help_outline Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List

News / Articles

The Voter, December 2020

Toni Brammeier  | Published on 12/5/2020
The Voter
December 2020




Upcoming Events


Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events




News & Stuff


Upcoming Behavioral Health & Law Enforcement Forum
By Deb Tittle, LWVMC Member

As we say GOOD-BYE to 2020, and reflect upon this past year’s challenges, social changes, and transitions moving us forward into the coming year, the Leadership Team is busy planning the next informative public presentation, via Zoom of course!

 

Besides Covid-19, an increased awareness around racial injustice and law enforcement occupied much of this past summer’s news headlines and conversations.   Many questions arose around the inflammatory  protest  call for “defund the police”,  so we thought a good place to really examine this issue is where mental health services and law enforcement come together as a team to respond to 911 emergency calls for assistance. 

Representatives from Mind Springs Health Crisis Services, Grand Junction Police, and Mesa County Sheriff’s department will join in a panel discussion on their efforts to de-escalate potentially violent encounters through the use of response teams made up of law enforcement officers and behavioral health professionals.  Watch for announcements in December for the presentation date and online attendance.


Recap of Our 2020 Ballot Issues Forums
By Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

In October, LWV Mesa County hosted a series of online ballot issues forums. Over the course of three evenings, we brought in experts to educate Mesa County voters on (most of) the state-wide and local November 2020 ballot issues.

On Monday October 12, we tackled the four ballot issues related to taxes. Our experts included former CO Secretary of State (and longtime LWV member) Bernie Buescher, Michael Fields from Colorado Rising Action, Andy Mueller from CO River Water Conservation District, Ben Murrey from Independence Institute, and Scott Wasserman from Bell Policy Center. Our moderator for the night was long-time partner and friend of the League, Dr. Justin Gollob PH.D, Professor of Political Science at CMU.

On Tuesday October 13, we focused on Health and Family. Our experts included Giuliana Day from Coalition for Women and Children, Anne Landman a community volunteer, Carmen Medrano from United for a New Economy, Diane Schwenke from Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Kristina Tocce, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, PPRM, and Kevin Williams a community volunteer. Moderating for the first time was LWV member Mary Beth Buescher, a community volunteer and retired lawyer.

On our last night, Wednesday October 14, we tackled Hot Topics - including an LWV favorite, Proposition 113. Our experts for the evening included Denny Behrens from Coloradans Defending Our Wildlife, Mike Foote, CO State Senator D17, Delia Malone from Wildlife Chair of Colorado Sierra Club, Clara O’Connor from Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and Rose Pugliese, Mesa County Commissioner. Our moderator was Dr. Jennifer Hancock, Ph.D, Associate Professor of English at CMU.

Wrangling up this many people to discuss this many ballot initiatives was a massive undertaking. A HUGE shout-out and a sincere THANK YOU to the volunteer League members who dedicated 100s of hours to coordinate speakers, publicize the events, and put together scripts and schedules - all while learning a new software and an entirely new format!

It was truly a team effort and we stand in awe of the dedication and energies our panelists, moderators, and league volunteers displayed in an effort to provide top-notch non-partisan education to Mesa County's voters.


If you missed the forums and are interested in watching LWV Mesa County in action, you can watch a replay of each of the three nights on our website at lwvmesa.org/ballot issues 2020.


LWV Statement on the 2020 Presidential Election Results
LWVUS Press Release Published 11/7/2020

In November 2020, League of Women Voters board president Dr. Deborah Turner and CEO Virginia Kase issued the following joint statement on the results of the electoral college count for our next president:

The American voters have spoken, and we now know the result of the presidential election. We commend the election workers and administrators who helped facilitate the 2020 elections and the post-Election Day counting of ballots under the most challenging of circumstances.

The 2020 elections saw the most ballots cast in U.S. history. We applaud the will and determination of the American public to participate in elections amid an ongoing pandemic. This unprecedented turnout is a testament to the determination of the American voters and the strength of our democratic system. It is also a testament to the tenacity and power of Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian, Muslim, LGBTQ+, and young voters who turned out in record numbers demanding their voices be heard. We are truly inspired.

Voting is our most sacred constitutional right, and elections are our greatest national project. While we know the outcome of the presidential election, there are still hundreds of local and state races yet to be decided. As we await the full results, we respect the process and professionalism of our election administrators. When all votes are counted, all candidates must respect the outcome.

There will be many lessons learned from the 2020 elections, and we should celebrate our successes, including the expansion of voter access, record-breaking early voting, and the wide-scale use of absentee and mail-in voting options. This is what creating a more perfect union looks like, and we hope to see these expansions become a more permanent part of our voting system.

The League’s work this year informed and protected millions of voters. The League was instrumental in the ongoing fight to preserve American democracy in a nonpartisan manner even in one of the most partisan and contentious elections in our nation’s history. One hundred years after our organization was founded, we remain committed to our mission of empowering voters and defending democracy.

As we look to the weeks and months ahead, our nation must begin the process of reconciliation and seek to identify those things that bind us together rather than divide us. In this moment, we must come together as Americans, respect the process, and work toward a peaceful transition of power.

Democracy defines America, and democracy has prevailed in the 2020 elections.

Read the original statement here.


Communications & Technology Committee Needs Volunteers
By Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

This year technology took center stage as our members hunkered down in the safety of their homes. Traditional in-person meetings were replaced by "Brady Bunch" style online Zoom calls. Even our traditional ballot forums were given the online treatment in a series of successful live webinars. And our new club management platform, Club Express, proved invaluable as the world went into lockdown by giving us a secure place to share ideas and communicate with each other virtually and easily throughout the year.

Although we do anticipate re-introducing in-person events (as soon as it's safe to do so), the efficiencies that we gained through the use of technology this year is encouraging. Technology is and will remain an important part of LWV Mesa County.

With that in mind, we are actively recruiting members to join our Communications & Technology Committee. Our current committee lead, Toni B., plans to move out of state in the spring, and her departure means that a couple of critical LWV functions are up for grabs (such as the quarterly newsletter, social media, email blasts, and more!). Advanced skills are not required - if you are comfortable with email, file management, and word processing, then you'll fit right in. And ...the best part ...most everything can be done from the comfort of your own home! On your own schedule! It's an easy way to make a huge impact.

Interested members can either reach out to Toni directly at tech@lwvmesa.org or join our upcoming CommTech Committee meeting on December 10th (register here to receive an update with the zoom meeting url).



LWV Mesa County Membership Dues Renewal
By Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

This year, with the adoption of Club Express, we moved to a "rolling dues" model of membership. Meaning that your membership dues are due on your yearly anniversary. For many of our members, those renewals are coming up in December and January.

You will receive an email reminder two weeks before your anniversary date advising you of your upcoming renewal date. You can also check your membership status and pay your dues at any time by logging into our website at lwvmesa.org (if you have any trouble logging in, please reach out to our tech team at tech@lwvmesa.org).

For those of you who prefer to pay by check, please complete our membership form and send to P.O. Box 4252, Grand Junction, CO 81502. Check payable to LWV Mesa County.

Please direct any questions about membership dues to treasurer@lwvmesa.org.



Commit to "Do One Thing" in 2021!
By Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

As an all volunteer organization, LWV Mesa County depends on the energies and support of its members to do what we do, and we're excited to see what you all get up to in the new year!

In 2021, we're encouraging all of our members to "Do One Thing" (at least!) to help spread LWV's mission across the Grand Valley. Maybe you'll volunteer a couple of hours at a Voter Education Drive. Or maybe you'll write some postcards to new voters encouraging them to participate in the spring local elections. Maybe you'll make a phone call to an elected official encouraging her to support an legislative opportunity. Or maybe donate to our Member Support Fund and help-out another member. Or help out behind the scenes by joining one of our committees.

LWV Mesa County has so many ways to get involved in 2021. We can't wait to get started!

P.S. Show us what you're doing to defend democracy and empower voters by tagging us on Facebook (@lwvmesacounty).



VOTE411: Helping Millions Find Nonpartisan Election Info in 2020
LWVUS Blog Post Published 11/19/2020

The 2020 election cycle saw record voter turnout and for the League of Women Voters Education Fund, our VOTE411.org election information website also broke records!  

This year more than 6 million users came to VOTE411.org, the League’s one-stop-shop election website.  

That’s about 1.5 million more users than four years ago.  

Users who came to VOTE411.org viewed more than 30 million pages of nonpartisan election information, including checking registration, finding polling places, confirming voting hours, and more.  

Of the more than 6 million users, nearly 5.3 million of them viewed more than 37 million pages to see exactly what would be on their ballots. These users utilized our candidate guides to research what the candidates had to say in their own words about the issues and compare their positions in more than 22,000 races in all 50 states.  

Ahead of this critical election, the League redesigned VOTE411 to be able to support more voters than ever before. We added new features including a ‘check your registration map’ which more than 300,000 used in just the last two months of the election cycle. Our registration tool saw more than 170,000 users, including 55,000 in October just before registration deadlines hit.  

A long-term dream of ours since VOTE411 first launched more than a decade ago, was to make our nonpartisan election information accessible in Spanish. This year, that dream came true. With our partner organization NALEO, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, we translated the critical last-minute COVID related changes all voters faced as well as all the state-specific election information in targeted states during the primary season. The fully translated Spanish language content launched in September. With just two months before Election Day, more than 110,000 users accessed more than 350,000 pages with Spanish language election content.  

So who was using VOTE411 in 2020?

57% of our more than 6 million website visitors identify as female according to Google. More than half of our users are between the ages of 18 -44. Our users found VOTE411 so engaging, they spent an average of 5 minutes on the site and averaged more than 5 pages per visit. We supported voters in all fifty states but saw the most website traffic from the following states: Texas, New York, Florida, Michigan, California, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois.  

In addition to finding election information and researching candidates, more than 2,000 users also signed up to learn more about becoming a poll worker. Through our partnership with Power the Polls, we connected these interested individuals with their local election officials to play an important role in administering elections all over the country.  

We thank our partners for helping spread the word and reaching millions of voters and look forward to continuing to build and grow this essential election service to serve more voters every election. 

Read the original blog post here.


A Voter Services Committee Update
By Robyn Parker, LWVMC Member & Voter Services Coordinator

Whew! The 2020 elections have come and gone (sort of), and no matter their political affiliation, everyone who participated should be commended for demonstrating that democracy works. LWV Mesa County is grateful for the poll workers, canvassers, phone bankers, candidates, and postal workers who increased voter participation and helped our elections run smoothly.

With 161 million Americans voting for president, this election boasted the highest number of voters in American history. In the United States, 66% of all eligible voters participated in the 2020 election. Colorado voters turned out in force with 76% participating. With 79% voter participation, Maine and Minnesota were the only states with a higher percentage of voters. Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout with 55 - 57% voter participation.

League of Women Voters stood out nationally, statewide, and countywide for its contributions to the electoral process. This year Vote 411 had over 7.7 million sessions nationwide and provided information about 41,000 candidates from 22,000 races. Over 450 LWV chapters from 44 states contributed to the voter guide. Additionally, LWV launched a Spanish language Vote 411 website, which had over 110,000 users.

In Mesa County, our chapter pulled off an impressive feat with 3 ballot issues forums, which were broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live. Since it would have taken about 4 hours to address the numerous issues on our ballots in our usual forum format, we decided to divide the issues among 3 forums to be held on 3 days. The forums covered 10 ballot issues and featured 17 speakers. We were honored to have Justin Gollob, Professor of Political Science; Mary Beth Buescher, retired lawyer; and Jennifer Hancock, Associate Professor of English as moderators of our forums.     

What a relief it was to be finished with our three 2020 Ballot Issue Forums! In all my years volunteering for LWV, this was the biggest project we’ve undertaken. With 3 forums, we had nearly 3 times the work, plus there were many new details to learn and coordinate since we were hosting the forums on Zoom rather than in person as we usually do. LWV volunteers contributed over 400 hours to our fall forums!

With our persistent shortage of volunteers, our Voter Services Committee consisted entirely of members of our Leadership Team. As forum coordinator, I recruited and managed speakers, wrote scripts for the moderators, and planned the forums minute-by-minute. Toni Brammeier and Jan Moorman figured out how to make the forums work on Zoom and Facebook Live, and Jan wrote detailed instructions so the online presentations worked easily for ballot issue speakers. Debra Kalish served as timekeeper during all 3 forums. To make sure that everything worked correctly with Zoom and that the forums went smoothly, we practiced a lot on Zoom, which required the help of all the aforementioned volunteers as well as Deb Tittle, Anita Pisciotte, and Peggy Rawlins.

 I’ve stuck with this group for so many years because we always have a great team of volunteers. We work hard sometimes, but we also have fun and enjoy the company of the bright women and men in our group.  I encourage more members to join our volunteer activities. League of Women Voters is a great use of volunteer time for anyone hoping to make meaningful contributions to our community. Please let us know how you’d like to help!



LWV Call to Action

LWVUS Call to Action: The Census Is Not Over
By Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

In November, LWVUS issued the following Action Alert encouraging LWV members and friends to encourage Congress to protect our Postal Service:

The census continues with the final processing of the data and the determination of the apportionment across the states. Congress must pass legislation to extend the timeline to process data, as the administration requested, a length of at least 120 days. Shortening the timeline to collect data and rush operations during a national pandemic is an intentional plot to sabotage the census and skew Congressional representation, redistricting, and critical funding allotments for every state in the country.

Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to PROTECT THE CENSUS! Locate your elected officials here.

Read the original Action Alert here.



LWV Colorado News

Join LWVCO on February 11th, 2021 for a virtual fundraising and "friend-raising" event. The event will celebrate LWV's 101st anniversary and honor barrier-breaking women. Learn more (and sign-up!) here.

A special session of the 72nd General Assembly convened on Monday, November 30 and adjourned on Wednesday, December 2.  The General Assembly came together just over a month prior to the start of the 2021 session to address urgent needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic crisis.   Money to support the relief package was possible as a result of the state having more tax revenue than was initially expected.  Read LWVCO's "Report on the Special Session of the Colorado Legislature" here.

LWVCO now has a YouTube channel! Subscribe to watch the latest and greatest forums and discussions from LWV Colorado and friends.

Sign-up to receive LWV Colorado's newsletter at lwvcolorado.org
.



LWV National News

LWV "is deeply concerned at the untimely firing of Chris Krebs, a dedicated public servant [and top election security expert], whose leadership and dedication to safeguarding our votes led to successful, free, and fair elections in 2020." Read more here.

LWV supports all states' post-election day ballot curing processes. To learn more about what LWV is doing in the fight to ensure voter equality, check out this article about LWVUS's efforts in Pennsylvania.

The Electoral College has been a part of our democratic process since the start, but what does it really do and what can we expect this year and going forward? Read more here.

LWV continues to support the proposed Native American Voting Rights Act of 2019. Read about the unique challenges that Native people face every election day here.

Every 10 years, after the collection of the decennial census data, states redraw their state and congressional district lines. These districts determine how communities are represented at the local, state, and federal levels. The redistricting process is fundamental in influencing how our government works for us. Here are 10 things you should know about it.

On October 8th, the League of Women Voters of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia met for an online discussion about how racial gerrymandering acts as a form of voter suppression. You can watch a replay of the Racism and Redistricting: How Unfair Maps Impact Communities of Color Facebook live forum here.

The League sent a memo to all members of the U.S. House and Senate asking them to prioritize a COVID-19 relief package to aid American families during the ongoing pandemic. The memo asks Congress to allocate additional funding to address American families’ basic human needs, provide funding to safeguard free and fair elections, extend the U.S. Census Bureau's statutory reporting deadlines, and provide the U.S. Postal Service with the necessary funding levels to continue its vital services. Read LWVUS's letter to Capitol Hill.

A 94-year-old woman traveled over 300 miles to vote after not receiving her absentee ballot. Read about the former local League president’s journey to ensure that her vote is counted.

Here are a few stories from LWV staff members about their favorite memory of the voting process that we hope will inspire you!



Clubs & Committees

LWV Mesa County is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on the following committees for our upcoming 2020-2021 season.

Voter Services Committee
If Voter Education is your thing, then the Voter Services Committee is where you need to be. Help us plan Voter Education Drives, Election Forums, and Get Out The Vote campaigns.

Program & Event Committee
Do you like entertaining? Do you have an idea for an activity or a speaker that will appeal to our LWV members and friends? Join the Program & Event Committee and help us see your idea to fruition.

Membership Committee
If meeting new people is your idea of the best time, then how about joining the Membership Committee?! Help us welcome new members and stay in touch with all of our friends.

Communications & Technology Committee
Do you spend an inordinate amount of time playing around on your device(s)? Why not channel some of that online energy to a worthy cause? Join our CommTech Committee and help us promote our mission over the Interweb.

Fundraising Committee
LWV Mesa County has an aggressive fundraising goal for the 2020-2021 season. Help us come up with some creative ways to meet that goal!

Leadership Committee
And if a little bit of all of the above sounds interesting, then the Leadership Committee wants you!


LWV Mesa County members must be logged in to sign-up for a committee. If you need help with your username please email us at tech@lwvmesa.org.



Our Sponsors



If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a business sponsor, please email us at treasurer@lwvmesa.org.