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Posts Tagged ‘2012 election’

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, AAUW would like to pause to give thanks for the many opportunities and advancements for women and girls in 2012. The full list is available on AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist, but here’s a sampling of what we are thankful for this year:

  • We are thankful for the AAUW states, branches, and coalition partners that made voter education and mobilization a priority as part of the AAUW Action Fund It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign. With your work and commitment, we challenged millennial women to make their voices heard — and they were.
  • We are thankful for the first responders who placed themselves in harm’s way to help during superstorm Sandy. Our hearts continue to go out to those affected by the storm, especially those still suffering weeks later and the communities looking at years of rebuilding and recovery.
  • We are thankful for the record number of women who will serve in the 113th Congress: 20 in the Senate and 78 representatives and three delegates in the House. We are particularly grateful for the states that elected their first female senators — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin — and the other “firsts”  in the 2012 elections, which broke representation barriers for religion, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
  • (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Moon/Released)We are thankful for the implementation of the requirement that all new health insurance plans must cover — without copays — eight additional women’s preventive care services, including contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and breastfeeding support.
  • We are thankful that the U.S. Olympic Team had more female athletes than male athletes for the first time in history, and we are thankful that women won 29 of the U.S. teams’ 46 gold medals. We are also thankful that 16-year-old Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win a gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics competition.
  • We are thankful for AAUW’s new research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, which uses the latest nationally representative data to explore the earnings difference between women and men college graduates who are working full time one year after graduation. It also examines one immediate effect that the pay gap has on many women: the heavy burden of student loan debt. The report has been featured by Reuters, U.S. News and World Report, and the Washington Post.
  • We are thankful for the Senate-passed, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which builds on the success of previous reauthorizations, addresses the needs of all victims nationwide, and includes important campus safety provisions. AAUW will continue to pressure the House to agree to this vital reauthorization.
  • We are thankful for the 40th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the landmark legislation that ensures equal opportunity in education for all students. We are also thankful for the release of a report, published by a coalition that AAUW chaired, recognizing this milestone.
  • We are thankful for our stalwart allies on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who introduced legislation to fix the Supreme Court’s problematic decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes.
  • We are thankful that Congress prevented student loan interest rates from doubling over the summer.
  • We are thankful that Connecticut’s paid sick days law went into effect on January 1 and that a similar Seattle law went into effect on September 1.
  • We are thankful for AAUW members and supporters who generously give of their time, talents, and treasures to empower all women and girls to advance their education, increase their economic security, and develop their leadership skills.

Please visit AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist to read the full list of what we are thankful for this year and to sign up for the AAUW Action Network so you can help us advocate for AAUW priority issues and add to this list of advancements next year.

From all of us at AAUW to our more than 150,000 members, donors, and supporters nationwide: Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and a safe and joyful start to your holiday season!

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via Andreas PraefckeThe Obama administration invited leaders of national women’s groups to the White House Tuesday for a conversation on the budget and other issues facing the country. Just a week after the election, AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman was at the table with President Obama; senior adviser Valerie Jarrett; Cecilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council; and Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, to discuss AAUW priorities.

The president’s decision to meet with women’s group leaders — and the tone at the meeting itself — reinforced the significance of the role women played in helping to re-elect the president. For AAUW, this high-level, small-group conversation represented an important post-election step in keeping a policy focus on issues critical to women and families.

“AAUW’s advocacy efforts throughout the presidential campaign sought not only to encourage women to vote but also to make clear that their work did not end with the election,” Hallman said. “With their votes, women positioned themselves to be an important and influential voice in the conversations ahead. We hope Tuesday’s meeting at the White House proves to be just the beginning of opportunities for women to be at the table and to be heard.”

AAUW set out immediately following the election to remind the White House and Congress of women’s key role in holding politicians accountable. We will send the Obama administration a list of AAUW priorities for the new term. These include issuing an executive order outlawing federal contractors from retaliating against employees who ask about compensation, requiring federal agencies to conduct Title IX compliance reviews at all institutions receiving federal funds, and working with Congress to pass an inclusive Violence Against Women Act. We outlined many of these priorities in our September 2012 report on the Obama administration.

AAUW also hosted a Twitter campaign to compile recommendations for the president and the new Congress to address on their first days of the upcoming term, and we have educated our members and blog readers to be prepared for sequestration talks in the next month.

“The president sent a message to women Tuesday that he wants to work with us on the issues we care about,” Hallman said. “Now women have to send a message back to the president and Congress that makes our priorities known and says we are ready to work together to improve the lives of women and families. We’re here to make progress — our vote was just the beginning.”

This post was written by AAUW Political Media Coordinator Elizabeth Owens.

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our weekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

It’s not every day that Rosie the Riveter and Garth Algar from Wayne’s World get to hang out, but on the night of Trick or Vote, it’s the kind of thing you just expect. On Halloween, I had the opportunity to work alongside a team of energized volunteers at my local university as we reached out to an underrepresented cross-section of the voting population: college students.

As you probably know already, the AAUW Action Fund has led the high-energy, high-return, nonpartisan It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign to mobilize women voters, especially women of the millennial generation (ages 18–31). This year, the AAUW Action Fund partnered with Trick or Vote to combine civic engagement and democracy in a fun way for young voters.

I had the chance to partner with some downright fabulous volunteers, and together we reached out to 982 students on the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, campus. We were just one of many organizations working in 41 states to offer young voters a Halloween mix of costumes and community service. We handed out voter location information, It’s My Vote swag — buttons, temporary tattoos, and door hangers — pens, and bracelets, all to remind millennials about when and where to vote. A big shout out to Rachel Fleming of United Council for partnering with us on the event.

Brady Klein, an honors student and lead volunteer, said, “Voting isn’t scary — in fact, it’s a lot of fun. Trick or Vote saw amazing interest here in Eau Claire from young voters. We can tell from the energy that 2012 is going to be huge. With the costumes, candy, and voter outreach, we had a lot of fun. At the same time, we helped answer common voting questions about polling locations and encouraged citizens to vote in this election.”

True enough, we had a great time, but some of the feedback we got from the young voters we canvassed was that they still were not sure where to vote, let alone what day to vote. So guess what that means? Even though so many of us have worked endless hours and organized many outreach events, the work is not done!

Won’t you join me to give it your all, even if that’s just one more hour of your time invested in the lives of young women voters? Between now and Election Day, I’ll be leading three AAUW phone banking events, and there will be more AAUW events in my state. Contact your local AAUW branch leader to let her know that you’re on board to make a difference in young women’s lives in these last days before the election.

On behalf of my youngish, 32-year-old self and my daughter, who is in the second grade, thank you! Your investment in our lives will make a difference. One day, my daughter will read about Lilly Ledbetter in her history book, and I will be able to tell her that thanks to good policy decisions and devoted women’s groups like AAUW, women’s equity is more of a reality.

I’m excited to work with you for this last get-out-the-vote weekend!

This post was written by Catherine Emmanuelle, AAUW Eau Claire (WI) Branch member, It’s My Vote Wisconsin organizer, and appointed city council member.

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our weekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

Election Day is around the corner! You have been preparing for months to ensure that women’s voices are heard on Tuesday, November 6 — now is the time to make sure your vote is counted.

AAUW is proud to partner with Election Protection to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Before you head to the polls, learn how to protect your vote and what to do if something goes wrong. Even if you have already taken advantage of early voting, you can strengthen your impact by sharing this information with friends and family members.

Be Prepared on Election Day

  • Know your polling place. You can locate your polling place online at www.866OurVote.org.

Know Your Rights

If you are an eligible voter, you have the following rights:

  • If your name is not on the official voter list but you believe you are eligible to vote in that precinct — even if an election official challenges you — you have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
  • If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote no matter how long it takes to get to the voting booth.
  • In many states, employers must allow you time to vote at some point during the day. Check your personnel policies with your employer.
  • You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.
  • If you are elderly or if you have a disability, you have the right to vote using an accessible voting method, and you may have the right to receive help with voting by an election officer or any other person of your choice.
  • Visit the Election Protection website for more information on your rights.

Know the Issues

Encourage Others to Vote

  • Make voting a social outing — bring your friends, family, and neighbors with you to vote, and help others get to the polls by arranging rides.
  • Wear your “I voted” sticker the rest of the day to show your co-workers that you voted, and encourage them to vote, too.
  • Send this blog post to your friends and family.
  • Take our “3 x 3” challenge by calling three millennial women ages 18–31 and asking them three simple questions:
  1. Will you pledge to vote this year?
  2. What is your plan for getting to the polls?
  3. Will you call three young women and ask them the same questions?

What if Something Goes Wrong?

First, document it. If there are specific individuals challenging your right to vote, intimidating voters, or interfering with the process, try to get their names. Write down exactly what happened, including the time of day, descriptions of the people involved, and any other details you can remember.

Then, report it. There are many organizations that will be working to respond quickly to complaints of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud. Here’s who to call:

  • 866.OUR.VOTE (866.687.8683). This hotline has been set up by the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. They have hundreds of lawyers standing by to immediately respond to problems at the polls. Call as soon as possible after you encounter problems.
  • Voters who believe they have been the victims of racial discrimination in voting should contact the U.S. Department of Justice at 800.253.3931 in addition to 866.OUR.VOTE.

For more voter resources, visit the AAUW Action Fund website. Together, we can ensure women’s voices are heard on Tuesday, November 6.

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our weekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

This Election Day, AAUW staff members have some important phone calls to make. Our yearlong, nonpartisan investment in getting young women to vote won’t stop until the polls close. Our entire staff — almost 100 people — will spend the day calling young women to remind them to vote. We won’t tell them how to vote — we just want them to vote.

Taking an entire day of staff time to make phone calls to potential voters may seem unusual for a busy organization, but those of us who have spent a year working on our nationwide It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and mobilization campaign wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ll sleep better — or sleep, period — knowing we did everything we could to remind people to vote!

With that in mind, we’ll also take turns on Election Day staffing a table outside of the AAUW national office at 1111 Sixteenth St. NW in Washington, D.C., with candy to reward those who walk by with “I Voted Today” stickers. No sticker? We’ll remind you to vote! And, yes, you can come back for candy.

However, our Election Day activities won’t be limited to reminding others to vote. We’ll also take time to vote ourselves if we haven’t already! Some AAUW staff members have mailed in absentee ballots or taken advantage of early voting. If you haven’t voted yet, make sure you’re ready to go — use our VoteHER Toolkit to educate yourself on how candidates and elected officials stack up on women’s issues. We want you to be prepared to vote — so prepared, in fact, that we’d even like to see the shoes you plan to wear.

Reminding young women to vote is so important because studies have shown that voting is habit-forming but that young people have yet to make it a habit. We’d love it if everyone could find time over the weekend to encourage that habit in young women ages 18–31. Just call them and ask three simple questions:

  1. Will you pledge to vote this year?
  2. What is your plan for getting to the polls?
  3. Will you call three young women and ask them the same questions?

Let us know how it went! We so appreciate your help in this — and the commitment we’ve seen throughout our get-out-the-vote campaign from members, branches, volunteers, and organizers.

This post was written by AAUW Political Media Coordinator Elizabeth Owens.

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our biweekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

“Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe and which mean very little.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

We hope you have been following the AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign to educate voters about the importance of this election for American women and families. Of course, the most important thing we can do this Tuesday is VOTE.

As a trusted messenger to more than 150,000 members and supporters, AAUW provides voter education materials that cut through partisan hyperbole and media spin. We focus instead on whether the candidates have publicly stated their support for issues that align with AAUW’s member-adopted Public Policy Program, including pay equity, earned sick leave, college affordability, access to birth control, and more. We’ve provided voter guides in one way or another since 1994. More people are seeing them now due to our increased commitment to getting out the vote, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Our VoteHER Toolkit is the result of scrupulous research of the public statements of candidates running for president and many of the candidates running for Senate and House seats. These voter guides, sponsored by the AAUW Action Fund, provide the type of nonpartisan voter information that many feel is missing from the media and in some cases from the campaigns themselves.

Candidates’ positions on the issues were determined using candidates’ voting records, public statements, campaign position papers, and information posted on the Internet from trusted sources. Campaigns were contacted via telephone and e-mail to make sure they had the opportunity to respond before we published the guides. If campaigns respond after the deadline, or if we receive new information, we revise the guides online to reflect the new positions. AAUW makes it clear in print on each of the guides, which are provided as a public service, that we do not make endorsements of any candidate or political party. No endorsement or AAUW policy position is implied by the descriptions of these issues.

Here are the standards we used in assessing candidates’ positions:

  • Support — The candidate has co-sponsored or voted for this legislation or has explicitly stated support on the record with no ambiguity.
  • Oppose — The candidate voted against legislation or has explicitly stated opposition on the record with no ambiguity.
  • Unknown — There’s been no explicit or compelling public position taken by the candidate.
  • Mixed — The candidate has given conflicting statements on the issue or has taken a nuanced position.

Candidates for public office have one goal: to win. They know the women’s vote is critical to their path to victory. But here at AAUW, we also expect them to govern once they win. We will hold these candidates to their public statements on the stump. That’s why AAUW members have organized hundreds of voter education and candidate forums throughout the country to pin down these candidates on our issues.

We are frankly baffled by candidates who continue to be ambiguous about how they will govern on issues that are so critical to the health and economic security of women. For example, an “unknown” or “mixed” position isn’t for lack of research but for lack of a candidate taking a clear stand on an AAUW priority issue. We don’t see an “unknown” ranking as a failure of research. If a candidate’s position on one of AAUW’s priority issues is unknown, people need to know that. Asking a candidate where she or he stands on these issues would be a great question for a forum or in a letter to the editor. Not taking a position on an issue indicates a candidate doesn’t see it as a priority. We’re here to make sure they do.

The It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign is nonpartisan, and it does not tell people how to vote. Instead, we want to give everyone information about candidates’ stances on priority issues. It’s our hope that these guides will spur voters to ask candidates about their stances on these issues and to encourage public conversation.

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The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our biweekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

I have never voted on Election Day.

Let me clarify — I have voted in every presidential and midterm election since the year I turned 18. I cherish my right to vote, and I take it very seriously — that’s one of the reasons why I work on the It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign! But I have never voted on Election Day because for every election, I have taken advantage of early voting.

And I’m not the only one. In 2008, nearly 30 percent of all ballots were cast early. Forty states and Washington, D.C., offer some form of early voting. Some states call it “in-person absentee voting,” which is a phrase that amuses me to no end. In 32 of those states and in D.C., you are not required to present an excuse to vote early, and in states where an excuse is required, it can be as simple as certifying that you work outside of the county or have reason to suspect that you will be outside of the county on Election Day. Early voting has already begun in 37 states, and it will begin in three more states by this time on Monday.

Why vote early? Early voting is a great way to avoid the long lines on Election Day and make sure you have time to cast your vote in this crucial election. Often, there are multiple places where you can cast your vote early as opposed to only one polling place on Election Day. This means it can be easier to work voting into your schedule. Each state and county sets its own rules on the number of days and hours when early voting is open, but you can count on there being a few different dates for your schedule. And in some places, you still get the “I Voted” sticker when you vote early!

I encourage you to consider voting early this year. Check your secretary of state’s website to find out the dates and locations for early voting in your area. Bring your friends, family members, and colleagues — you can even arrange a carpool to help people get to the polls for early voting! Before you head to the polls, check out the AAUW Action Fund’s voter education resources, including the VoteHER Toolkit and issue fact sheets.

Don’t worry, I won’t take it personally if you choose to vote on Tuesday, November 6, instead of voting early. But whatever you do, make sure to cast your ballot and make your voice heard!

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