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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 80, No. 6, June 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
June Unit Meetings
Congressional Representation: DC Voting Rights Committee
Education Committee
Healthcare Committee
Welcome New Member

International Relations Committee
Voter Services Committee
National Program: News from LWVUS
National Program: 46th National LWV Convention
Affordable Housing Committee
LWV NCA Prepares for National Convention
National Capital Area 
Capital Steps: Musical Political Satire
The League Mission in an Election Year
Member News
Membership Form
Calendar - June 2004

By Frances Gemmill

Our general meeting on May 11 at the Sumner School, where our purpose was to learn about proposed and potential legislation in Congress regarding Voting representation for DC citizens resulted in the following agreement that while "LWVDC strongly supports our goals of full voting representation in both houses of Congress and full rights of self-government for the citizens of D.C., we support incremental steps to achieve these goals..." Please see p.2 for a full report on the meeting.

On May 15, the Annual Convention of the National Capital Area League was attended by about 50 delegates. [The DC League was well represented by delegates, observers, and DC members representing us on the Board of the NCA League.] In addition to administrative business, the meeting gave attention to program committee reports, including Transportation (which reported a consensus), DC Finances, Housing, and Homeland Security. The members of the Homeland Security Committee presented a detailed report of its studies during the past year, and recommended that during the coming year it manage a speakers bureau to facilitate speakers for local League-sponsored programs. A caucus on "Homeland Security and Terrorism" has been scheduled at the request of NCA League for the LWVUS Convention in June.

The LWVUS Convention will take place this year June 11-15 at the Connecticut Avenue Hilton, and NCA Leaguers are working hard to arrange activities for delegates as well as to provide volunteers for the many duties needed to keep the convention on track. Visits to the Chinese Embassy (which is in walking distance of the hotel) as well as to Africare House are being arranged. Volunteers will serve as doorkeepers, information centers, and more during the Convention, and they will receive complimentary tickets to the performance of the Capitol Steps. Helen Thomas will be speaker at the banquet, and Sen. Richard Lugar will speak at a lunch. Our DC delegates to the LWVUS Convention are Frances Gemmill, Grace Malakoff, Madlyn Calbert, Kathryn Ray. Other DC Leaguers who will attend as observers or volunteers are Sheila Keeny, Kathy Schmidt, Reggie Yancey.

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June Unit Meetings Are Designated "Unit's Choice"

June is traditionally a month when Units choose their program. Some Units develop programs involving their own elected officials, while others organize a social luncheon. Call your Unit Chair to learn what is planned for your Unit.

Chevy Chase/Ingleside, Ruth Allen 362-8953, Joan Wilson 237-6264
In-Town Evening, Sheila Willet 347-3020
Northwest Day, Frances Gemmill 362-6784
Southwest Day, Leona Rumsey 863-7484, Gladys Weaver 554-3055
Upper 16th Street, Paula McKann 829-0656, Constance Tate 882-0387
Evening Unit, Joan Domike 966-3865, Jean Hall 362-4526

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DC Voting Rights Committee

On Tuesday, May 11, 2004, a general meeting of LWVDC members took place in The Sumner School, beginning at 11:30 am. About 30 members attended. Kathy Schmidt, Chair of the LWVDC Voting Rights Committee, which has been meeting monthly since September 2003 to study current developments in Congress and in our town regarding Voting Rights, introduced four committee members who served on a panel to describe and report on proposals in three bills and one potential bill in Congress. Lloyd Leonard, Director of Lobbying for LWVUS, moderated the discussion. Noting that in the past, the League has supported tactical steps toward goals, he said the purpose of the meeting was to determine what the next step should be in our quest for full voting rights for D.C.

Joanna London described HR 1285, "No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2003", which was introduced by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (currently with 138 co-sponsors) and its companion bill S617, which was introduced by Senator Lieberman (currently with 16 cosponsors). DC would be treated for Congressional voting rights as if it were a state, as it is in many other situations. Procedures for the first election are spelled out, but the Senate would determine the terms of the first elected Senators. The 23rd Amendment would stand. The number of DC Representatives could never exceed that of the smallest state.

Joe Gram described HR 381, "District of Columbia Maryland Reunion Act", which was introduced by Rep. Ralph Regula. In this bill, DC would become a part of Maryland, but the federal enclave, "National Capital Service Area" (Supreme Court, Congress, Ft. McNair, and the Mall, but NOT Rock Creek Park or the Anacostia) would remain under federal control. Until the 2010 census, the House would have 436 members. Maryland would have to approve this

Maryland House of Delegates, be under the (accept DC), which would vote for members of the Maryland courts, and be represented by the Maryland Congressional delegation. The 23rd amendment would be repealed.

Nelson Rimensnyder described HR 3709 "District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2004", which was introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. It would restore voting rights to the 1801 status for federal elections only: a DC Representative, DC voting for senators, President, and Vice President with the state of Maryland, after repeal of the 23rd amendment.

Susannah Gourevitch described the latest draft of a bill to be introduced by Rep. Tom Davis, "District of Columbia Fairness in Representation Act". Until 2010, house membership would be 437; after 2010, again 435. Along with a Representative for DC would be an additional one for Utah, and Mormon missionaries would be counted as residents of Utah, even when they were out of the country. DC will retain a seat despite population   fluctuations. The right to legislate is assumed on the basis of the District clause of the Constitution. There is no provision for any Senate representation. Territories would not be treated like DC. Utah would be granted an additional vote in the Electoral College. Statehood and/or retrocession would be possible in the future. As with other bills, a constitutional challenge is possible. 

Before discussion and questions began, Parliamentarian Geraldine Whitley reminded members of the Rules of Debate as outlined in Roberts Rules of Order. Lloyd Leonard accepted questions and comments for the panel. The following points emerged.

  • Although Maryland would have to accept DC under either retrocession bill, DC citizens would have no voice.
  • Virginia retroceded after a petition from its citizens so requested. Borders of a state can be changed only with the consent of that state. The Regula bill, but not the Rohrabacher, would require Maryland acceptance.
  • The Constitution created the Federal Enclave, therefore; it cannot be destroyed.
  • Under the Regula bill, DC would be subject to Maryland taxes and determination of boundaries.
  • Under the Rohrabacher bill, Senators could come from anywhere in Maryland or the District; although DC would be suggested as a separate entity, there is no such requirement.
  • Political realities were obvious in 1970 and 1973, when the Home Rule legislation neglected any voice in the Senate for DC.
  • Missionaries for the Church of Latter Day Saints are required to spend two years outside their homes in Utah.
  • After the 2000 census, North Carolina was awarded the 435th seat, not Utah.
  • As a strong plea, several attendees asked that DC be granted the right to consult about the legislation. 
  • The four bills will have a hearing in June from the Government Reform Committee, of which Rep. Davis is Chair. 
  • Obtaining two DC Senators in the foreseeable future is not possible; retrocession is improbable; the Davis bill is a possibility as are amendments to it.

Following discussion, the members present agreed that the League should support the statement highlighted in the text box on the previous page. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550) Chair

Following discussion, the members present agreed that the League should support the following statement..


The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia strongly supports our goals of full voting representation in both houses of Congress and full rights of self-government for the citizens of the District, and we support incremental steps to achieve these goals, with the following criteria: the integrity of the District of Columbia shall be maintained; incremental steps should address representation in the Senate; and final determination of the status of the District shall involve a voice of the citizens of the District of Columbia in that determination. — Adopted May 11. 2004

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The Education Committee needs to know whether D.C. League members believe our current position on the D.C. Board of Education, summarized below, is still valid.

From LVWDC Positions in Brief, adopted February 1982 and re-affirmed April 2003:

Board of Education: The Board should be a policy making body. Members should be chosen in nonpartisan consolidated general elections on both an at-large and a ward basis. The Board should choose its own President. ...

Please respond to one of the Education Committee members listed below:

Constance Tate, 882-0387
Gladys Weaver, 554-3055
Barbara Luchs, 363-0853

If you wish to respond in writing, please call the D.C. League office at 347-3020 for appropriate addresses.

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The Health Committee is getting active again under co-chairs Goody Braun and Rene Wallis. Bring your brown bag lunch to the first meeting, Thursday, June 10, from 12:30 - 2:00 pm at the DC League office, 733 15th St. NW, Suite 432.

The purpose: for Leaguers to tell the Committee on which issues to focus its attention. Whether you will be able to work on the committee or not, your views will be helpful. So come and voice your opinion. — Goody Braun (882-9335) and Rene Wallis (462-1296,638-0252 w), Co-chairs

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Welcome New Member

Betty Pierce

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The International Relations Committee is holding a book discussion on October 3rd, 2004 on PARIS, 1919: SIX MONTHS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, by Margaret MacMillan. The book is highly recommended by IR member Janet Burmester, and it has won many prizes. Following is an excerpt from the Amazon website: "For six months, Pans was effectively the center of the world as peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews.

The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war.

Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.

The book discussion will be held at Susan and Firoze Rao's house on Sunday, October 3, from 2-4 pm. It is widely available in bookstores, the DC Public Library, and at It is not a fast read, so interested League members are advised to add the book to their summer reading lists. If you have questions, please contact Co-chair Susan Rao at 636-1688. — Susan Rao (636-1688) and Anne Porowski (364-0556) Co-chairs

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Nominating petitions for the September 14th Primary Election will become available on Friday May 14. The following contests will appear on the September ballot:

Democratic, Republican, and DC Statehood Green Party nominees for Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives

Democratic, Republican, and Statehood Green Party Nominee for At-Large Member of the City Council

Democratic, Republican, and DC Statehood Green Party Nominee for Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8 Member of the City Council

Democratic, Republican, and Statehood Green Party Nominee for United States Representative

Democratic National Committee Members

DC Democratic State Committee Members

The petitions can be picked up at the DC Board of Elections and Ethics office in Room 250-North in the One Judiciary Square Building at 441 Fourth Street, NW. The Board's office is open Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. The filing deadline for candidates for these offices is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7.

DC BoEE Offers Training Sessions for Candidates and Petition Circulators

The DC BoEE will conduct training sessions for candidates, circulators of nominating petitions, and petition circulators of ballot measures (initiatives, referenda, and recall measures) for the 2004 elections. These training sessions are designed to inform participants of the Board's petition circulation guidelines.

The training sessions will be held in Room 280 of the One Judiciary Square Building, 441 - 4th Street, NW on the following dates:

Date Time
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 12:10 pm
Wednesday, June 16, 2004 12:10 pm
Wednesday, June 30, 2004 12:10 pm
Wednesday, July 14, 2004 12:10 pm
Wednesday, July 28, 2004 12:10 pm
Wednesday, August 11, 2004 12:10 pm
We congratulate the Board of Elections and Ethics for offering these programs, and encourage all interested candidates and circulators to take advantage of the opportunity. Each session will run for approximately 45 minutes, and you are encouraged to bring your lunch. 

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Kay Maxwell, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, testified at the first public hearing of the Election Assistance Commission on May 5, 2004. She said, in part:

"The immediate issue facing this Commission, and our Nation, is the 2004 general election. We cannot afford to have a replay of 2000, when purging and other election practices undermined voter participation, and when millions of Americans questioned the outcome and legitimacy of the presidential election.

"The 2004 election is in danger. Most Americans will vote on the same machines they did in 2000. Reforms to ensure proper and accurate voter registration rolls are far from complete. Citizens are concerned about the security of voting systems, access to the vote, and the counting of votes. We call on the Election Assistance Commission to set operational and management safeguards in the form of best practices for the 2004 election.

"It is vital that the controversy over election practices not scare voters away from the polls ... we must always encourage people to vote, while we work to improve voter access and ensure that every vote will count.

"Specific security measures are needed for each significant type of voting machine that Americans will use in 2004. Punch cards will be used by approximately 20% of the voters; lever machines by about 15 percent; optical scan machines by about 30 percent, and electronic systems by about 30 percent. Each type of system raises particular security and access concerns that must be addressed.

"The League believes that Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems can be an important part of election reform efforts. As part of a well-managed election system, DREs have strong public support, improve access and reduce errors in casting and counting the vote.

"The League takes quite seriously the questions raised about DRE security, and the management and operational practices in the real world. It is vitally important to ensure that DRE systems, as well as other systems, are properly managed. Some have proposed a particular solution - the so-called voter-verified paper trail (WPT). There are many questions to be answered before we go down the WPT route. After careful examination of these questions, the League has not been persuaded of the wisdom of the voter-verified paper trail in 2004."

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Engaging The Nation
COMING TO DC June 11-15

Delegates from State, local, regional, and big city Leagues from around the country will gather here in Washington for their annual Convention. This year it will be at the Connecticut Avenue Hilton and Towers. New officers will be elected, program will be considered, the delegates will enjoy a performance by the Capitol Steps. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Richard Lugar will be a luncheon speaker, and newswoman Helen Thomas will speak at the banquet.

Our National Capital Area League is still looking for help with the floor committee, registration, hospitality, and other committees as we all gear up to welcome these visitors. See next page to volunteer. Volunteers receive a free ticket to the performance of the Capital Steps on Sunday evening.

Guests are welcome at the comedy performance by The Capital Steps -- $25 at the door - Sunday, June 13. Also, guests may attend the Monday, June 14 evening banquet ($55/person) - reservations are suggested. Send a check made payable to LWVUS and a self addressed stamped envelop to LWVUS Convention, 1730 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-4508. Indicate on check June 14"' Convention Banquet.

Our own DC League merits 4 delegates who will represent the League and be able to vote on the convention floor; they are Grace Malakoff, Madlyn Calbert, Kathryn Ray, and Frances Gemmill. Sheila Keeny will attend some plenary sessions as an observer. These delegates will meet following the June 2 Board meeting to review potential issues that other Leagues may raise as well as issues we'd like to receive attention.

DC League members may attend the convention as non-voting observers by paying the registration fees to LWVUS Convention Registration, 1730 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-4508 by June 4th. The fees are: $265 Full registration (includes banquet;) $125 One-day Registration: $100 Student Registration.

More LWVUS News

The People Speak: The United Nations Foundation will launch a second round of The People Speak this fall and we are looking for local and state League's that would like to organize an event in their communities. Grants are available to those Leagues wishing to participate.

Last year, the UN Foundation, the League of Women Voters, and thirteen other organizations, asked Americans to participate in a national debate about the future of America's role in the world. The People Speak asked doctors and lawyers, students and teachers, families, and neighbors to ask each other tough questions about the direction of America's current foreign policy. All told, over 2,000 events took place in all fifty states. Twenty-one Leagues organized a total of 21 forums and co-sponsored eight debates. This year's three topics include: Peace, Security, and Human Rights; Prosperity in a Global Economy; and Energy Choices and Environmental Challenges. Additional information can be found at  

Voter Turnout - Let's Turn it Up - League partners with the National Association of Broadcasters: The LWVUS and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) partnered to produce Voter Turnout• Let's Turn it Up! an election 2004 guidebook for local independent radio and television stations. The guide provides detailed information on how local broadcasters, working with state and local Leagues - can boost turnout in their communities in 2004. The guidebook was distributed to broadcasters and state and local Leagues in spring 2004. A PDF of this publication will be available soon on the Web site.

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Following are excerpts from a May 15 report from Janet Brown, a knowledgeable and persevering activist on the subject of Affordable Housing.

"The Council voted unanimously yesterday to fully fund the Housing Production Trust Fund - at $40.5 million! That's dedicated funding, at '15% of recordation and real estate transfer taxes', a mantra we must keep repeating. And then, the Council restored most of the human services cuts, though they put some of the funds in a 'contingency' status, which means that the Administration will have to justify and certify to the Council exactly what the money will be spend on before it is spent. 

..."The Affordable Housing Alliance's two Trust Fund amendments (getting the administrative money to DHCD at the beginning of the cycle and lengthening affordability to 40 years for rental and 15 for for-sale homes), introduced by Fenty with ten co-sponsors, went flying through. Only Brazil objected, and only to the latter, and even he voted for it.

"The Council remains divided, pretty much seven to six, with the majority (including some of our best friends) determined to limit budget growth and to exercise tougher oversight. Remember to thank your Council members, all of them! — Janet Brown, Committee Member

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Are you involved?

The LWVUS Board and staff have been working diligently to organize this year's National Convention: "Engaging the Nation". Behind the scenes they depend on members from the National Capital Area Leagues to become volunteers to do the many tasks that helps the Convention to run smoothly. From registration desk to information desk, , ushers & greeters to floor monitors & timekeeper - each job is important to the overall success of the Convention.

DC League members are encouraged to become a volunteer. It's an opportunity to be behind the scenes! 

TO VOLUNTEER TO HELP ONE OR MORE DAYS: contact Janet Hays, tel: 703-860-0112, email:, or Shirley Olson, 703 860-0512,

As a thank you for volunteering, you will receive a free ticket to the performance of the Capital Steps: Musical Political Satire. Call or email Janet or Shirley today.

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The Annual Convention of the National Capital Area League took place on Saturday, May 15, 2004, at the Arlington-Hilton from 9:30 am to 1 pm. About 50 delegates and observers from most of its member Leagues attended, including DC Leaguers Frances Gemmill, Grace Malakoff, Madlyn Calbert, Kathryn Ray, Leona Rumsey, Linda Softli, Sheila Willet, and Joan Wilson. Elinor Hart of DC, a member of the NCA Board, also attended and gave a report on DC Finances.

Other Program Committees reporting were Transportation (a consensus report was presented), Housing, and Homeland Security. Members of the Homeland Security Committee reported on developments in their individual jurisdictions, and the Committee stated its intention to manage a Speakers Bureau to present information at local-League sponsored events in the coming year. The Committee has also made arrangements for a caucus on Homeland Security and Terrorism at the LWVUS Convention on Monday, June 14, 2004. 

Our Democracy, Our Airwaves: Marian Fox of the Maryland State League spoke to support the "Our Democracy, Our Airwaves " Act, a Bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to establish minimum air time requirements on television and radio stations for candidate-centered and issue-centered programming prior to primary and general elections, plus other extensions to facilitate the use of broadcast air time for candidates and elections for six weeks preceding a primary or general election. LWVUS is a major coalition partner of the Alliance for Better Campaigns in the Our Democracy, Our Airwaves campaign, and the Maryland State League is one of 10 State Partner Leagues. Marian urged all NCA Leagues to make use of the mini-kit she provided, and to be sure to have copies of the declaration whenever voters are being registered. — Frances Gemmill

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Capital Steps: Musical Political Satire
Sunday, June 13 at 7:30 pm
In the Ballroom, Hilton Washington Hotel
1919 Connecticut Avenue NW

To purchase tickets: Send check made payable to L W V NCA for the full amount ($25/ticket) and a self addressed stamp envelop to Linda Dwyer, 604 Melrose St., Alexandria, VA 22302 (703-549-3263, email: 

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"The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy."

The two operative issues are "a nonpartisan political organization" and "active participation of citizens in government." How do we as members of the League achieve both in an election year? The whole election process whether as a candidate or a supporter embodies the concept of active participation.

The guidelines are simple:

  • When we are participating in any activity as a League member we refrain from voicing verbally or in writing support or non-support for a candidate.
  • If we are known in the community as a League member we preface any candidate support or non-support with the words: " I am not speaking for the League, this is my personal opinion."
  • To avoid any resemblances to partisanship, Board members will take a leave of absence from the Board while supporting any particular candidate.

Yes, we as citizens and League members can participate in the campaigning and election activities for a candidate as long as we make it know to others we are not speaking for the League or that our actions do not reflect on the League. If you have any particular concerns or questions about nonpartisanship and supporting candidates, please call the League office.

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Rev. William E. Calbert (husband of our Vice Pres. Madlyn Calbert) has been invited to be a guest of the Republic of France during ceremonies celebrating DDay. Rev. Calbert will receive the French Legion of Merit. League member William Simons, another honoree, will attend the same ceremonies with his wife Elaine.

Condolences: With sadness we report the recent death of long time member Virginia Devine and offer condolences to her friends and family. Contributions: We gratefully acknowledge and thank the following members for their contributions to support the League: J. Merton England, Vinna Freeman, Frances Gemmill, Naomi Glass, Anne R. Goldberg, Virginia Gorman, E. Patricia Hallman, Iona Hargrave, Elizabeth Hobby, Natalie Howard, Norma Hutton, Joan Keenan, Sheila Keeny, Lois Laster, Ruth Nadel, Marilou Righini, Leona Rumsey, William & Elaine Simons, Anne Meredith Smoke, Mary Weiler, Barbara Yeomans.

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Click here, print, and send to LWVDC, 733 15th Street, NW, #432, Washington, DC 20006

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    1 2 10:00 am, LWVDC Board Meeting 3 4 5
6 7 12 noon, Unit Council 8 9:45-11:00 am, voter registration at naturalization ceremony for new US citizens 9 10:00 am, Education Cmte Meeting 10 12:30 pm, Health Cmte Meeting 11 LWVUS 2004 National Convention, through June 15 12
13 7:30 pm, Capital Steps, $25 14 LWVUS Convention Banquet, $55 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      

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