Want to get our blog content delivered to your inbox?

Sign up for our monthly Voter Newsletter. 

In the News

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 
  • 26 Jun 2019 2:09 PM | Anonymous
    • by Kathy Sakahara, LWVWA Democracy Chair

      Three new voter registration laws will all be in effect as of July 1. LWVWA has actively lobbied in support of all these bills, some for many years. Briefly they are: 

      • Preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds, HB 1513
      • Same Day Voter Registration, SB 6021.
      • Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), HB 2595

      Preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds

       Washington’s new Future Voter Program allows 16 and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote before they turn 18. A qualifying Future Voter can preregister online, by mail, through the DMV or in person and will be added to the voter rolls with a “pending” or “pre-registration” status. Upon turning 18, the individual will have their pending status removed and will be able to cast a ballot.
       
      Impact on Voter Registration Efforts
      This is the new law that will most directly impact the way organiza
      tions, including LWVWA, in their voter registration efforts. 
       
      Of course, this law allows us to do expanded voter registration in high schools. It presents a great opportunity to arrange visits to high schools at any time that school officials agree to. Under this law Washington public schools are required to give eligible young people the opportunity to pre-register to vote once a year, on Temperance and Good Citizenship Day, January 16th or the proceeding Friday. County elections officials are encouraged to conduct voter registration events in high school on that day, but of course they cannot be everywhere.  While efforts do not need to be limited to that day, it is one time where assistance will be most needed and appreciated by County elections officials. 
       
      Voter registration forms from anyone under 18 have some special requirements. The information contained on them is not considered public information, unlike information from adults. That means paper forms absolutely must not be copied, nor any contact information retained from them. It is also important that completed forms be delivered to the elections office or mailed as soon as possible after being collected. If they were to be lost or stolen there is the risk that a minor’s private information is exposed.
       
      Same Day Registration

      Actually, this common term is somewhat misleading. This new law allows someone to register to vote any time until 8 PM on election day. That does not mean that someone must wait for election day to register; they can register at any in-person voting center at any time. The deadline to register to vote online or by mail is eight days before an election day.  
       
      This common-sense policy makes registering to vote less complicated by eliminating unnecessary registration deadlines. In most counties the only voting center required is at the county auditor’s office. King County, due to its size will be required to have an additional voting center in presidential election years.
       
      Impact on Voter Registration Efforts
      Organizations and volunteers will not be able to register people on election day. But there is still a need for education and facilitation.  You may want to consider offering to drive people to voting centers for them to both register and vote on during this time.
       
      You can begin education about this option any time, but it is important to make a strategic decision as to when to proactively inform voters about it. If it is done too early in the election cycle there is some risk that people will decide to procrastinate on registering to vote, knowing that they can do it up until the last minute. Complications on that day could result in their missing the opportunity to vote. The fact is it is much more convenient to register online more than eight days before an election than to wait until election. But once that 8-day deadline for online or mail in voter registration passes it is certainly appropriate to remind voters of this option.
       
      Automatic Voter Registration
       
      Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) gives eligible voters an accessible, modern, and secure way to register to vote when they interact with certain state agencies. Those agencies will automatically add those who have proven citizenship to the voter rolls unless they “opt out.” 
       
      Beginning July 2019, the Department of Licensing will automatically register Washingtonians applying for or updating an enhanced driver’s license, which requires proof of citizenship. Voters will be informed about the automatic registration process given the opportunity to “opt out.” The Health Benefit Exchange will provide a pre-filled registration form using information sourced from their HBE account. Users will be given the option to “opt in” to registration and have their completed form submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.
       
      LWVWA is working with the Governor’s office extend AVR to others who interact with Health and Human Services agencies.
       
      While this is an extremely valuable tool in getting more eligible voters registered. As important as this legislation is, the world still needs voter registration volunteers!
       
      The Washington Secretary of State provides a guide to registering voters. You can find it here

      For more information contact Kathy Sakahara, Democracy Team Chair 

  • 28 Feb 2019 2:44 PM | Anonymous

    It's Women’s History Month! This is a good time to reflect on the League’s history, as the organization approaches its 100th birthday and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which declared: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” This was a major accomplishment on the part of the women and men who fought tirelessly for this right, many of whom were beaten and/or arrested, participated in hunger strikes, and defied familial and social strictures. 

    This is a powerful and important story, but it isn’t the entire story. This history of political triumph is actually just a triumph for white women, who utilized racist arguments to convince many white men to support their cause. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, while initially ardent abolitionists, became frustrated when it appeared that abolition was eclipsing suffrage. Anna Howard Shaw, a Methodist minister and president of the National Women Suffrage Association, made this racialized complaint: “You have put the ballot in the hands of your black men, thus making them political superiors of white women. Never before in the history of the world have men made former slaves the political masters of their former mistresses!” Even LWV founder Carrie Chapman Catt is on the record for using the argument that “White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women’s suffrage” in her lobbying efforts.

    So how do we acknowledge this complicated history in our upcoming celebrations? LWVUS President Chris Carson and LWVUS CEO Virginia Kase spelled out the League’s commitment to facing this head-on in a recent essay published on LWVUS’s website, asserting, “We are having tough conversations about race in this country—and making sure that as an organization we confront our place in history. African Americans were shut out of the vision of the League. As we continue to grow our movement, we acknowledge our privilege and must use our power to raise the voices of those who haven’t always had a seat at the table.”

    LWVWA and our Washington Leagues believe strongly that we must do better and that we are starting by listening and learning. Leagues across the state have organized forums and historical lectures to further our understanding of how issues of diversity intersect with the Leagues past, present, and future (if you missed it, you can watch Seattle-King County’s thought-provoking forum on “Exploring Racism in the Suffrage Movement” online). Both LWVWA and Local Leagues have focused on developing partnerships with community groups across the state. Others are doing targeted outreach programs within underserved communities. At the state level, we offered our 2018 ballot initiative explanations in seven languages, and have focused our legislative advocacy efforts on bills that promote and protect democracy.

    The results of these actions will benefit many diverse populations, and help build a stronger, more diverse League. The League has a lot to be proud of in our history, but we also have a lot to make up for. This Women’s History Month, let’s focus on learning the complex and intersectional history of our organization and of women in the U.S. as one of many steps that will enable the League to fully realize its mission of empowering voters and defending democracy for everyone.

    If you're looking for some enlightening reads for Women's History Month, check out this list.

  • 01 Nov 2018 9:30 PM | Anonymous

    The following information was shared by the National Women's History Project

    We need your help. Due to the overwhelming response to our project to honor suffragists on voting day, we need your support in locating these incredible women and men who worked to secure voting rights for women. Below you will find helpful tips on how to identify the burial sites of a local suffragist. 

    Your efforts to locate the women and men who campaigned for suffrage is an important addition to the collective suffrage legacy. By connecting with your local cemeteries and historical societies you will enlighten these organizations to the incredible work of suffragists. Many of these organizations are unaware of the participation of local suffrage campaigns and the important role in helping women win the right to vote. 

    The National Women’s History Alliance will continue to work to connect you with organizations in your area that may already have the names of local suffragists, as well as, work to assist with the identification of the suffragists in your area Just know that your role as an “Everyday Historian” will help speed up the process of locating suffragists in your area.

    Once you have located suffragist grave sites in your area, we hope you share the names and location of the burial site so that we can submit their names to the national registry for suffrage sites lgraves@nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org and ensure they are remembered and celebrated for years to come. (Here's a sample suffrage grave marker). Click here for a step-by-step guide to participating in this project to honor suffragists.

    1) Google search your state’s history with suffrage

    Knowing when your state ratified the amendment and/or granted women the right to vote will help narrow down the best years to begin your search.

    2) Search By County/City to Identify Suffragist

    The goal is to identify women and men who actively campaigned for suffrage either through attending meetings, writing for suffrage, protesting, etc.               

    Visit National Votes for Women Trail

    http://ncwhs.org/

    This amazing resource is generated from collective research from around the country and is a great place to identify an individual from your area.

    Historical Organizations

    Your local historical society is a great place to start. Even if they currently do not have a list of sites, contacting them is a great opportunity to connect with them regarding this project and benefit from their valuable knowledge and resources for your area.

    Local Papers

    Once you identify the years, visit your local library to view your local newspaper archives. Work backward from the date your state ratified the amendment or passed a state amendment to grant women the vote.

    Search the word “suffrage meetings”, etc. Often times, the newspapers will mention the names of men and women who attended suffrage meetings and events.

    Local Club History

    If you have a local women’s club that has been around between the 1850s and 1920 may have been a supporter of suffrage. The Women’s Club Movement was often connected to suffrage efforts and some clubs even campaigned for suffrage or held meetings regarding suffrage.

    3) Identify the Burial Location

    Once you have identified the name(s) of a suffragist, the final challenge is to identify the location where the suffragist is buried.

    ·       Contact your local cemetery to verify the exact lot number of the gravesite so that people can visit it.  

    ·       www.visitfindagrave.com  Please add gravesite information to this website.


    4) Share Your Findings

    Share your findings with your local historical societies, cemeteries, and of course the National Women’s History Alliance.

    ·       Add the site to the www.findagrave.com

    ·       Add the individual and burial location to the National votes for trail list. http://ncwhs.org/index.php/projects/trails/293-votes-for-women-trail

    5) Celebrate/Honor

    Visit gravesite (http://www.nwhp.org/suffrage-gravesite-markers) and print the “Here lies a suffragist” sign and attach the sign to a dowel or popsicle stick.

    Visit the gravesite of your suffragist

    share your photos documenting the moment and to help bring recognition to the suffragists in your area.

    To stay Connected use the hastags: #hereliesasuffragist #remembertheladies #rememberthegents #forwardtogether #nwharemembers

    6) Persevere

    Identifying these important women and men is not always easy but the payoff of bringing their legacy to your local community is a true gift and is truly rewarding.

    Link to Gravesite Markers

  • 22 Oct 2018 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Seattle –The League enthusiastically joins De-Escalate Washington in urging voters to pass I-940 to improve training for law enforcement and help save lives. Equipping law enforcement officers with additional training in mental health and violence de-escalation techniques will make our communities and our officers safer. Passing this initiative is the best way to achieve this goal.

    “This initiative is a testament to the perseverance of families who have suffered a terrible loss and turned their heartache into a call for action,” said Ann Murphy, president of the League of Women Voters of Washington. Murphy continued, “The commonsense reforms embodied in Initiative 940 are urgently needed, and the League is proud to support it.”

    After the League voted to endorse I-940 on August 1, 2017, members worked closely with volunteers from other endorsing organizations to gather signatures across the state. As a result of these joint efforts, De-Escalate Washington turned in 355,000 signatures, nearly 100,000 over the threshold to qualify for the ballot. “We know voters overwhelmingly support this reform. Now we need people to communicate that support with their vote,” said Ann Murphy.

    Initiative 940 is a life-saving measure in more ways than one. The law will also provide police officers with first aid training and, after rule-making done by law enforcement and the Criminal Justice Training Commission, will direct them to use it whenever it is safe for them to do so. Expanding the role of police officers as first responders is consistent with their mission to serve and protect the public.

    The League applauds the way in which I-940 will improve accountability, transparency, and relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. An investigative report by the Seattle Times revealed that 213 Washingtonians were killed by police between 2005 and 2014. Only one officer was criminally charged and he was acquitted under the current law. Initiative 940 seeks to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place, and will help fix gaps in our laws by updating our standards to those used in 27 other states. Initiative 940 will also provide for fair and independent investigations when a tragedy does occur. “The League believes this reform is urgently needed to promote just outcomes for families who have lost loved ones during police encounters, as well as communities and law enforcement,” said Ann Murphy.  

    The League supports both the practical and symbolic benefits of I-940. People of color, people with disabilities, and other communities have disproportionate contact with law enforcement. Initiative 940 requires that these and other stakeholders work together with law enforcement to shape new policies under the law. The League believes that this collaboration will ensure the benefits of I-940 are meaningful and long-lasting. 

    About the League: 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 which its members have studied. It does not support or oppose candidates, factions or political parties. League members, as individuals, are urged to work in the political party of their choice. To protect the League's nonpartisanship policy, guidelines regarding the political activities of the Board of Directors are reviewed frequently.

    Contact: 

    League of Women Voters of Washington
    www.lwvwa.org
    2
    06-622-8961

    Ann Murphy, President, League of Women Voters of Washington
    president@lwvwa.org

    Heather Kelly, Criminal Justice Issue Chair, League of Women Voters of Washington
    hkelly@lwvwa.org


  • 06 Sep 2018 6:02 PM | Anonymous

    US and Canada Begin Negotiations on a Modernized Columbia River Treaty

    by Raelene Gold,  LWVWA - Representative for CRT 

    The United States and Canada started negotiations to modernize the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) this May in Washington DC. The 1964 treaty is an acclaimed model for transboundary water management and has been highly successful in meeting its goals of maximizing hydropower generation and preventing downriver flooding. Certain provisions of the treaty are set to expire in 2024, necessitating current negotiations. 

    The Columbia River has its origin in the Rocky Mountains of the Province of British Columbia and its basin includes the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, 
    and Oregon. The l930’s saw a period of dam building, including the l938 Grand Coulee Dam, that blocked salmon from British Columbia and northern Idaho. There are now 14 federal dams on the main stem of the river, as well as three storage dams in British Columbia and one in Libby, Montana. Besides power generation and flood control, the treaty also benefits irrigation and municipal water supply, water levels for navigation on the lower river, and recreation opportunities.

    The treaty had a period of review between 2012 and 2014, with public hearings in the northwest resulting in the 2014 Northwest Regional Recommendation for the CRT, that included a recommendation to add “ecosystem function” as a third treaty goal.
               
    The League has had an interest in the Columbia River since 1959 when northwest Leagues published their seminal, "The Great River of the West.” The Leagues of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon formed a Columbia River Task Force (1980) to reach a regional position (see Program in Action 2017-2019 page 30) and continue to maintain their involvement. The group submitted comments during the Review process contributing to the 2014 Northwest Regional Recommendation for the CRT. The LWVWA is represented in the NGO Caucus for the CRT and joined 31 other signatories to an August 30, 2018 letter to the US Chief Negotiator.
               
    At a public meeting on July 25th in Spokane, Chief U.S. Negotiator Jill Smail and Canadian Negotiator Sylvain Fabi began with diplomatic congeniality, stressing their joint priorities for flood control, reliable and affordable power, ecosystem improvement and flexible and adaptable management. Though the treaty negotiators rejected the request of Columbia River First Nations and tribes to be included on the negotiating team, they now are agreeing to look into the reintroduction of salmon into the upper Columbia River Basin, which has been blocked by the Grand Coulee dam. They also both spoke to the need for treaty flexibility and adaptive management, especially in the face of climate change and changing energy markets.
               
    The meeting allowed those in southeastern British Columbia and Lincoln County, Montana to raise the negative aspects of the four Treaty dams that removed farm, forest, 
    andwetland acreage, replacing it with reservoirs that drain into dusty mudflats. The area has suffered substantial economic damage without the benefiting from the CRT. British Columbia has been given some compensation. Montana is now also requesting compensation.

    There is recognition that including a third treaty goal of “ecosystem function” to benefit salmon and wildlife will result in trade-offs, impacting hydropower production and flood control. An important issue for the NW Power (utilities) Group has been the “Canadian Entitlement,” what they pay Canada for water storage, which they say is now too high.
               
    A public meeting held yesterday in Portland addressed issues including the 2024 end to assured Canadian storage, and preventing lower Columbia flooding. You can read U.S. Chief Negotiator Jill Smail's remarks from the meeting here. Treaty negotiations will continue in Portland on October 17-18.

  • 16 Aug 2018 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    We are thrilled to share that on August 10, 2018, Secretary of State Kim Wyman immediately eliminated the option for email return of ballots for non-overseas and non-military voters in Washington. The reason: this voting method is highly vulnerable to hacking. 

    This decision is a huge step forward in improving election security in our state. LWVWA has sounded the alarm about the insecurity of this practice and advocated for this change prior to the midterm election. We're proud of our role in bringing this risk to Wyman's attention and demonstrating how easily emailed ballots can be compromised. 

    LWVWA Election Security Issue Chair Kirstin Mueller has been front and center on this critical issue. In an early August appearance on KIRO TV, she encouraged Secretary Wyman to eliminate the option for domestic, non-service voters to use email ballot return. 

    Mueller's impact has reverberated in the national media, as well. 
    In an interview from Las Vegas last week, where he was attending the annual hacking conference DefCon, Washington Deputy Secretary of State Mark Neary cited an email hacking demonstration conducted by Mueller back in March, as well the concern for malware transmission by email ballot files as being an impetus for the August rule change in Washington.

    Mueller's public education effort has also included an interview on KEXP. You can listen to that interview here
  • 01 Aug 2018 9:48 AM | Anonymous

    It is with mixed feelings that the League of Women Voters of Washington Lobby Team announces the retirement of two of our long-serving members, Ann Aagaard, Issue Chair for Shorelines, Wetlands, & Land Use, and Susan Eidenschink, Issue Chair for Healthcare, Behavioral Health, and Reproductive Rights. 

    Ann and Susan are skilled experts in their fields and have been an extraordinary addition to LWVWA's 10-person Lobby Team, which is led by a Lobby Chair and leads LWVWA's statewide advocacy. 

    Please join us in thanking Ann and Susan for their service and the great work they have done all these years in Olympia advocating for League values. Questions in regards to their issues can be directed to Maddy Vonhoff, Lobby Team Chair. Read on for more about Susan and Ann's impressive work!

    Susan Eidenschink

    Susan grew up in Minnesota and was a math and science teacher for about 15 years. She decided to study for an engineering degree and after she received that degree, she worked as an engineer at Boeing in Seattle, Auburn and Wichita for about 15 years. Susan joined the League in 2000, and also joined Health Care for All – WA in 2000. In 2005, she began working with the LWVWA Lobby Team and participated in two LWVWA studies (WA Ferry System and Conservation Districts in WA) and some local League studies. 

    As Issue Chair, she testified a number of times in the Washington State Legislature for single payer health care and participated in a group of League members throughout the United States entitled 'Health Care Reform for the United States (HCR4US)' in monthly teleconferences.  She attended LWVUS Conventions and helped the HCR4US group with caucuses for health care reform at these conventions.  Similar caucuses were organized by Susan at the LWVWA Conventions. Jo Rodman will be stepping up as Issue Chair.


    Ann Aagaard

    Over the past 40 years, Ann has led, or been involved in setting precedent on environmental issues on the State and Federal levels.  Attempting to save the Farmlands in North Creek Valley led to the support of the Farmlands Preservation initiative to purchase the development rights to farmlands in King County.  After the passage of the Growth Management Act, she became more involved in Land Use issues, and led the challenge on several appeals to the Growth Management Hearing Board.

    In 1985-1993, she was appointed to the Washington State Ecological Commission which reviewed all Shoreline Master Programs. Later, she was appointed by Christine Gregoire to serve on the negotiation team for the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines for the Department of Ecology. Her honors include the Ralph W. Johnson award by Center for Environmental Policy (CELP) for years of environmental work and particularly for the preservation of the 53-acre wetland located on the Bothell Campus of University of Washington/ Cascadia Community College in June 2014. After retiring from the Lobby Team as Shoreline/ Wetlands/ Land Use Chair, she will continue to represent the LWV on the Puget Sound Environmental Caucus, a coalition of over 20 environmental groups who support the Puget Sound Partnership.  She currently serves on the Salmon Recovery Council for the PSP-- and will continue with that position as the LWV representative.

  • 20 Jul 2018 6:30 AM | Anonymous

    Many people are surprised to learn that any voter in Washington State can vote via email. Most assume that option is limited to service voters and those overseas. But just because we can (currently), that doesn’t mean we should.

    The LWVWA has been working with legislators, the Secretary of State, and cybersecurity experts to raise awareness about the cybersecurity concerns of returning ballots over email. Kirstin Mueller, the LWVWA Election Security Chair, organized a meeting for this group and other public policy decision-makers in which she demonstrated how easy it is to hack an email and literally change which candidate gets someone’s vote. Almost everyone in the room was stunned at how quickly and easily this could be done.

    A recent Seattle Times article brought attention to Washington's response to the threat of election hacking or interference. Many laudable steps are being taken by Secretary Wyman including working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and partnering with Washington’s Air National Guard to test for weaknesses and detect any intrusions into their network. Washington is also utilizing federal funding to expand the cybersecurity capabilities within the secretary of state’s office.

    The article points out that Washington has work to do to improve election security, including the practice of email ballot return. Kirstin Mueller responded with a letter to the editor to outline concerns with email ballot return.  

    What is email ballot return?

    Email ballot return is attaching a voted ballot to an email, then emailing the ballot to a designated county elections email address in order to vote.  

    Is email ballot return a common practice in the US?

    Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia allow for some form of email ballot return. A couple of states restrict this practice to military stationed outside the US receiving imminent danger pay. Idaho allows those citizens directly affected by national or local states of emergency to email return their ballot. Washington is the only state that allows any voter to return their ballot via email attachment.  

    What are the email ballot return laws and rules in Washington?

    Based on the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) all voters in Washington can return their voted ballot to their county auditor via an email attachment prior to 8pm on election day. Voters who are overseas or military do not have to additionally mail in their physical paper ballot. All other voters must mail in their physical paper ballot prior to election certification in order for their vote to be tabulated. There does not need to be an emergency for a voter to return their ballot via email.

    What happens if a voter doesn’t mail in their paper ballot after emailing their ballot?

    If a non-military, non-overseas voter doesn’t mail in their paper ballot prior to election certification after emailing their ballot, then their vote will not count. Different counties have ways they reach out to voters to educate them on the need for the paper ballot including phone calls, letters, and emails.The rate of return of the paper ballot varies widely by county.

    What are some of the security concerns with returning a ballot by email? 
      
    Email is an insecure method of transmitting a marked ballot across the Internet. Email is not encrypted, therefore ballots can be intercepted, deleted, and modified in transit by a number of different mechanisms without either the voter or the election official knowing. In addition, when election officials download ballot file attachments, the attachments can carry malware into an election network.  

    Does email ballot return ensure voter privacy or anonymity?

    Email returned ballots are not encrypted, and can be vulnerable to inspection. For example, if an emailed ballot is sent from a work email, some employers reserve the right to monitor incoming and outgoing email. Some states require voters to sign an affidavit waiving the anonymity of their votes if they choose to email their voted ballots, although a waiver is not utilized in Washington. When an emailed ballot is received by an election official, the ballot will be printed out and it is highly difficult, if not impossible, to maintain separation of the voter’s signature page from their ballot during this process. Also, for non-military/non-overseas voters, the email returned ballot must be kept associated with the voter’s name until the physical paper ballot is received.

    The LWVWA supports and encourages voters to vote via a paper ballot, if at all possible. Paper ballots are the safest and most reliable way to ensure votes are counted as cast in addition to maintaining voter privacy. The paper ballot allows voters to verify that their vote accurately reflects their intent, and provides a physical record for audits and recounts.

    Would you like to help us make elections more secure in Washington state? Or do you have election security questions? Please contact  Kirstin Mueller, LWVWA Election Security Chair.

    Additional election security reading can be found here


  • 12 Jul 2018 9:44 AM | Anonymous

    The League of Women Voters of Washington has been working with legislators, the office of the secretary of state, and election officials to ensure the security of our elections. Be sure to read our letter to the editor to learn more about one way we can protect our elections.


  • 07 Jun 2018 10:09 AM | Anonymous

    In today’s divisive political comment can we move beyond snarky Twitter exchanges and engage in civil conversation? League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County thinks so and has engaged in a year-long process and increasing number of partners to move toward action, while encouraging civility and demonstrating the power of conversation. 

    We've already highlighted the results but for those of you who want to know what process led to those results, read on! 

    Civility Forums 

    In early 2017 LWVT-PC joined with community partners NAACP, AAUW, and RAD (Restoring the American Dream) to hold a series of three public forums on the topic of civility. 

    The three forums, “Civility, Incivility and Civil Disobedience,” were:

    • Civility in Public Discourse—Whose Job Is It, Anyway?
    • Maintaining Civility at Home, at Work and on the Street
    • Political Civility

    This award-winning series was popular not just because of the topics but because of the format, which gave audience members the opportunity to discuss topics in small groups for one hour.  While some initially declared that a three-hour forum was too long, evaluations later suggested participants could have used even more time! A favorite part of each forum was the small group conversation.

    Community Conversations 

    Based on that feedback, the four sponsoring organizations decided to initiate public Conversation Cafes in the Fall of 2017.  These have been held twice a month, one in the Tacoma/Lakewood area and one in Puyallup each month.  These provide an opportunity for the public to discuss a wide variety of controversial topics within the safety of the Conversation Café model.  

    Ground rules include use of a talking stick, requiring the group to listen as each speaker talks, and other rules of civil discourse.  The topics have been:

    • Can Democrats and Republicans Actually Talk to Each Other?
    • What effect is the media having on civility in our conversations?  If this effect is not something we value, how might we get the media to change?
    • What is the state of public education in Washington? Is financial support of public schools sufficient?  Are there changes that should be made in the public education system?
    •  Bring Your Own Topic. What would you really love to discuss with people of different persuasions?
    • What are...or should be...American values?
    • Homelessness:  What is our individual or collective responsibility to work on and solve it?  Whose responsibility is it?
    • What are the things we value in the community we live in?  How can those features be preserved in the face of significant growth change?
    • How Can We Assure a Free Press?

    It was these initial successful endeavors that inspired and gave the participants the confidence to move from conversation and discussion into this actual problem solving, all while maintaining the civility that seems so elusive in so much of our current public discourse.

    Holding Forums 

    The next step was to move from conversation and discussion into this actual problem solving, all while maintaining the civility that seems so elusive in so much of our current public discourse. The success here was detailed in a previous post

    Follow Up Action 

    Following the successful forums and community recommendations, LWVT-PC sent a letter to the Pierce County Council outlining the recommendations stemming from the public feedback at the event.  

    LWVT-PC presented to the results of their work to the Pierce County Council's Human Services Committee. You can see their presentation online (starts about 20 minutes in).

    For more info on the process or the outcomes of this work, contact Cynthia Stewart, President, LWVT-PC.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 

The League of Women Voters of Washington is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. LWVWA Education Fund contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not endorse the contents of any web pages to which it links.

League of Women Voters of the United States

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software