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  • 28 Oct 2020 2:45 PM | Anonymous

    Eligible Washington State citizens can register and vote in person at county voting centers on or before November 3. Those wishing to do so should contact their county elections office to confirm identification requirements and voting center hours. Accessible voting services are also available at voting centers. Voters can check the Secretary of State’s website for specific drop box and voting center locations.

    Registered voters who wish to vote in person or find a drop box can get a personalized list of locations at VoteWA.gov. Voters can also track their ballot on this site. The League of Women Voters of Washington is also available at 206-622-8961 to assist voters in finding their voting locations.

    Election Protection Hotlines are available to assist with questions regarding ID requirements, incorrect information related to voting center location or eligibility, or what to do after casting a provisional ballot. Voters can call the following hotlines for answers to these and other questions:    

    • 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) 
    • 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español) 
    • 1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance) 
    • 1-844-YALLA-US (Arabic) 

    The League of Women Voters urges all eligible citizens to take steps now to ensure their vote counts. To help with important voting decisions on candidates and ballot measures, visit VOTE411.org. For other important election information, check your county elections office and visit LWVWA.org.

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    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.


  • 21 Oct 2020 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    Voting in Washington State for the November 3 general election is under way! Now is the time for voters to visit VoteWA.gov, where they can check their voter registration, register to vote if necessary, and track their ballot. Next step: Vote!

    The League of Women Voters has freely available tools for voters to use in making their voting decisions. On LWVWA.org, voters can access the following tools:

    Downloadable debates between candidates running for statewide offices: commissioner of public lands; lieutenant governor; secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, and treasurer. Voters can view the debates online at their convenience, hear what the candidates have to say for themselves, and decide which candidate they want for the job.

    A downloadable video presenting the pros and cons of Referendum 90 regarding sexual health education in schools is also available.

    Simplified ballot measure summaries in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Voters can get a quick look at what the ballot issues are all about. These brief summaries offer pro and con information on Referendum 90 and SJR 8212 and background on the advisory measures. Don’t be confused. Take a look!

    Videos on how to vote and other important election information. First-time voters can find the mechanics of voting overwhelming and wonder about some of the details.

    A link to VOTE411.org, the League’s voter guide and much more. This site, available to all voters in the United States, offers personalized voting information—voters simply enter their address to see what’s on their specific ballot. The site also features candidate answers to local League questions, simplified ballot measure summaries, and voting rules for each state in both English and Spanish. If a candidate hasn’t answered any questions, voters are encouraged to contact the candidate’s campaign for those answers.

    Links to other important voting information, including League of Women Voters forums in communities across the state, primary forums for statewide races, and fun handouts for kids.

    League President Lunell Haught reminds voters to make a voting plan and vote early.

    “Having a plan is the best way to make sure your voice is heard this election. Will you drop your ballot at a drop box, or are you planning to mail it? If mailing your ballot, make sure to leave enough time for it to be picked up and postmarked. In some rural areas of the state, this can be an issue. Better yet, vote early!”

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    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.


  • 08 Oct 2020 8:51 AM | Anonymous

    [SEATTLE/SPOKANE]— The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund and The Spokesman-Review are pleased to announce Zoom debates for lieutenant governor and the superintendent of public instruction will take place on Monday, October 12. The superintendent of public instruction debate will livestream at 6 p.m. on the LWVWA Facebook page and on TVW. The lieutenant governor debate will livestream at 7 p.m. at these sites as well as at The Spokesman-Review: Northwest Passages-Live Events.

    These two debates are the last of eight debates the League of Women Voters and The Spokesman-Review organized for the primary and general elections. Voters will find recordings of all 2020 League and Spokesman debates at LWVWA-Forums, The Spokesman-Review: Northwest Passages-Videos and TVW Archives. TVW is broadcasting these debates as well; air times are listed on the LWVWA-Forums site.

    The full lineup of debates, hosted by the different local Leagues in their communities, includes:  

    General Election Debates

    • ·       Secretary of State (Thurston County, 9/12)
    • ·       State treasurer (Benton-Franklin Counties 9/17)
    • ·       Commissioner of public lands (Spokane Area, 10/1)
    • ·       Superintendent of public instruction (Spokane Area, 10/6)
    • ·       Superintendent of public instruction (Tacoma-Pierce County, 10/12)
    • ·       Lieutenant governor (Spokane Area, 10/12)
    • Primary Forums
    • ·       Lieutenant governor (Tacoma-Piercy County, 7/9)
    • ·       Secretary of state (Spokane, 7/16)

    The League encourages voters to take the time to learn about the candidates by watching them in action. League President Lunell Haught notes:

    “Hearing what candidates have to say about how they plan to do the job offers a unique opportunity to see their leadership style. Officeholders in these statewide positions will lead our state for the next four years and make decisions that affect our daily lives. Who do you want to have that power? Take a look at the candidates and make your voting decision.”

    Voters can find other helpful election information at both the League of Women Voters of Washington and at The Spokesman-Review: Elections sites. This information is freely available to the public.

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    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.

  • 29 Sep 2020 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    [SEATTLE/SPOKANE]—The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund and The Spokesman-Review are pleased to announce the third debate for a statewide position: commissioner of public lands. This is the third in a series of six debates the League and The Spokesman-Review are sponsoring during the general election. Voters can hear directly from the commissioner for public lands candidates on Thursday, October 1, at 7 p.m. The Spokesman-Review will livestream the debate at The Spokesman Review: Northwest Passages-Live Events.

    The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund will livestream the debate on Facebook. Voters and media across the state are invited to watch the debate and learn the candidates’ views on issues critical to how Washington State’s public lands are managed.

    This debate will be available for later viewing at voters’ convenience at both the LWVWA Debates  and The Spokesman Review at The Spokesman Review: Northwest Passages-Videos. Also available for later viewing at these sites are debates for the state treasurer position and the secretary of state position.

    The League of Women Voters wants voters to have the information they need to cast an informed ballot.  Voters can find a League candidate guide online at VOTE411.orgor at LWVWA.org. Here they can also learn about additional debates, when to watch, and access debate video recordings as they become available. Additional debates include:

    ·       Lieutenant governor

    ·       Office of superintendent of public instruction

    The League also reminds voters that now is the time to check their voter registration at VoteWA.gov. U.S. citizens can register to vote at this site as well. 

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    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.


  • 09 Sep 2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Lunell Haught, LWVWA President
    206.622.8961
    president@lwvwa.org

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    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 in the next few weeks: 

    • Candidates for the positions of Treasurewill face voters on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m. NWPB will air this debate live on KTNW-TVThe LWV Education Fund will stream the debate live on Facebook. The LWV of Benton-Franklin Counties is hosting this debate. Questions from the community are featured.  

    • Candidates for the position of Secretary of State will record a debate that will be available for viewing on or about September 19. The LWV of Thurston County is hosting this debate. It will feature questions form the Thurston County area.  

    All voters are encouraged to submit questions to forumquestions@lwvwa.org for these debates and are asked to include which position the question is for and what community they are from. 

    These debates will be available for later viewing at voters’ convenience. Visit LWVWA.org or  The Spokesman-Review elections page. TVW will air the debates as part of its scheduled programming and will place them on its website for later streaming at voters’ convenience  

    These positions are important to Washington State residents. Candidateelected to these offices will affect laws and policies that bear on our daily lives. The Spokesman-Review and the LWVWA are proud to assist voters in learning about the candidates who seek to represent them.   

    These debates are the first of several that The Spokesman-Review and the LWVWA Education Fund are planning. We want voters to have the information they need to cast an informed ballotPlease visit the LWVWA website to see the list of planned debateshow to watch them, and links to debate recordings. 

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    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 Jul 2020 7:18 PM | Anonymous

    July 27, 2020
    www.lwvwa.org

    Lunell Haught, LWVWA President
    206.622.8961
    president@lwvwa.org

    Jonathan Brunt, Assistant Managing Editor/Government
    The Spokesman-Review
    (509) 459-5442
    jonathanb@spokesman.com

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    League of Women Voters Candidate Forums Available 

    The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund and The Spokesman-Review are pleased to announce that voters can access critical information about candidates for lieutenant governor and secretary of state in advance of the August 4 primary. 

    These forums are available on the League website and through the following links:* 

    LWVWA President Lunell Haught reminds voters to make time to learn about the candidates and vote by August 4: 

    Candidate forums provide a unique look at the people who are seeking to represent you. Once in office, the lieutenant governor and the secretary of state will affect public policy in ways that play out in daily life. Who do you want to have this power? Vote for that candidate. 

    The top two contenders for these positions will advance to the November general election. Voters, who are now receiving their ballots and official voter guides for the primary, can also check the following sites to make sure they are ready to vote: 

    • VoteWA: The Washington State site for checking your voter status. 
    • VOTE411: The League of Women Voters candidate guide, where you can get answers put to candidates from members of their local communities.  

    Voters can also find a list of planned debates at lwvwa.org/Forums as well as submit questions for candidates. 

    Democracy depends on citizen participation, especially at the ballot box. Please vote. 

    * Use of the recordings. The League of Women Voters adheres strictly to FCC requirements regarding use of recordings made during a candidate forum or debate.  Any use of the recordings requires the approval of the LWVWA and TVW or KSPS, with the caveat that it must only be broadcast in its entirety. No candidate is allowed to use or edit the footage for campaign purposes.  

    ###

    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.


  • 22 Jan 2020 9:07 PM | Anonymous

    By Allyson Brooks, LWV of Thurston County 

    On January 16, I had the privilege of attending the Public Disclosure Commission’s symposium on social media and digital advertising on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Washington State. The symposium was titled “Big Data, Big Dollars: Shining Light on Political on Digital Political Advertising.” I would encourage all League members to view the event from the TVW archives.  

    What I thought would be a straightforward discussion of how advertising is bought, how to identify those who purchase campaign ads, and how to track and enforce disclosure turned into a much more complicated discussion than I had imagined. How social media platforms operate and how advertising is bought and targeted is far from the straightforward transactions we remember from the 20th century.  

    As most of us are aware, the money spent on digital political campaign ads has exploded exponentially over the past few election cycles and is expected to dramatically increase again in 2020 over a variety of social media platforms beyond Facebook and Google.  

    A number of interesting topics were brought up, including one I found particularly interesting: what is political content? Many of us who are older consider political content to be direct campaign advertising. In the 21st century this is no longer the case. The presenters showed social media posts with names that do not directly tie to campaigns but, regardless, are designed to influence voters. For example, it could be “People for a Better America,” “The Bernie Coloring Cook,” or “Jews or Christians for….” 

    On Facebook I often see people taking a photograph of their ballots and posting them online, saying “I voted for ….” Will this type of post be considered political content? What about discussions between friends designed to influence each other? Again, the concept of political content as we remember from the 20th century is no longer equivalent in the 21st century. 

    The panelists also explained that there are so many advertising buys on social media platforms that companies like Facebook do not have enough employees to monitor all these purchases. Therefore, when those companies are required to monitor and disclose political advertising, the identification process is done by a computer, not by a human employee. This means that content meant to influence voters may not be caught and tracked by the platform. Further, every social media platform has a different standard regarding what they consider political advertising, and they did not expect any direction on national standards from the Federal Elections Commission. 

    One of the academic researchers mentioned that although Facebook agreed to archive political advertising, a software glitch caused them to lose 40% of all the ads that were placed prior to the recent elections in the United Kingdom. This tells us that having companies self-regulate and be the archive for digital ads may not be the safest approach. While Facebook was the most discussed media platform, it was clear from the panels that other platforms, such as Google, were barely taking the issue seriously and had lower standards than Facebook.  

    The presenters from campaign consulting firms (who, although representing both Republican and Democratic candidates, took pride in presenting together!) illustrated the mechanics of buying digital ads, which can be complicated. Purchases can go through many layers of marketing companies and are often not directly purchased from the digital platform. Among the spider web of marketing buys it became confusing as to who would and should be responsible for the disclosure of the influencing posts? Is it the marketing firm with the initial contract? The final marketing company? All marketing companies who have a role in targeting specific citizens? Or the platform from which the final advertisement is placed?  

    Finally, academics who focused on this topic noted that being able to force disclosure and conduct enforcement on foreign actors may never be feasible. Several social media platforms aren’t even located in the United States. TikTok, a Beijing company, claims it has banned political advertising from its platform.  

    It was clear from the symposium that there is no national standard on digital campaign advertising, social media platforms self-regulate using very different standards, too many political ads run without disclaimers, and there is no regulation of foreign actors. I left with the sense that we are on an open frontier in the 21st century that is far ahead of our 20th-century thinking. It will not be easy to corral the situation, but I certainly appreciated the fact that our Public Disclosure Commissioners are willing to take this on.

  • 13 Dec 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous

      Clark County Leaguer Marches for Climate Action with Jane Fonda
    By Dee Anne Finken, LWV Clark County

    League of Women Voters of Clark County member Lynn Osborn joined actor Jane Fonda and about 800 other protesters in a “Fire Drill Friday” march in Washington, D.C., on December 6. Osborn said she felt her effort helped raise awareness about the threat of climate change. 

    “I think we brought attention to it,” said Osborn, 69, who traveled to the nation’s capital to participate in one of the weekly fire drills Fonda, 82, began in early October.   

    The fire drills feature activists wearing red coats protesting on the steps of the Capitol and urging Congress to pass the Green New Deal. Introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, House Resolution 109 is a nonbinding plan that lays out broad actions for tackling climate change. Specifically, it would halt deforestation, mining on indigenous lands and subsidies for industrial agriculture. Fonda said in a Washington Post article in October that she was inspired by 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg. Fonda’s takeaway from her: “We have to behave like our houses are on fire.”

    Osborn described what it was like to be marching with so many others in the nation’s capital. “I think we brought attention to the tourists who were visiting Washington, D.C., for the people lining up in front of the financial buildings, for the office workers who stopped and watched us,” she said. 

    Since beginning the fire drills on Oct. 11, Fonda and other protesters have been arrested and then released for their acts of civil disobedience. On the second Friday of protests, actor Sam Waterston, 78, was arrested; actor Ted Danson, 71, was arrested the third Friday. 

    The fire drills initially drew a dozen or so protestors.  

    But on December 6, the number of activists had swelled to more than 800. That protest moved to Franklin Park near the capital’s financial district, where organizers had planned to engage in a civil disobedience against financial institutions, explained Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the Fonda fire drill events. 

    “Our civil disobedience action will be shutting down the building of a key corporation financing fossil fuels and deforestation as well as profiting from immigrant detention centers,” Miller wrote in a training manual that Osborn received prior to the event. 

    “There will be options for people to go inside the building if they are risking arrest or to occupy space outside the building without risking arrest,” Miller noted.   

    However, Osborn said protesters were not able to enter the financial institution because of extensive law enforcement presence. 

    “We couldn’t go into the lobby,” Osborn said. “There was a huge police presence all along K Street. There were police in riot gear in front of Chase Bank, Black Rock and Wells Fargo.” 

    Osborn said the protest at Franklin Park lasted about 90 minutes before the marchers headed down K Street, waving placards and chanting. 

    Joining Osborn were two other women, including psychologist Kitty Westin, 67, who became friends with Fonda through her efforts to help people deal with eating disorders. Westin introduced Osborn to Fonda.   

    Also joining the march were actors Kyra Sedgwick and Maura Tierney and several religious leaders. Osborn said organizers emphasized peaceful protest in the manner of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. 

    Osborn, who lives part of the year in Mesa, Arizona, where she is a member of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Phoenix, said she will share details of her experience with members there. In Vancouver, she said she plans to continue her work registering voters and with civics education outreach. 

    A retired school teacher, Osborn has not been widely involved in protests, except for supporting local candidates and working to reduce class sizes in public schools – until now.  A warming world has prompted her to change that. 

    “I think climate change is an existential crisis for our population,” said Osborn, who moved to Clark County three years ago from a Minneapolis suburb, where she was active in League. 

    “I’m so concerned about the condition of the world my children are going to be facing,” she added. 

    Osborn is the mother of three daughters and a grandmother of six children – ranging from 10 months to 5 years old. 

    Read about League positions on global climate change on page 24 of Washington State: Program in Action 2019-2021 and page 63 of the LWVUS Impact on Issues 2018-2020.

    Below: Lynn Osborn, second from left, is joined by friends, from far left, Jeanine Cogan, Joann Martin, Jane Fonda, and Kitty Westin, prior marching Friday morning, Dec. 6, in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about climate change.

  • 03 Oct 2019 6:01 PM | Anonymous

    Last Tuesday, September 24, was National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Established in 2012, this day is an opportunity for voting advocacy groups across the country to get people registered--and excited--to vote. The League of Women Voters is the largest organizational partner in the effort and this year there were more than 500 voter registration events hosted by local Leagues in cities and towns across the country.  

    Leagues right here in Washington registered and educated  hundreds of voters (and future voters!). The photos below are just a snapshot of the many events across the state last Tuesday. 






    Above: LWV Kittitas County at Bite of the Burg in Ellensburg--special thanks to CWU students Landis,Ally, Sadie and Grace! (photos  by Mollie Edson). 

    Below: Klickitat-Skamania Unit-at-Large voter registration (Photos 1-3 at Lyle Market, taken by Rick George; photo 4 from Stevenson Market taken by Chris Fisher).





    Below: Volunteers in front of the Seattle Public library. (Photo by Jan Monti)


    Below: Joan Spencer registers students at Bainbridge High School on Tuesday, Sept. 24, National Voter Registration Day. (Photo by Julie Shryock)


  • 01 Aug 2019 9:25 AM | Anonymous

    by Kirstin Mueller, Election Security Issue Chair


    As we approach the 2020 election, there is increasing focus on election security and the necessity of ensuring that our election results are accurate. The League of Women Voters of Washington (LWWA) recognizes the importance of this and has long advocated for auditing vote results as an evidence-based means to provide confidence in the voting process. Properly performed audits will guard against both deliberate manipulation of the election and software, hardware, or programming problems.

    A risk-limiting audit (RLA) is a relatively recent post-election auditing method that can provide high confidence in the accuracy of the outcome of an election. Risk-limiting audits became an option for Washington State county auditors and election directors to perform after the passage of ESHB 2406 in 2018, and are widely considered to be the gold standard of post-election audits. LWVWA actively lobbied for its passage, in addition to providing feedback during the rule-making process. Washington is the third state in the country to pass RLA legislation, behind Colorado and Rhode Island. 

    After the February 2019 special election, Snohomish County was the first county in Washington State to pilot a post election RLA. In attendance were local election officials from Snohomish and King counties, Jennifer Morrell of Democracy Fund, and several state election officials including Secretary Wyman. The LWVWA Election Security Issue Chair, Kirstin Mueller, attended as an observer.

    How do RLAs work and what is their benefit? RLAs rely on examination of a random sample of voted ballots. The number of ballots examined depends on the risk-limit chosen, the margin of the race, and the number of ballots cast. This type of audit is an efficient and cost-effective way to ensure voters can have high confidence in election outcomes while providing a means for catching errors, bugs, equipment failures, or deliberate fraud.

    According to the office of Secretary of State, “The goal of the pilot was to introduce state and local officials to the terms and concepts of RLAs and understand how the process might work with their voting equipment.” The current WAC rules surrounding RLA’s were worked through step by step, with a lot of opportunities for questions and problem solving. Jennifer Morrell provided guidance on the use of an RLA software tool, and shared her experience with successfully conducting RLA’s in Colorado.  

    Snohomish County chose the Arlington School bond measure to audit. To start, dice were rolled by each attendee until a 20-digit number was created. This number was then entered into a pseudorandom number generator to determine which ballots would be randomly selected to audit. Once it was determined which ballots were selected, Snohomish County’s election workers began retrieving the ballots. In under three hours (with several breaks), they pulled 171 ballots and entered the votes from the ballots into the RLA software tool. The software tool compared the election workers interpretation of the voted ballot to what the tabulation system recorded for that ballot. One round of auditing was performed, and no discrepancies were found.  

    Kudos to Snohomish County for being the first in Washington to pilot an RLA! LWVWA looks forward to supporting further pilots. To learn more about risk-limiting audits and how to get involved in expanding use of this vital tool, contact Kirstin Mueller at kmueller@lwvwa.org.

    Resources

    LWVUS Report on Election Auditing


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