NATIONAL LWV NEWS
from the National LWV office:
- Just as we recently updated our positions on trade and on the United Nations, we now consider updating our position on Presidential Selection. The present League position calls for the promotion of the election of the President by direct popular vote, the abolition of the Electoral College, and the support of uniform national voting qualifications and procedures for presidential elections. Events of the last 30 years merit the reexamination. The media has shifted its role, from newscasts on what the candidates were doing and saying, to paid negative ads. Perhaps most significantly, there is an overall decline in partisan identification as well as a decline in voter participation. The Update will identify League values that we want to bring to the table in this discussion: What is the balance between the individual voter and the role of states in the federal system? What is the role of the presidency in a system of separated powers? The Update will compare possible outcomes with our current positions and what seems feasible in the future.
- Council and Convention: Council 2003 will be at the Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, D.C., on June 7 - 9. Convention 2004 will be at the Washington Hilton in D.C. on June 11 - 15, 2004. If you are interested in representing Honolulu, call the office (531-7448). Pearl Johnson will attend Council this year because she will be in the D.C. area at the time, attending the birth of her second grandchild.
- The federal election reform bill the Help America Vote Act which was passed a few months ago, has many good provisions pushed by the League. The League was called to testify on Capitol Hill three times, providing House and Senate members with our expert opinion on proposed language in the bill. The Act promises nearly $4 billion in federal assistance. It establishes minimum federal standards in a number of areas and protects, even extends, the protections against erroneous purging of voter rolls. However, as one Senate staffer said, "This bill allows the good states to do a very good job. But bad states can do a bad job." In other words, implementation will be the key. Basic federal standards for voting systems, provisional ballots, statewide voter lists and voter identification systems will be in place. But how they are implemented will require constant and effective citizen involvement.