

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Many thanks to members who contributed documents to submit to the D.C. Public Library's Washingtoniana Room. There are still some gaps in our coverage. Although some of the following may be there, they are scattered, and we are trying to build straight runs as possible. If you have any of the following to spare, contact me.

  • Member Handbooks 1994-97 and prior to 1991
  • Membership rosters prior to October 1999
  • Annual Meeting Programs prior to 2001
  • DC VOTERS 1989, Vol. 63, nos. 6-16. — Chris Matthews (269-3890)

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10 AM to 12 Noon
At the Langston-Browne Community Center*
In the multipurpose room on the ground floor
2121 North Culpepper St.
(Corner of Lee Highway and Culpepper St. - one stop light from Lee Highway and North Glebe Road)

Julie Crenshaw, Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee
John Morrill, Arlington Energy Commission
Albert Eisenberg, Virginia House of Delegates

*Note: This Community Center is one of Arlington's famous "Green Buildings"; it has received a Silver Star Award because it is environment -friendly (not because its color is green).

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There will be no Unit meetings in April. Save May 18th - 20th for the next Unit Meetings. — Joan Domike (966-3865)

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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS: We gratefully thank our members for their recent contributions: Martha & Allen Beach, Dorothy Armstrong, Suzanne Campagna, Adrianna Fields, Minnie Fitzhugh, Janice Hopper, Cecelie Jones, Susan Lemkin, Joanna London, Ruth Miller, Betty Nyangoni, Kathryn Ray

MEMBERSHIP: Questions concerning League membership can be directed to Linda Softli (667-8210), Membership Chair. Membership form.

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84th LWVDC Annual Meeting

Thursday Evening
April 22, 2004
5:30 pm Registration
6:00 pm Business Meeting
7:00 pm Buffet Dinner
8:00 pm Guest Speaker

This year the meeting will be held at the David A. Clarke School of Law, UDC Campus - Bldg. 38, 2nd Floor, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW. The Van Ness (Red Line) Metro Station is just a few steps east of UDC. The room is accessible from Connecticut Ave. via a short ramp and an elevator.
Members may attend the meeting portion only without attending the dinner if they wish. Please call the office if you wish to do this so chairs will be made available.

For more information about the meeting see the announcement of the Annual Meeting (mailed to all members March 19, 2004) or contact the League office at 347-3020. Annual meeting reservation form.

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        1 2 3 10am-noon, Election workshop
4 5 6 10am-1pm, meeting on Medicare 7 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Mtg 8 9 10:00 am, NCA Board Mtg 10
11 12 13 9:45am, LWVDC to host reception and voter registration of new US citizens
Deadline for articles, May DC Voter
14 10:00am, Education Cmte Mtg 15 16 Deadline for dinner reservations for April 22 annual meeting 17
18 19 20 21 22 84th LWVDC annual meeting and dinner 23 May DC Voter mailed 24
25 10:30am, March for Women's Lives
2-4pm, IR Cmte salon to discuss Turkey
26 27 28 29 30  

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