News and Updates

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  • 09 May 2024 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Seattle, WA Candidates vying to be the next State Superintendent of Public Schools in the primary election will face the public at a forum on the evening of May 20. Voters and all interested members of the public are invited to attend the forum at Ridgeline High School in Spokane.   

    The League of Women Voters of Washington, in coordination with the Central Valley School District and the LWV of the Spokane Area, is presenting the candidate forum.The forum will take place at the Ridgeline High School auditorium at 20150 E Country Vista Dr, Liberty Lake, WA 99019 at 6:30 p.m.   

    The Superintendent of Public Instruction is charged with ensuring all children in Washington state receive the best education possible, said LWVWA President Mary Coltrane. The League urges voters to learn how the candidates plan to do thisand choose the person they believe is the most qualified. 

    Jean Richardson, LWV of Spokane Area President added, “Democracy cannot bedelegated. Informed voting is a choice.  The League of Women Voters of the Spokane Area is pleased to provide an opportunity for eastern Washington voters to meet the candidates for this important office and hear from the candidates directly and in person.” 

    The forum will be televised live on TVW and streamed on its website at tvw.org/video/ The event is open to the public, and a panel of students will ask questions of the candidates. Voters can submit questions or issues they would like to see addressed by email to forumquestions@lwvwa.org. 

    All candidates for the office have been invited The following candidates have confirmed their participation: 

    • David Olsen 

    • Chris Reykdal 

    • Reid Saaris 

    • David Spring 

  • 16 Apr 2024 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    Seattle—The League of Women Voters of Washington announces its opposition to three initiatives that will appear on the November ballot.

    "Our stance against these initiatives is a reflection of the League’s firm commitment to equitable education funding, climate resilience, and accessible long-term care,” said Mary Coltrane, president of the League of Women Voters of Washington. “We’re safeguarding our state's future with each vote against these regressive measures.”

    At its April Board meeting, the Directors voted to contest these proposals for the following reasons, based on League positions adopted by member consensus following studies of the issues.

    Initiative 2109, Repeal Capital Gains Tax, if passed, would terminate a significant source of income for education and school construction that is generated from the state’s wealthiest individuals. Collections to date have exceeded nearly $1 billion in 2023 from only 3,895 taxpayers. This tax not only supports the state’s mandate to amply fund education but also shifts the balance in the state’s revenue structure toward equity from the most regressive tax structure in the US.

    The League of Women Voters’ positions on this issue are that the state has the responsibility for amply funding education and that action to obtain a balanced tax structure that is fair, adequate, flexible, and has a sound economic effect is needed.

    Initiative 2117, Prohibiting all state agencies, counties, and cities from implementing any type of carbon tax credit trading [Repeal the Climate Commitment Act (CCA)], if passed, would prevent the state from achieving the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set in 2020, which are necessary to deter further climate change impacts. The state would lose a significant funding source for implementing programs to correct past environmental damage and injustice resulting from lack of scientific perspective, short-sighted or poor policy creation and implementation, and unintended consequences. The funds available through the CCA support clean transportation, clean buildings, clean energy development, siting and transmission, environmental justice measures, and more.

    The League of Women Voters recognizes that climate change poses a significant threat to both our nation and the planet as a whole. We stand in solidarity with efforts to establish pricing mechanisms for carbon emissions, be it through cap-and-trade systems, carbon taxes, or other effective methods. Additionally, we advocate for meeting the state's short-term energy needs through the implementation of a robust conservation program. This program should be inclusive of all energy users and enforced if necessary to achieve energy-saving objectives. Moreover, we emphasize the importance of employing positive conservation strategies, including tax incentives and support for energy-saving initiatives. Encouraging the adoption of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, along with the recovery of energy from waste, is paramount.

    Initiative 2124, Opting out of Long-Term Services Insurance Program, threatens to jeopardize the state's groundbreaking mandatory long-term care benefit which guarantees access to vital long-term care and home health care services for all employed individuals in Washington. This benefit is sustained by contributions from employees over time, serving as a crucial safety net for the 70% of the population who will inevitably require long-term care at some stage. However, rendering this fund optional would jeopardize coverage for those in need and likely lead to its financial collapse, rendering it ineffective for those who do contribute to the fund.

    The League of Women Voters advocates for universal access to essential healthcare, including long-term care, for all residents of the United States. We support comprehensive reform of the healthcare system to ensure that everyone can access a comprehensive, uniform, and affordable range of services. Additionally, we support programs and policies aimed at poverty reduction, promoting self-sufficiency for individuals and families. At present, only people of means can afford long-term care insurance.

    “The League’s opposition to these initiatives reflects our unwavering commitment to advocating for policies that promote equity, sustainability, and social justice across Washington state,” stated LWVWA President Mary Coltrane.

    ###

    The League of Women Voters of Washington is a nonpartisan political organization. We encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League acts in support of, or in opposition to, selected governmental issues that its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates or political parties.

  • 09 Nov 2023 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    [SEATTLE, WASHINGTON] – The League of Women Voters of Washington President Mary Coltrane released the following statement condemning the interference with state elections offices:  

    “Sending suspicious substances to an elections office is an attack on democracy and could have put hard-working elections officials in danger. The League of Women Voters of Washington calls on candidates and political party leadership to issue statements condemning efforts to disrupt our elections. The League urges political party leadership to engage their constituencies in conversations that emphasize their sacred duty to protect our democracy by protecting our election workers and our ballots. 

    “Washington is a mail-in ballot state which provides voters with more accessibility to participate in elections. Voters need to trust that our elections will be secure and that those who seek to disrupt our democracy and risk the public health will face consequences. We stand in solidarity with all of the election workers continuing to count ballots from Election Day and we remain committed to making democracy work.”  

    ###

    The League of Women Voters of Washington is a nonpartisan political organization. We encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League acts in support of, or in opposition to, selected governmental issues that its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates or political parties.

  • 18 Jul 2023 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    [SEATTLE, WASHINGTON] – Ahead of the August 1 primary election, the League of Women Voters of Washington offers the nonpartisan election resource VOTE411.org. This “one-stop shop” for election information provides assistance for Washington voters so they can make their best voting decision.

    “The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse candidates. Instead, we provide VOTE411 as a tool to empower voters to make their own informed choices," said Mary Coltrane, President of the League of Women Voters of Washington. "All candidates for a race receive the same questions, and voters can see their responses displayed side-by-side for easy comparison. Our goal is to ensure that voters have access to accurate and unbiased information."

    VOTE411's personalized voter guide asks candidates to answer questions from the community using their own words and enabling voters to gain deeper insights into their stances on important issues. This feature enhances transparency and fosters direct engagement between candidates and voters.

    "The League of Women Voters of Washington is dedicated to serving all voters; we proudly publish this online guide as a service to Washington state," said Coltrane. "We encourage voters to explore VOTE411 and take advantage of the comprehensive information it provides. Whether you are a first-time voter or a seasoned participant in the electoral process, VOTE411 will help you navigate the August 1 primary election with confidence."

    The 18-day voting period for the primary election begins on July 14 and concludes on August 1. To access VOTE411 and explore the personalized voter guide, please visit VOTE411.org. Voters are encouraged to reach out to candidates who haven’t responded to the voter guide questions and ask them to respond. Suggestions on how voters can encourage candidate participation are available on Vote411.org.


    Contact:
    Amy Peloff, Administrative Director
    apeloff@lwvwa.org
    www.lwvwa.org

    ###

    The League of Women Voters of Washington is a nonpartisan political organization. We encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League acts in support of, or in opposition to, selected governmental issues that its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates or political parties.


  • 14 Apr 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

    April 14, 2023 

    Contact:  
    Liz Bander 
    Communications Chair, LWVWA 
    lbander@lwvwa.org
    www.lwvwa.org

    League of Women Voters of Washington Adopts Two New Positions 

    Positions address impact of local journalism on democracy and prioritizing environmental impact in shoreline management decisions.

    Seattle, WA—TheLeague of Women Voters of Washington Board of Directors adopted two new positions on April 10, 2023, after League members throughout the state spent over two years researching, publishing studies, and reaching consensus. The two positions are the Local News and Shoreline Management positions, which will be available in full at www.lwvwa.org.

    The Local News position states, “The League of Women Voters of Washington believes it is the responsibility of the government to support credible local journalism that includes comprehensive reporting which informs the public about the decisions and actions of their government, and which holds civic and social leaders accountable to their constituents.”

    LWVWA President Lunell Haught explained the position doesn’t spell out the type of support that might be warranted, although she emphasized that League members are clear that support must not impede the independence of news operations. “Regardless of any support that might be provided, control of all content must remain exclusively with the news organizations,” she said.

    The Shoreline Management position states, “The primary goal of the Shoreline Management Act is to protect the ecological functions of our shorelines. Therefore, when balancing legislative goals, environmental protection should be overarching and not considered co-equal to the goals of development.”

    Haught noted that the League has had a long history of supporting conservation efforts and working with the state around the Shoreline Management Act. “LWVWA has long recognized that effective land stewardship includes our shorelines, and shorelines impact all of Washington, even places far from the coast,” she said.

    Haught said the League uses a time-tested method for taking positions on issues. Members study an issue, hold local League meetings to develop consensus on the issues raised by the study, develop a written position statement, which is then approved by the state board. Once these positions are approved, they can be used for advocacy by the League of Women Voters of Washington and local Leagues across the state.

    ###

    The League of Women Voters of Washington is a nonpartisan political organization. We encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League acts in support of, or in opposition to, selected governmental issues that its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. 

  • 14 Dec 2022 6:26 AM | Anonymous

    This story was originally published by The Seattle Times.

    Opinion

    New study documents Washington’s local news and democracy crisis

    Nov. 16, 2022 at 4:50 pm Updated Nov. 16, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    By Brier Dudley, Seattle Times Free Press editor

    A timely new report documents the severe decline of Washington’s local news industry and how democracy is suffering as a result.

    The League of Women Voters of Washington produced the 133-page report because it’s concerned about how this crisis is affecting civic engagement, public health and even public finance, as research found government costs are higher where there’s no local journalism.

    “Because of these very negative correlations, the League has a high level of interest in the health of journalism,” said Lunell Haught, a Spokane management consultant serving as president of the statewide nonprofit.

    I hope the report is read widely by the public, educators and especially elected officials. The state’s federal delegation is already a leader in efforts to help save local journalism but a final push is needed to get these policies, such as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, done.

    Several state-level proposals to help are expected in the upcoming Legislature, including an extension of tax breaks for newspaper producers and a journalism fellowship program modeled on one in California.

    The League may opt to advocate for such policies but not until after its chapters review the report and its 2,400 members decide on a position at a conference in May.

    In the interim, several of the authors said they hope it inspires leagues in other states to produce reports on the journalism crisis in their areas.

    That would complement national research, such as The State of Local News report on news deserts by Northwestern University’s Medill School, which was a baseline for the League’s project.

    Full disclosure: The League invited me to provide feedback as a technical editor as they drafted the report.

    The report also highlights the service provided by ethnic media outlets, how public health suffers from the decline of local news and emerging models to sustain the business, such as philanthropies partnering with for-profit newspapers.


    One of the lead authors, Delores Irwin, is a former journalist who moved from California to Ellensburg in 2015. She’s grateful for the Ellensburg Daily Record but watched it fade in recent years.

    “It’s not exactly a ghost newspaper but it’s just a shadow of its former self — I can see it, to me the threat is real,” she said. “Now someone in Seattle, they see The Seattle Times, it’s not as obvious what’s happening. But if you live in a smaller community it’s right in front of your eyes, they’re cutting down the days they print, it’s just sad.”

    Another lead author, Dee Anne Finken, is also a former journalist. She lives in Clark County, where she’s watched The Columbian thin but also pursue community support, enabling it to add three reporters.

    Although Washington continues to have at least a weekly paper working in every county, that belies the extent of the problem, because the gutted industry produces far less reporting and has scant circulation in much of the state.

    Newsroom staffing fell 67%, the report notes, as the industry was disrupted by technological change and Big Tech companies came to dominate the advertising marketplace.

    “As is the case throughout the nation, the decline has meant Washington, too, is experiencing an explosion of mis- and disinformation, creating significant challenges for public health officials and others. Coverage of government agencies and elected officials in Washington has dropped significantly, as well,” the report states.

    Consolidation and disinvestment by remote owners also took a toll, with debt-burdened chains slashing staff in cities like Tacoma, Olympia and Tri-Cities.

    “In perhaps the most egregious case, the newsroom staff at The News Tribune in Tacoma, purchased a few years ago by a hedge fund, declined from more than 120 employees to just over more than two dozen,” it said.

    Closures and cuts are especially felt in suburbs and rural areas.

    “The weeklies that closed between 2004 and 2022 once served busy suburbs of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett and rural regions, including the counties of Adams, Ferry, Grant, Grays Harbor and Yakima,” the report said. “Some might wonder if the dailies filled in the coverage lost by the closure of those weeklies. But observers said all of the remaining dailies have lost significant staff and advertising, causing them to rein in their own primary coverage.”

    Rowland Thompson, executive director of the Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington trade group, said it’s “very helpful” to have the industry’s situation documented by an impartial group.

    “Having the League of Women Voters doing this study and advocating on behalf of journalists is heartening. and it will make a difference to legislators to see that and also read the report,” he said.

    Haught said she hopes the public as well as league members read the report, as the goal is to educate people about something that’s critical to civic engagement.

    Survival of democracy was a top concern in last week’s election, with 44% of voters saying it was their primary consideration, according to a national survey by The Associated Press.

    I suggest voters with those concerns, and those skeptical of them, read the league’s report so we can advance the conversation.

    With luck, 2022 may come to be seen as a turning point that prompted America to start pulling together, rise from a trough, and save its essential institutions.

    Brier Dudley on Twitter: @BrierDudley. is editor of The Seattle Times Save the Free Press Initiative. Its weekly newsletter: https://st.news/FreePressNewsletter. Reach him at bdudley@seattletimes.com


  • 04 Oct 2022 9:16 AM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    October 4, 2022

    Contact:
    Shelley Kneip, LWVWA Voters Services Portfolio chair
    skneip@lwvwa.org
    (306) 972-2269
    www.lwvwa.org

    Voters Invited to Candidate Debates for the Secretary of State and United States Senate Offices

    Seattle, WA—Voters are invited to attend candidate debates for the Secretary of State and United States Senate races.   

    The League of Women Voters of Washington, in partnership with The Spokesman-Review, will hold candidate debates for the Office of Secretary of State and the United States Senate on Sunday, October 23, 2022. The Secretary of State candidate debate, with candidates Julie Anderson and Steve Hobbs, will be held at 3:30 p.m.  It will be followed by the United States Senate candidate debate with Patty Murray and Tiffany Smiley at 5:00 p.m.

    The debates will be held in person at the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. 

    Admission to the debates will be free to the public, but tickets will be required.  Tickets are available through The Spokesman-Review at Spokane7tickets.com. The debates will air locally on KSPS-TV, with multiple streaming options available, including via KHQ.

    The public is encouraged to submit questions for the candidates in advance via this online form. Questions should be relevant to the office being sought and answerable by both candidates.

    For more information, contact Shelley Kneip, LWVWA Voter Services Portfolio chair, at 360-972-2269.

    ###

    The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


  • 23 Jun 2022 1:10 PM | Anonymous

    Seattle, WA—The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund and The Spokesman-Review are pleased to announce that voters across Washington state will be able to view important statewide forums on TVW.

    Candidates for the position of Secretary of State will face voters on July 14 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.  Voters are invited to submit questions to forumquestions@lwvwa.org for this forum and are asked to mention what community they are from. The deadline for submitting questions is 5 p.m. PT, Sunday July 10, 2022.

    TVW will air the forum as part of its scheduled programming and will post it on its website for later streaming at voters’ convenience. These debates will also be available for later viewing on both the LWVWA.org website and on The Spokesman-Review elections page. 

    Washington state voters are electing a Secretary of State to replace former Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who resigned to assist election security at the federal level. The Secretary of State position has never been more important, as election security issues take front and center in public discourse. The Spokesman-Review and the League of Women Voters of Washington are proud to assist voters in learning about the candidates who seek to represent them in this critically import role.

    Please visit the LWVWA website for more information about voting and elections.

    Contact:
    Shelley Kneip, LWVWA Voters Services Portfolio chair
    skneip@lwvwa.org
    (306) 972-2269

    ###

    The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • 24 Nov 2021 8:29 AM | Anonymous

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    November 24, 2021
    lwvwa.org

    Contact:
    Alison McCaffree, Redistricting Issue Chair
    amccaffree@lwvwa.org
    253-720-6813

    Seattle, WA—The League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) calls for reform of the Washington state redistricting process. The fact that the Washington State Redistricting Commission failed to reach an agreement on the maps before the constitutional deadline and forced the decision to the Washington Supreme Court confirms the need to reform the redistricting process in Washington. The LWVWA calls on the public, the legislature, and the media to push for more transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness in the process and for a structural change to the makeup of the commission.

    “We are disappointed in the transparency of the negotiations and the lack of results. The trust of our election systems starts with redistricting.  If we can’t see what the commissioners are discussing along the way, then we don’t know if our input has been heard and considered. This poor result calls for both process and structural reform,” says LWVWA Redistricting Issue Chair Alison McCaffree.

    In the 2019 legislative session, with HB2575, we called for modernizing the process by starting earlier, providing better training, offering salaries for the commissioners, and increasing transparency and outreach. The LWVWA commends the 2021 commission for the job they did with outreach and equal language access. The commissioners did the best they could do with a system that was not effective. The League is now asking for more openness in the discussions, and greater access to public comments and the elections data the commissioners used.

    After our own statewide transparent and nonpartisan feedback process, the LWVWA released legislative and congressional redistricting map alternatives in September that put communities of interest first and submitted them to the commission for consideration. To view the process and maps, visit the LWVWA website at lwvwa.org/redistricting, lwvwa.org/maps, and lwvwa.org/speakup. We sincerely hope the Washington Supreme Court will take our process and the resulting maps into consideration.

    While redistricting relies on technology and data analysis, ultimately human judgment must balance representation among disparate groups—with many needs that sometimes overlap or conflict. The League hopes that the Washington Supreme Court will study the district lines and use them to develop the best solutions for the people of Washington.

    ###

    The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


  • 27 Oct 2021 8:33 AM | Anonymous

    November 2 General Election

    The League of Women Voters of Washington offers voters tools to use in casting their ballot, Voters can visit LWVWA.org to access VOTE411.org, a personalized candidate guide, and Your Vote, a publication that features articles on how voting works in Washington state.

    The 2021 general election gives voters the chance to choose the local elected officials who will represent them and make decisions about local issues on their behalf.

    Ballots were mailed mid-October and voters can check for ballot drop box locations on VoteWA.gov as well as track their ballot after submitting; voters can also request replacement ballots, if needed. Ballot drop boxes are open until 8 p.m. on November 2.

    Eligible Washington state citizens can register and vote at county voting centers until 8 p.m. on voting day.  

    • Those who are unsure of their registration stats should visit VoteWA.gov. Unregistered voters can contact their county elections office to confirm identification requirements and voting center hours, then head to a voting center to register and vote by 8 p.m. on November 2.
    • Accessible voting services and replacement ballots are also available at voting centers.

    The League of Women Voters urges all eligible citizens to act now and make sure their vote counts. Call the League of Women Voters of Washington at 206-622-8961 for answers to voting questions or visit LWVWA.org. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Vote.

    ###

    The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization. We encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League acts in support of, or in opposition to, selected governmental issues that its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates, factions, or political parties.

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