Posts Tagged ‘election 2012’

Never mind 1992 — 2012 is the “Year of the Woman.” Women turned out to vote in droves. We made up 53 percent of the electorate nationwide, and in many of the swing states, women were the majority of the electorate. Voters ages 18–29 made up 19 percent of the national turnout. And one report estimated that, of Americans in that age range, at least 49 percent (22–23 million people) voted. Lastly, women proved to be the difference for President Barack Obama, who won with an 18-point gender gap nationwide and the help of 68 percent of single women.

But women didn’t just shape this election — they broke new ground with many historic firsts:

  • Reps.-elect Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) will make New Hampshire the first state to have an all-female congressional delegation — with a female governor to boot (Democratic Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan). The state assembly also boasts more women members than men as of 2010.
  • Sens.-elect Deb Fischer (R-NE), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), will break records in the Senate to bring the total to 20 female senators, the most ever. Six female Democratic senators were also re-elected.
  • Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.
  • Warren will become Massachusetts’ first female senator.
  • Hirono will become the first Asian woman in the U.S. Senate and the first female senator from Hawaii.
  • The Republicans retained their leadership in the House, though with a slightly smaller advantage than they had in the last Congress. At least 77 women will serve in the House, up from the current record high of 73.

New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan celebrates her victory.

We voted on more than candidates though. Also on ballots across the country were referenda on marriage equality, educational opportunity, affirmative action, and reproductive rights. AAUW took positions on initiatives in Florida, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington.

  • Florida: AAUW opposed Amendment 3, which would have limited the state’s ability to collect tax revenues; Amendment 6, which would have imposed restrictions on abortion funding; and Amendment 8, which would have removed separation of church and state protections. All three measures were defeated.
  • Idaho: AAUW opposed propositions that would have constrained teachers’ rights. These propositions were defeated.
  • Maine: AAUW supported an initiative that would allow same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine supported the measure, and the state became one of the first to affirmatively vote in favor of same-sex marriage.
  • Maryland: AAUW supported measures that would allow same-sex marriage and enable certain illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Maryland public universities. Voters approved both measures.
  • Minnesota: AAUW opposed an amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This amendment was defeated.
  • Montana: AAUW opposed a measure that would require doctors to give the parent or guardian of a minor 48 hours’ notice before performing an abortion. This measure was approved by voters.
  • Ohio: AAUW supported an initiative to create a nonpartisan commission to draw maps for Ohio’s legislative and congressional districts. This measure was defeated.
  • Oklahoma: AAUW opposed a measure that would ban affirmative action programs in the state. The measure was approved.
  • Washington: AAUW supported an initiative that would allow same-sex marriage. Election results were still being compiled as of this writing.

Although our efforts to advance education and equity for women and girls are far from over, today we should celebrate all that we’ve accomplished. It was our vote that made the difference, and we were heard.


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The political ads have gone off the air, and the campaign signs are on their way to the recycling bin. After a long campaign, we’ve all voted, and we know who will take office in January. So what’s next? What do you want the new members of Congress and President Obama to do on their first days in office?

We want to hear from you! Today marks the kickoff of our #DayOne campaign. Tell us your ideas for what Congress and Obama should do on their first days of the new term by using the #DayOne hashtag on Twitter, leaving a comment on this blog post, or commenting on the It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard Facebook page.

AAUW already has ideas about what we want to happen — we outlined many of these in our September 2012 report on the Obama administration. We’ll continue to advocate for these policies no matter who’s in Congress or the Oval Office. Here’s some of what we’ll be saying on Twitter:

  • On #DayOne, Obama should issue an executive order outlawing fed contractors from retaliating against employees who ask about compensation.
  • On #DayOne, Obama should require federal agencies to conduct Title IX compliance reviews @ all institutions receiving federal funds.
  • On #DayOne, Congress should introduce a jobs plan that will create high-wage, high-skill jobs for all Americans, especially women & minorities.
  • On #DayOne, Obama should reverse the decision to restrict the purchase of Plan B emergency contraception to women 18 and over.

Tell us what you think should happen on #DayOne, and at the end of the week we’ll compile the suggestions and present them to the new Congress and the president’s transition team. You made your voice heard with your vote. Don’t stop there. Hold elected officials accountable!

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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.

The stakes in this election, especially for women and girls, are enormous. You might think your vote doesn’t count. But one vote made the difference for women’s suffrage in 1920 when Tennessee became the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. A handful of votes in key precincts made John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush president in 1960 and 2000, respectively.

The people elected today, on November 6, will vote on pay equity, Social Security, and reproductive choice. Economic issues are also of major concern to women. Pay inequity affects family income. Two-thirds of women in the workforce function as primary or co-bread winners. Working women still typically earn 77 percent of what men earn. According to 2011 census data, a Michigan woman working full time typically makes 74 cents to a man’s dollar. This affects every paycheck as well as lifetime earnings, retirement, and Social Security benefits. Yes, women are concerned about economic issues.

College affordability affects the economy. Higher education is a necessity to equip the workforce to handle decently paid jobs. Students graduating in 2010 owed an average of $25,250 in college loans. Loan repayment has a significant impact and leads many to defer marriage, graduate education, or major purchases.

Job creation and economic opportunity are critical issues. Women lost proportionately more jobs in this recession, particularly in the public sector. Programs that help the most vulnerable were cut and remain on the chopping block. Women lost 71.2 percent of the jobs cut between June 2009 and September 2011. When children live in poverty — as many as 1 in 4 in Michigan do — this is an economic issue.

The Affordable Care Act offers women’s preventive health care services without co-pays or cost sharing, including birth control. Some women are already receiving this benefit, and when most health insurance plans renew in January 2013, this coverage will expand to millions of women in this country. Contraception is a vital part of women’s preventive health care. The vast majority of women use contraception, but the costs for many are a burden. Every woman should have the ability to make her own informed choice regarding her reproductive life. The Affordable Care Act also includes maternity care and well-woman visits. This is an economic issue.

Elections matter. Michigan Sens. Carl Levin (D) and Debbie Stabenow (D) voted in support of 90 percent of AAUW’s legislative priorities in the 112th Congress (January 2011–December 2012). Rep. Dan Benishek (R), who represents my district, voted for zero. Check out the legislative record of your senators and representatives with the AAUW Action Fund Congressional Voting Record, and consult the AAUW Action Fund voter guides to see the positions of the presidential and select Senate and House candidates.

Vote as if your life depends on it — because, in many ways, it does.

Karlyn Rapport is the public policy chair for the AAUW Marquette (MI) Branch.

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Today, Election Day, the entire AAUW staff of almost 100 people made get-out-the-vote reminder calls to young women. By 2 p.m., we had made almost 1,500 calls. For some staffers, it was their first time phone banking, and some called more than 100 people each. Staffers also worked a table outside to distribute AAUW materials and Election Day swag to people passing by our national office, which is located just two blocks from the White House.

As AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman said, “Taking an entire day of staff time to join our membership in getting out the women’s vote is a significant investment of our resources, but it’s critical when we consider what’s at stake for women in this election. It’s time for all hands on deck.”

AAUW volunteers take a break from phone banking.

Shana takes a break from phone banking. She says voting is important to her because it’s important to set a good example for future generations — something she’s very concerned about!

Everyone at AAUW got involved! Executive Director Linda Hallman made calls to remind people in Ohio to vote.

We start them early at AAUW! Suzanne’s daughters had the day off from school, so they helped their mom make calls.

AAUW staff, including Executive Director Linda Hallman, chat with passersby about voting.

Today was Jennifer’s first time phone banking.

Today wasn’t just Latoya’s first time phone banking — it was her first day as an AAUW staffer!

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For the past eight months, our It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign has done everything possible to inspire young women to vote on November 6. With just one day left in the final countdown to Election Day, we want to share with you our favorite inspirational posts from our campaign’s Tumblr. Share them with someone who might need motivation to vote!

  1. Fair pay e-cards

    When we saw the latest wage gap numbers a few months ago, we knew young women would care that women still typically get paid 77 cents for every dollar a man gets paid. So we came up with some snarky e-cards to remind folks that the fight for fair pay isn’t done — and this November could make all the difference.
  2. Facebook cover photos

    If the young women of America are anything like us, we’d bet that they love Facebook and pictures of kittens. We merged the two with a virtual voting billboard that can be easily uploaded on Facebook. It’s easy to change your cover photo, which is a great way to tell your Facebook friends that you’re voting.
  3. Sandra Fluke’s pep talk for voters

    Personal stories are motivational. And when those stories come from people like Sandra Fluke — a NCCWSL Woman of Distinction and AAUW friend who became famous for being a strong advocate for birth control access — they’re even more powerful. So it was no surprise that Fluke’s It’s My Vote pep talk was our most popular. In the video, she tells the story of a poll worker who remembered her from the previous election. So few young people had voted that Fluke stuck out at the polls. There’s too much at stake in this election for young women to not show up, and Fluke’s video drives that point home.
  4. “Speak up, show up” graphic

    If you’re on Facebook, you may know a few wannabe pundits who are constantly on their soapboxes. We’re all for people speaking their minds. But if Election Day isn’t part of speaking out, what’s the point? That was the motivation behind this graphic — a visual reminder of who listens to those who don’t vote.
  5. Liza Donnelly’s pep talk for voters

    It’s no surprise that the second most popular pep talk we made was from another NCCWSL Woman of Distinction: Liza Donnelly. I have to agree with the crowd on this one. I’ve watched every single pep talk our campaign has, and Donnelly’s always stands out. Watch it yourself to see why.

Of course, no image, video, or graphic is as powerful as a personal phone call. Take the time today to make sure the young women in your life are voting. Lilly Ledbetter can tell you how. And make sure you have everything you need to vote. The AAUW Action Fund has voter resources that cover polling places, voter-ID laws, and anything else you’ll need for tomorrow.

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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.

Well, we wanted the presidential candidates to talk to women. And they certainly did during Tuesday night’s debate, which touched on pay equity and contraception. Over the last week, AAUW conducted a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #women1016 to encourage President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney to address women at the debate after failing to mention them during the first debate. The campaign reached more than 250,000 people and generated lots of buzz.

One of Tuesday’s questions dealt directly with pay inequity. The candidates were asked, “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” (The pay gap is currently at 77 percent.) Obama discussed the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and his administration’s increased enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, while Romney talked about his actions in Massachusetts and his support of workplace flexibility. You can read the candidates’ significantly different responses on the transcript.

Pay equity is an issue AAUW cares about deeply. We publish annual reports on the gender pay gap, and we played a major role in the passage of the Ledbetter Act. We also advocate for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, the much-needed update to the Equal Pay Act of 1963. As Ledbetter says, “Giving women my Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act without the Paycheck Fairness Act is like giving them a nail without the hammer.” American women need all the tools they can get. After the debate, aides indicated that Romney would not have signed the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act but that if elected, he would not seek to overturn it. You can see the candidates’ positions on the Paycheck Fairness Act on AAUW’s presidential voter guide.

The candidates also talked about women’s access to contraception and whether women should have access to contraception without a co-pay. Obama said that this wasn’t just a women’s issue but an economic issue for families. AAUW agrees, which is why we strongly support the coverage of contraception and other preventive care services without co-pays. You can see the candidates’ positions on whether employers should be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception on AAUW’s presidential voter guide.

Even though we’re glad the candidates talked to women, it’s important to remember that it took a petition campaign organized by three teenage girls to get a female moderator. Both Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz did terrific jobs moderating the debates, and we look forward to many more debates moderated by women. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future, one of the candidates on that stage will be a woman as well.

There are 19 days until Election Day, and there’s still a lot to do. You can educate and inspire yourself with AAUW’s Tumblr page, which features lots of materials to share with others. And it’s not like there’s only one election happening. The presidential candidates may have talked about women, but do you know where your local candidates stand? Use our Congressional Voting Record to see how your legislators voted on key issues, our voter guides to see where the presidential candidates stand, and our convenient CVR poster to ask them questions.

The candidates may have talked to women last night, but it’s up to us to keep the conversation going.

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Throughout the campaign season, both presidential candidates have worked to woo women voters with campaign ads, stump speeches, and party conventions. But when the time came for President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney to talk to each other at the first presidential debate in Denver, women were no longer part of the conversation.

via C-SPAN

Luckily, the candidates have a second chance. On Tuesday, October 16, Obama and Romney will meet again to debate how our country can best address domestic and foreign policy issues. With CNN’s Candy Crowley as the moderator, this town hall debate is the perfect setting for the candidates to say exactly where they stand on women’s issues and to talk directly to women. Obama and Romney can start by actually saying the word “women”!

You can make this happen by tweeting one simple message today and every day leading up to the October 16 presidential debate:

10/16 is your chance, @MittRomney & @BarackObama: Talk to women! http://bit.ly/QRfnpp  #Women1016 #fem2 #AAUW #Debates Plz RT!

Is there a particular issue you care about? We’ve purposefully made this tweet short so that you can add your own hashtag. Here are some suggested hashtags to personalize your tweet:

















These are nonpartisan issues that demand answers from both candidates. With that in mind, we hope you will include both candidates’ handles in the tweet — and use #Women1016 so we can keep track of the conversation.

You can also share this blog with friends and family who want to help the candidates focus on women. With your help, we can make sure the candidates hear women, talk to women, and address the issues we care about.

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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.

New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly gets (momentarily) serious in a new It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard pep talk. Addressing young women in particular, the 2012 NCCWSL Woman of Distinction talks about why she is so passionate about voting:

I have a lot of friends who are cartoonists who live around the world. And some of them live in countries where they do not have the right to vote and do not have the right to express themselves the way they want to.

I can. I live in America. I can draw what I want. I can think what I want. I can write what I want, and nobody’s going to throw me in jail, or smash my hands, or kill me.

Some of these cartoonists don’t have that right. They can’t vote, for one thing, and they can’t even express what they want to express.

So I’m here to tell you how important it is that you use your vote to express yourself. I’m going to go to the poll in November, and I’m going to vote, and then I’m going to come home, and I’m going to draw whatever I want to draw because I can do that. I have the freedom to in this country. So don’t abuse that, and use your right to vote.

At the end of her pep talk, Donnelly whips out her pen and draws a cartoon just for voters. Watch and share!

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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.

A young woman walks into her polling place to vote — only she’s missing her identification card. She might not be allowed to cast her ballot.

But the poll worker gives her a pass. He remembers her from the primary election, when so few young people showed up to vote.

Sandra Fluke tells this true and personal story in her pep talk for the AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign. Her tale rings especially true this election, a time when young women need to raise their voices and vote. Fluke also reminds us to research the voter-ID requirements before showing up to the polls this November 6 — a sentiment echoed by AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz, who gave voters her own pep talk last week.


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AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz will report from the Democratic National Convention this week and reported from the Republican National Convention last week. Follow her updates at AAUW Dialog, on Facebook, and @LisaMaatz on Twitter.

“If Mitt Romney and Republicans played up their feminine side last week in Tampa, Democrats on Tuesday were utterly and unabashedly feminist.” So says the National Journal after the Democrats’ schmoozefest Tuesday night. I won’t lie — I enjoyed it. The Democratic women of the House were wonderful, a rainbow with superstars like pay-equity champion Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, choice champion (and my former boss) Carolyn Maloney of New York, and the always-feisty and on-point Gwen Moore of Wisconsin.

Lilly Ledbetter had the crowd jumping out of their seats, stating that “equal pay for equal work is an American value.” And of course, first lady Michelle Obama gave a tour-de-force defense of and case for her husband’s reelection. All were entertaining. All were feel good. But I would also say that Ann Romney’s speech was also very feel good, and the GOP trotted out lots of women as well.

Yes, yes, I know the substance of both conventions’ first nights was very different. The party platforms, both of which AAUW submitted comments on, are very different. While Tuesday night’s DNC lineup made for a fun evening — it’s never boring ­­­­­­watching lots of smart women speak snarky truth to power — I’ve gotten cranky. I want more from both parties!

The real question is what have you done for us lately? Yes, women will decide this election. But don’t just parade around your female celebrities and think that will satisfy us! The stakes are high; tell us why you deserve our vote! Don’t pander, and for goodness sake, don’t take us for granted. I’m so tired of lip service. While past achievements are nice and all, what’s your party’s plan for the future?

It’s time for the typical dog-and-pony show to stop. If indeed women decide this election — and it’s looking more and more like that will be the case — then we as women need to seize this opportunity to hold candidates accountable. Candidates from both parties need to tell us what their plans are for the economy, jobs, education, health care, responsible budgets, violence against women, national security, and other issues. They need to be clear about their positions on reproductive rights, pay equity, Title IX, child care, and food stamps. And women need to cast their votes accordingly.

Here’s the bottom line. The women of America have a real chance this time to turn the tide in our direction — in everyone’s direction, when it comes to equal rights. Both parties are scampering for our votes, and it’s our job not to give them away lightly. We need to cast them thoughtfully, deliberately, and every single woman of voting age in the nation needs to be registered and at the polls on November 6 or forever hold her peace.

But this journey doesn’t end with the election. Once women have chosen our president, our Senate, our House, and our state legislatures nationwide, the real work begins. AAUW plans to hold our legislators’ feet to the fire, based not only on their election-year promises but also on the fact that they owe their jobs to us. January is the time to start delivering. It’s like my wonderful mama always says: I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!

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.

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