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LWVUS Convention 2014

The LWVUS Convention in Dallas, Texas last month (June 2014) was definitely one of the most exciting and unique LWVUS conventions we've ever attended. First of all, it took place in a beautiful new facility in downtown Dallas - The Omni Hotel. We were so surprised to learn, and see, that hotel management had arranged to place a huge LWV logo up in lights on the face of the building to welcome us to the Hotel. It was absolutely awesome. Below are some of the most significant highlights of the Convention you should enjoy reading about. 

LWVNJ Human Trafficking Position is Adopted by LWVUS
The LWVUS recommendation to adopt our Human Trafficking position was voted on by the delegation on the convention floor, and the result was a resounding "AYE!" that rose up and brought on cheers, as well as tears of joy. It was one of the most moving and proud moments I've ever experienced with the League. I want to thank all of you who worked so hard to study the issue and come to a position. Now, Leagues all across the country can come together to help eliminate this scourge called Human Trafficking. Click here to read more.

LWVNJ Receives High Impact Visibility Award 
As though having our Human Trafficking position adopted by LWVUS wasn't enough, LWVNJ received the LWVUS High Impact Visibility Award for our documentary film "Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election." The moment the announcement was made during the Convention banquet by our LWVUS liaison, Linda Wassenich, our delegation quickly rose from our tables and rushed to the stage to receive the award. We were sooo excited! Linda told the story of how the film was made, how our work with other organizations and with the state during Hurricane Sandy helped get out the vote to many who were adversely affected by the storm. She also mentioned that the film was viewed by a huge number of people all around the U.S. and in 44 different countries. Being presented with the award was exciting and humbling all at the same time. We are truly grateful to all who made the film possible and who continue to support it. In fact, we will be sending each local League a "Storming for the Vote DVD" in its own jewel case, along with a 13-page Film Discussion Guide so you can present the film to your Leagues and to the community. Look for them to come in the mail in the not too distant future. 

Rare Presidential Nomination from the Floor, Candidate's Forum & Election Results
It is usually a straightforward process: Delegates sit quietly (well, mostly) in the convention hall while the slate of LWVUS nominees is presented during the first plenary session. Well, this time around, it was a little bit different. The LWVUS slate of nominees was presented and included incumbent Elisabeth MacNamara for LWVUS President, as expected. Then, a motion was made from the floor to nominate LWV of Florida President, Deirdre Macnab, for LWVUS President. The motion was seconded, voted on and approved. Subsequently, a Candidate’s Forum was announced for the next day, Sunday, to be followed by a closed ballot election on Monday. 

The Candidate's Forum was held on Sunday where both Elisabeth MacNamara and Deirdre Macnab answered written questions composed anonymously by delegates and presented to the candidates by a LWVUS Board Moderator. The debate was interesting and informative. Both candidates were articulate in giving us a picture of the type of leadership skills they possessed, as well as sharing what they have brought to the League, and their future vision for the League.

On Monday afternoon, the majority of delegates cast their votes. Elisabeth MacNamara won the election (423 - 199) and retained her position as LWVUS President. She began her third term at the end of the closing plenary session on Tuesday, June 10th. Read the Orlando Sentinel article about the vote.

The 2016 LWVUS Convention will be held in Washington, D.C. I hope many of us will be able to attend. For your information and convenience, a summary of daily issues, motions and decisions made during the plenary sessions at Convention is attached, taken from a report prepared by our VP of Advocacy, Nancy Hedinger.

CHARTER SCHOOLS UPDATE STUDY
Materials for the Charter Schools Update Study have been prepared by the LWVNJ Education Committee and approved by the LWVNJ Board. There are three documents that comprise the study: Local Leaders Guide, Appendix with References, and Background Information with Consensus Questions. The Education Committee has done an excellent job researching and putting together pertinent information to assist you with answering the 14 consensus questions that are part of the study. Leagues will have until November 15, 2014 to conduct the study and submit their results to the office. You can access the material for the Charter Schools Update Study here: www.lwvnj.org/members_leagues.html 

STATEWIDE VOTER REGISTRATION WEEKEND
Statewide Voter Registration Weekend is Saturday, September 27th and Sunday, September 28th. Please contact our Communications Director, Jesse Burns at jburns@lwvnj.org and let her know about your scheduled drives. Also, please email her your voter registration information (when and where) by Wednesday, September 17th. We understand that you may be holding voter registration drives prior to our statewide voter registration weekend. Many of you have them on "Town Days" or at county fairs. Please let Jesse know about those as well. Each voter registration drive is important and we want to be sure and acknowledge them. 

FALL FORUM & WORKSHOPS - SAVE THE DATE
Our Fall Forum & Workshops will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2014. Please mark it down on your calendars, and stay tuned for more important details, including exact time and location for the event. 

That's about all the news we have this time around. It's always a pleasure to write to you and share what's been going on, and let you see what might be on the horizon. Thank you all so much for your interest, support and dedication to the League. You're very special. Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July with family and friends.

Best, 
Toni Zimmer, President
Kerry Margaret Butch, Executive Director 


LWVUS Adopts LWVNJ Position on Human Trafficking

June 9, 2014
Today, the League of Women Voters of the United States, during its national convention in Dallas, voted to adopt the League of Women Voters of New Jersey's public policy position against Human Trafficking. The 643 voting delegates representing 47 states and the District of Columbia overwhelmingly voted in favor of the motion to adopt.


Toni Zimmer, President of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey was emotional when the vote was cast. "We have been working on this issue for years in New Jersey and now that LWVUS has concurred with our position, every League across the United States can begin to advocate to increase awareness, help pass legislation, and increase protection for victims."

"In recent years, Leagues across the country have held meetings on the impact of human trafficking in their communities," said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "Now they can move forward to take action on this critical issue."

There are between 12 million and 27 million human trafficking victims worldwide. Victims are women and men, children and adults, American citizens and people born in other countries. New Jersey, due to location, is a hub for human trafficking and has some of the strictest anti-human trafficking laws in the nation.

The League of Women Voters' position concurs with recent New Jersey legislation combating the crime and stresses protection of victims and prosecution of criminals. The League also calls for prevention through early education in schools and awareness programs on human trafficking in communities. The full position is available on the League of Women Voters of New Jersey's website, www.lwvnj.org.

"The State of New Jersey and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey have taken tremendous steps to combat human trafficking," added Zimmer. "We are so pleased that our national organization and League members nationwide will be better equipped to make a difference and fight this horrendous crime."

Thank you to all of the League members who worked so hard studying this issue and to Elizabeth Santeramo and Doris Schapira for their passion and commitment spearheading this important effort.