Diz Swift (Action Team) and Phyllis Gale (Voter Services Team)
The Election season is upon us – the time when the League of Women Voters shines. We have the opportunity to make a real difference by registering and educating voters and advocating for our positions. The Action and Voter Services Teams are gearing up with a variety of tasks and events.
June-July – Determine Positions on Ballot Measures: We have already begun evaluating ballot measures (see story p. 6). The process first involves getting information on the potential measures, determining if there are some for which we won’t have a position (such as some housekeeping measures), then developing summaries with pros and cons for members only. We do so by interviewing opponents and proponents of each measure in teams of two League Action Team members. We then meet in an all member meeting on July 20, 7:00-9:00PM at the Northbrae Community Church to get member input on the measures. The Board will determine our final positions and any measures we want to strongly advocate for or against.
August: If we determine we want to be a signatory on any measure, we will work with City government and appropriate co-sponsors to draft ballot pamphlet language.
August – Busy Voters Guides (Pros and Cons): Using the Members Only Pros and Cons as a starting point, the Voter Services Team will develop a balanced, non-partisan summary of each measure and write Pros and Cons. These are critical to our mission; they are published and used as the basis for non-partisan voter education that proceeds until the election.
September-October: This is the heart of the election work with many tasks and events. It’s also one of the most exciting and fun times to be in the League.
Voter Registration will continue with tabling at events and Farmers Markets, work at schools and with organizations such as the La Peña Cultural Center and many others.
Voter Education will proceed by publishing our Ballot Measure Pro-Con Busy Voters Guide online and in print, and by speaking on local and California measures at organizations and meetings throughout Berkeley-Albany-Emeryville.
Advocacy will be for those ballot measures that we strongly support or oppose. We will speak at debates, join coalitions and campaigns, table at events and Farmers Markets, distribute information and flyers, publish OpEds if appropriate, and other outreach efforts.
Debates and Forums are currently planned to include:
Mayor and Council Candidate Forums: These are planned as live meetings in council or school board venues in Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville, to be filmed and posted on the web. They will be moderated with a series of questions that each candidate will answer. The Berkeley Mayor forum may be in the auditorium of the Berkeley Community College with other organizations co-sponsoring.
U.S. Senator Debates: We have been in talks with U.C. student groups to coordinate a debate by candidates for U.S. Senate, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez. They hope that the Pauley Auditorium with seating for 900 can be reserved. This is being worked with LWV-California.
Election season is fun and an opportunity to meet interesting people and learn. Be a part. Join the Action or Voter Services Teams – or both!
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