Community organizations—including League of Women Voters of Champaign County, Bend the Arc: CU, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Champaign-Urbana Alumnae Chapter, and the NAACP Champaign County—are joining together to take action in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.
This Act, to be introduced in Congress later this year, would restore the full protections of the original, bipartisan Voting Rights Act of 1965, gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013.
Two opportunities to take action are coming up soon! The May 3 event focuses on learning about the Act. The May 8 event is part of a national day of action. Details for both events are below.
Learn How to Contact Congress, May 3, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event features information about the Act and shows how to take action by contacting your Members of Congress.
To register/RSVP, click here. The Zoom link for this event will be sent to everyone who registers before 6:00 pm on May 3. We look forward to seeing you!
Join in the National Day of Action May 8
Plans for a CU-wide Votercades as part of the May 8 nationwide John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act Day of Action are coming together!
The coalition of community groups is now finalizing routes for Votercades to bring our message to as many neighborhoods in CU as possible in an hour. All we’ll need are you and your car to make it a success.
Tentative May 8 Local Schedule:
Learn more about this national Day of Action at https://bit.ly/32qFi2V. To sign up to participate in our C-U Votercade, livestream our event, or donate needed supplies click here.
For more information and ways you can volunteer, contact Karen Fresco firstname.lastname@example.org or Ann Prisland email@example.com
Join the Champaign County League on Thursday, April 29, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm on Zoom for a presenation by Chuck Stone, Braver Angels representative for Illinois
One thing most Americans can agree on is that political differences are a significant problem in our country today, affecting relationships at all levels. Many people are disinclined to take part in discussions with those they disagree with politically. Yet, many Americans believe we must shift and overcome our political divisions if America is to survive as a democracy.
Braver Angels is an organization that has received considerable attention since the 2016 elections. At a time when it is rare to bring Red and Blue together that is exactly what Braver Angels does, saying “Come with your convictions, your willingness to listen, and your readiness to talk with others who disagree with you.”
The League is truly fortunate to have two leaders in the Illinois Braver Angels as guest presenters at this program to talk to us about how they do this, its successes and challenges - Chuck Stone, J.D., faculty member at DePaul and Illinois coordinator for Braver Angels, and Madeline McCarren, Ph.D., volunteer for Braver Angels.
Come and hear what they have to say – and they are very interested in hearing what you have to say as well. You will leave with much to think about.
See the Braver Angels website for more about the organization.
A Report from the Legislative Hour on April 19: Find Out What's Happening with Election Bills in Illinois
The LWVIL Legislative Hour on April 19, 2021 featured Senator Julie Morrison and Representative Katie Stuart answering questions about prospects for election laws in this legislative session. Sharon Alter and Barb Laimins, LWVIL Election Law Specialists, provided this assessment of what was learned:
“[These two legislators] both anticipate an election omnibus bill to be passed this legislative session. Time for us to go to work and contact our legislators and encourage them to include provisions on the LWV election law position [sent out to all LWVIL members previously].
For those who weren't on the call today—they are open to state-wide uniformity for vote by mail ballots, preregistration for 16-year-olds, further clarification for ballot tracking, and candidates including an email when filing their petition papers for office.
Sadly, there does not seem to be enthusiasm in the Legislature for moving back the primary election dates or rank choice voting at this time according to Senator Morrison and Representative Stuart."
This Legislative Hour also included a report from Rep. Camille Lilly on the status of HB158, which addresses a variety of healthcare issues. The bill is currently with the governor for signature. Also included was a report from Senator L.G. Simms on HB3653, the criminal justice reform bill recently signed by the governor. "
Here's a direct link to the video of the session as posted by the Illinois League of Women Voters.
The Illinois League of Women Voters has a number of other videos on current issues. See their Webinar and Video Programs page to browse.
Below is an update from the Illinois League of Women Voters (LWVIL). (Source here.)
Monday, April 19, 4-5 pm
Join state legislators for a discussion of the latest developments in bills advancing through the General Assembly. This time, we'll talk equity at the ballot box and in all areas to meet basic human needs. Registration required. The access link will be sent on the day of the event.
Below is an update from the Illinois League of Women Voters (LWVIL) on redistricting events for the state of Illinois. There's information upcoming deadlines and how you can help. (Source here.)
Redistricting. Once a decade, legislative maps all over the US are redrawn based on new federal census numbers. Once a decade, voting districts can, and do, shift on local, state and federal lines.
COVID-delayed Census counts will not be available until September, yet the Illinois Constitution requires that maps be drawn and approved by the state legislature by June 30—so Illinois lawmakers are moving forward. Both the House and Senate Redistricting Committees are currently in the midst of a month of more than 40 public redistricting hearings being held statewide.
Public hearings allow community members to provide input about their interests, needs, and demographics that might have shifted in the past decade.
LWVIL’s mission to protect voter representation puts it squarely in support of fair and equitable map drawing. For the past decade, LWVIL has advocated unsuccessfully for a legally-mandated independent mapping commission as a way to provide permanent protection from partisan gerrymandering, ensuring that the needs of a community precede the political goals of legislators.
In the absence of an independent commission, transparency and community input must be part of the redistricting process. LWVIL’s testimony during current hearings suggests that additional public hearings should be held after maps are drawn, so adjustments can be made based on public input prior to voting on the final maps.
However, unless things change, once hearings are completed on April 24, the Illinois General Assembly will begin drawing maps. If approved by the House and Senate, these can be sent directly to the Governor. Illinois voters will have to rely on Governor Pritzker’s repeated public statements that he will veto any partisan map.
Elected representatives are the voice of their communities, and the impact of new maps and new districts will be felt for another decade. Voters must speak up now while the maps are being drawn.
Contact your legislator--let them know you want a district that reflects your community of interest.
Set aside April 29 for an LWV Day of Action. More information coming soon.
The League of Women Voters of Champaign County (LWVCC) is offering a new series of educational programs on current local and state issues on the third Wednesday of the month, 12:00 pm. The public is invited to attend.
The first Wednesday Discussion topic will be Ranked Choice Voting - what it is and how it works. Ranked Choice Voting has been proposed as a way to break our current gridlocked election system. Several bills which would provide for this new method of counting have been introduced in the Illinois legislature. LWVCC President Trisha Crowley will present the topic. Join in to learn and to discuss.
Register in advance for this Zoom meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The announcement below is adapted from a tweet by Champaign County Clerk's office that indicates Governor Pritzker just signed HB1871 to allow drop box use in all future elections in #Illinois....Champaign County voters will be able to use drop boxes for the April 6, Consolidated Election!