Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Elect Her–Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, encourages and trains college women to run for student government. Follow the links below to read highlights from this fall’s trainings.

Networking, Planning, Preparing to Run!Louisiana State University

Since many of LSU’s student government officers were in the room during the What’s Your Issue? exercise (where students choose their platforms), the officers were able to start a dialogue about some of the campus issues the attendees brought up and make plans to follow up on the concerns.

Working toward Political Parity, One Student Government Seat at a TimeUniversity of Louisville

Those who attended the Elect Her training clearly embodied the spirit of the program: women who are tuned into critical issues on campus and in their communities stepping up to work for a positive impact.

Elect Her—Howard Women Win attendees strategize how to get the most votes for the campaign simulation exercise.

Elect Her—Howard Women Win attendees strategize how to get the most votes in a campaign simulation exercise.

Working Together to Support Women CandidatesHoward University

Every speaker at this Elect Her training had a unique story, but one point rang true for all three: You need to show up, and often! All three speakers stressed that showing their faces at events and talking to people (especially on election day) was a defining factor in their victories.

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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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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.

The AAUW Gainesville (FL) Branch has been working with the League of Women Voters of Alachua County, Florida, and the supervisor of elections to get information to eligible voters about local, state, and national candidates as well as information about voter registration requirements. This nonpartisan effort — part of the AAUW Action Fund’s national It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign — aims to reach hundreds of voters in Alachua County with multiple reminders and encouragement to participate in the democratic process and vote in the 2012 election!

AAUW Gainesville (FL) Branch President Marjorie Ayers, left, and Branch Membership Director June Littler put up posters at Santa Fe College.

We developed a series of four small, colorful bulletin board-appropriate posters to be distributed throughout the county to remind and encourage eligible residents to register and vote. These notices were posted approximately 10 days apart beginning on September 20. The last of the four will be posted October 22. The first two focus on encouraging people to register and provide information on how to do this, while the second two posters focus on voting and help educate voters on the issues.

One of the positive points of this campaign is the broad spectrum of the population of Alachua County that we have reached so far. We contacted the Alachua County Housing Authority and the Gainesville Housing Authority, and they posted the notices so that the message would reach their clients. We also did half-sheet flyers that these clients could take home. Notices were posted on 10 kiosks on each of the campuses of the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. Two copies of each notice were displayed in two retirement facilities in Gainesville, and each notice was posted on bulletin boards in 10 Publix supermarkets throughout the county. Finally, the public library system in the county assisted by displaying the series of posters in each of the 12 library branches.

I am excited about the possible impact that the Gainesville Branch’s It’s My Vote campaign will have. Because I know that people need to be reminded repeatedly to do something, I believe that this drive may have an effect on the 2012 election, which is important to all of us. We all need to vote to make democracy work!

This post was written by AAUW Gainesville (FL) Branch It’s My Vote campaign organizer Evelyn Rooks-Weir.

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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’m at yet another table trying to get college kids to register to vote. My feet are beginning to hurt, but here comes another group of students. I ask, “Have you registered to vote? Have you registered to vote?” This has been my mantra over the past several weeks.

Registering voters can be frustrating — for example, a student once told me that she didn’t want to vote because she doesn’t like standing in line for things. She was, at that moment, standing in line for half of a sandwich.

I continue on down the line. “Have you registered to vote?” Many students stop me and say that they’ve been meaning to register, but they never get around to it. Yeah, I can sympathize. I so often mean to do the right thing but get distracted by life. They are thrilled that we are making registration so easy. One student shouts out, “I love this school — they think of everything to help the students.”

All of a sudden, my feet don’t hurt. I am helping people with their questions: Do I have to register before each election? How do I know where to go to vote? Does it cost to register? I am jazzed. I keep telling these millennials that they are the deciding generation. I tell them to grab their power. Then I finally close down. I know that in a few hours, I’ll be on another campus asking, “Have you registered to vote?” It’s a question that is worth repeating!

AAUW is a partner for National Voter Registration Day, and we will be prioritizing voter registration all week through voter registration drives, blog posts about voting, and tweets about new voting resources and events. Follow us on Twitter @itsmyvote and @aauwactionfund!

This post was written by AAUW Virginia Beach (VA) Branch Public Policy Vice President Sally Daniel.

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It always surprises me that voting isn’t a more social event. After all, as Americans, we love our democracy. We love the idea of being ruled “by the people,” and yet somehow the actual process of voting becomes as personal and private as tax returns. While I understand why many people choose to keep who they voted for private, I don’t understand why voting is not something that we all do together. I simply can’t grasp why democracy, which is a celebration of ideas and minds coming together, is demonstrated by people quietly voting alone rather than with other members of our communities.

via Flickr user trazomfreakThis election season, countless get-out-the-vote campaigns will sweep across the United States to convince Americans to register and vote this November — including the AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign! Each effort will target a different audience — from women to college students to minorities — and try to show these groups just how much their votes affect their daily lives and freedoms. It’s My Vote is focused on educating, engaging, and registering millennial women voters by emphasizing how things like equal pay, student debt, and birth control access affect women. These voter mobilization efforts might have different tactics, but what they want is the same — to express the importance of each and every vote.

As much as voter mobilization efforts accomplish, they will never succeed in catching every potential voter. I know this because I work for one of these campaigns. Don’t get me wrong — the work we do is wonderful. I am filled with pride every time I hear about a successful voter registration drive or see a video of a young woman telling her personal story of what voting means to her.

But we — you and I, as individuals — can fill in the gaps missed by get-out-the-vote efforts. If you believe, like I do, that democracy is the best form of government we’ve yet sustained, then it should also be important to you that everyone in your life votes. I mean everyone — from your 86-year-old grandmother to your 18-year-old brother, who spends most of his day playing video games. No matter how insignificant our actions and our votes may seem, it will take everyone’s effort if we ever hope to reach that “more perfect Union.”

Like thousands of men and women who came before me, I believe in democracy. I believe in it enough to drag you to the polls — no matter who you are or who you vote for. So on November 6, take responsibility for more than one vote, and get as many folks as possible to cast their ballots.

This post was written by AAUW Social Media Intern Brittany Edwardes.


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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.

From registering voters to mobilizing millennial women, the 2012 election has its challenges. But with a little help from some friends, AAUW and Fem2pt0 are ready to take it all on.

Today at 2 p.m. EDT, we’re hosting a tweet chat to tackle your questions about voting. Reproductive rights advocate Sandra Fluke will be on hand to talk about how to inspire and motivate women voters. And Dan Vicuna, a staff attorney with Fair Elections Legal Network, will cover voter registration and voter-identification laws. Submit your questions and follow along on Twitter by using the hashtag #itsmyvote.

Oh, and if you’re looking for some material to read ahead of time, check out Fluke’s voting pep talk, and learn about our It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign. You’re registered to vote, right?

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Image courtesy of f_shields,used via Flickr Creative CommonsOn Thursday, a federal court blocked a Texas voter-identification law that the three-judge panel said would unnecessarily burden poor, minority citizens from exercising their right to vote. The court cited the fact that many Texans would have to travel up to 250 miles round-trip to get a free “election-ID certificate” and that the $22 cost to obtain an ID without a birth certificate was too much of a burden. The judges said, “A law that forces poorer citizens to choose between their wages and their franchise unquestionably denies or abridges their right to vote. … Simply put, many Hispanics and African Americans who voted in the last election will, because of the burdens imposed by [the voter-ID law], likely be unable to vote in the next election.”

The Texas law is one of a handful of such voter-ID laws that have been passed or proposed throughout the country in the last two years. But the upcoming presidential election will mark the first time that many of these measures will be exercised, which means lots more voters will face the new rules for the first time.

Voter-ID laws are written and passed on the premise that voter fraud is a widespread problem. But it isn’t. A recent study showed that you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than to commit voter fraud. Even after a five-year U.S. Justice Department survey and the slew of new laws, “the number of prosecutions [for voter fraud] have been practically nonexistent,” says Elisabeth Genn, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program.

These laws don’t demonstrably protect against fraud and certainly don’t provide the legal basis for significant prosecution of fraudulent voters, yet the laws have the potential to disenfranchise many voters this November. An Associated Press study found that in Indiana and Georgia — which have some of the most stringent voter-ID laws — more than 1,200 legitimate votes weren’t counted in the 2008 presidential election, and hundreds more ballots were blocked in this year’s primaries in those states and Tennessee.

And though having ID might seem like a simple requirement, 11 percent of voting-age Americans don’t have ID. That’s 21 million people. The numbers are scarier for the elderly and women: 18 percent of people over the age of 65 don’t have a current ID, and only 66 percent of women voters have proof of citizenship that reflects their current name. The vast majority of women change their names if they get married, and most voter-ID rules require that your registration name match your photo ID name exactly. Genn says that while some women do have access to the entire chain of documents that connects their current name with birth name — including birth certificates and marriage licenses — that’s not always the case.

Texas might not join the states where these laws are implemented because of a crucial provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 5 of that law mandates that states with a history of discrimination at the polls have to clear voting changes with the Justice Department before putting them into practice. The recent lawsuit was the result of the Justice Department blocking the law in this “preclearance” phase. A few other such laws have been stalled because of the rule, which along with state laws and state constitutions is on the front line of fighting these laws. And AAUW has been doing just that for decades.

Genn says that women should be especially concerned about these laws in our current political climate. “This has been a difficult several months for women. Women have seen their rights be at risk in certain ways,” she says. “There’s a connection to be made for women’s right to make their voices heard. We should be particularly wary to make sure any population can participate equally at a time when that group is facing particular or unprecedented challenges.”

Check out the Fall issue of Outlook for more on the laws that AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz calls a “21st-century poll tax” and why they basically amount to old-fashioned voter suppression.

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Along with our exciting Fall issue, Outlook is rolling out a brand-new digital edition of the magazine. It’s sleek, it’s modern, and it’s easy to use. And now, for the first time, AAUW members have the option to get the digital edition of Outlook magazine delivered to their inboxes.

We know that many of you are interested in going green, and most of you are doing more of your reading online. So we hope you’ll consider helping us save some trees and stamps by opting in to a digital-only subscription. All it takes is an AAUW membership, an e-mail address, and an Internet connection. You don’t have to be tech savvy to enjoy this new benefit, and you can switch your subscription back to print-only anytime.

You can check out the digital edition by reading the new Fall Outlook online now. This issue is dedicated to It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard, our ambitious voter turnout and education effort. Everyone can read the free preview feature about what AAUW volunteers around the country are doing to get out the women’s vote. And AAUW members can read on to find out about the insidious voter-identification laws that are threatening enfranchisement for older women and other groups, how women candidates could make significant gains in congressional seats in the upcoming election, and why AAUW is focusing on turning out the young women’s vote.

You’ll find plenty of inspiration and resources to get involved yourself. Election Day is fast approaching, but it’s not too late to hold a voter registration drive or reach out online! Read this issue of Outlook (look out for it in your mailbox soon!) and get motivated to make women’s voices heard this election.

Not a subscriber? Change that today!

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Sunday, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day. This day marks the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote 92 years ago. Thousands of women and their allies worked for decades to make that day in 1920 possible. It took years of lobbying and demonstrations, passing out pamphlet after pamphlet, publishing editorials, and giving speeches to make it happen. On Women’s Equality Day in 2010, we celebrated some of the great sacrifices women suffragists made in the fight for the vote.

The right to vote was a great step in women gaining equality — many of today’s elected leaders are sticking up for women and their rights because women are a vocal constituency. But it’s not enough. Some of our representatives still believe women can’t get pregnant from rape, while others want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides millions of women with preventive care services free of charge with their health insurance.

This election year, we can harness the vote our sisters worked hard, before and after 1920, to give us by knocking this backward thinking aside and continuing our progress toward equality. So this weekend, I hope you will join us in celebrating Women’s Equality Day by getting ready for the upcoming election. Here are five things you can do right now:

  1. Register to vote. Don’t wait, or it could be too late. Act now.
  2. Find out what will be on the ballot in your state. Don’t give too much credit to the writers of ballot measures. The language can be tricky, so reading it ahead of time will ensure you vote for what you believe in. Act now.
  3. Film an It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard pep talk video. Sometimes all it takes is a connection with someone like you to make a request successful. Ask a young woman in your life about the issues that she’s voting for, and send us the footage. Act now.
  4. Send this blog to a young woman. Your reminder could be just what she needs to get inspired. Act now.
  5. Sign a petition — get involved! There are an overwhelming number of petitions on the Internet covering a huge range of topics. Sign up for the AAUW Action Network, and take a stand on important issues. Act now.

This post was written by AAUW Website Associate Marie Lindberg.

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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.

In May, as part of the It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard campaign, we released the first of many videos from young women talking about the upcoming election and the importance of voting. We also promised to continue to post those testimonials — all of which are available on the campaign Tumblr.

Today, we’re making good on that promise with a video from Julie Zeilinger, the founder and editor of the feminist blog FBomb. In the video, which she made exclusively for the It’s My Vote campaign, Zeilinger lists her reasons for voting. They’re all compelling, but it’s her ending that hits home. “There are already so many forces out there trying to silence” young women, she says. And it’s true. From strict voter-identification laws to people who say we shouldn’t vote, the legal and cultural barriers that young people face are real.

But that doesn’t have to stop us. WATCH, share, and vote!

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