September Newsletter - Volume 3, Issue 1
A NEW NAME...AND A NEW LOOK
At our general membership meeting on April 21, after attendees voted to change the name of the Club to Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Maryland, we announced that we would officially unveil our new look at our September luncheon. As those of you who attended today's event know, we did! We hope you like it. Next up: a redesign of our website and an update of our brochure - both of which we hope will be completed soon.
UPCOMING WDC EVENTS
Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events. For more information on locations and registration, watch for future e-mails and daisy cards - or visit our website at www.mcWSDC.org.
Thursday, October 11
Redwood Restaurant and Bar,
7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda
Want to meet new people to talk politics? Join us at the next WDC Happy Hour. Every second Thursday of each month, Democrats who are passionate about politics gather to relax and network with WDC members and their guests. Whether you want to meet elected officials, make new friends, form new business contacts or just have fun, the WDC Happy Hour is the perfect place to meet and greet fellow Democrats.
Friday, October 26
Luncheon with Thomas Mann, co-author with Norman Ornstein It's Even Worse than It Looks
Special Guest Senator Ben Cardin
Cost: $24 members; $29 non-members
Senator Ben Cardin will join us as we begin the final countdown to November 6. And if there's any question as to why we need to retake the House and retain control of the Senate, Tom Mann will discuss the book he co-authored with Norman Ornstein, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, Join WDC as we hear Mann's insights on the current state of the nation -- because we're all in it, for better (or for worse).
Monday, November 19
Luncheon with political commentator Mark Shields
Details to follow
After every doorbell has been rung, every phone number called, and every vote gotten out, you'll want to hear what the man whom The Washington Post has called "a walking almanac of American politics" will have to say about Election 2012's results. Mark your calendars now for this special debriefing by legendary PBS NewsHour and Inside Washington contributor Mark Shields.
UPCOMING EVENTS CO-SPONSORED BY WDC
Tuesday, October 2
District 16 Forum with Matt Verghese, Political and Communications Director of the Maryland State Democratic Party.
Bethesda Library, Arlington Road
Hear Matt's take on the elections and his predictions and what to expect on
Sunday, October 7
Women for John Delaney
Germantown Community Center
18905 Kingsview Drive, Germantown
Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
Join special guest Senator Barbara Mikulski and other Democratic activists as John enters the final stretch to win in his campaign for Congress. Tickets are $25 for guests; $100 for friends. Students, seniors and kids are free. For further information, contact Dorothy Allen at email@example.com or 301-500-8644.
Thursday, October 11
Democratic Club of Leisure World's Campaign Rally and Old-fashioned Ice Cream Social
Club House I Ballroom at Leisure World, Georgia Avenue and Rossmoor Boulevard, Silver Spring
6 - 8 p.m.
Join Democratic activists, elected officials and members of Woman's Democratic Club at this "Get Out the Vote in Words and Music" event!
Monday, October 15
Hispanic Heritage Gala & Awards Ceremony "Defending the DREAM"
Bethesda Marriott, 5151 Pooks Hill Road
7:00 reception; 8:00 program and dinner; 9:30 music and dancing
UPCOMING CAMPAIGN EVENTS
For information on events through October 4, click here, and look for the weekly e-mail on upcoming events.
We urge each of you to join an Obama team. Marriage equality and the DREAM Act (both of which have been endorsed by the Board) will also be on the ballot.
THE BOARD REPORT
The Board recently voted to contribute $500 to the campaigns of Senator Ben Cardin, Congressmen Chris Van Hollen and John Sarbanes and 6th Congressional District Democratic candidate John Delaney. We also were a $500 sponsor of the recent Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee reception to raise funds for the printing and mailing of the Democratic ballot.
The Maryland Secretary of State recently released the final language for the ballot questions in Maryland for the 2012 General Election. Please examine the ballot initiatives and share the language with family and friends. As Governor O'Malley has said, "This year, we have a unique opportunity to move our State forward toward a more just and equal society, while defending dignity, protecting religious freedom, and investing in our greatest assets: the talents, skill, ingenuity and creativity of our people." WDC has endorsed the DREAM Act and Marriage Equality legislation and urge a yes vote on ballot questions 4 and 6.
To read all the ballot questions, please click here. Below are the statewide ballot questions:
Question 1 - Constitutional Amendment - Qualifications for Prince George's County Orphans' Court Judges
Question 2 - Constitutional Amendment - Qualifications for Baltimore County Orphans' Court Judges
Question 3 - Constitutional Amendment - Suspension and Removal of Elected Officials
Question 4 - Referendum Petition - Public Institutions of Higher Education - Tuition Rates
Question 5 - Referendum Petition - Congressional Districting Plan
Question 6 - Referendum Petition - Civil Marriage Protection Act
Question 7 - Gaming Expansion Referendum - Gaming Expansion
EARLY VOTING: Early voting centers will be open starting Saturday, October 27 through Thursday, November 1 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Sunday, October 28 they will be open from 12 noo n to 6 p.m. The early voting locations are: Bauer Recreation Center, Executive Office Building, Germantown Recreation Center, Marilyn Praisner Recreation Center, and Silver Spring Civic Building.
VOTER REGISTRATION: The deadline for registering to vote is October 16. You may download a registration application at www.777vote.org. To find out if you are registered or to find your Election Day polling place, click on http://www.mdelections.org. You can now register to vote online. Visit https://voterservices.elections.state.md.us/OnlineVoterRegistration for more information!
SAVING OUR VOICES: A PRIMER ON VOTER SUPPRESSION
By Marian Kisch
Efforts at suppressing Americans' ability to register to vote and to cast a ballot were discussed at an educational forum sponsored by WDC and 15 other Democratic organizations on September 17.
State Senator Brian Frosh, who acted as moderator, called it a "crisis" that more citizens do not vote in this country. In Presidential elections, only 50-55 percent vote, while the numbers decrease to 35-37 percent in non-Presidential years. Frosh said that many don't vote because they are confused or find it difficult. New and proposed voter suppression laws add to that problem.
Speakers included Spencer Overton, George Washington Law School professor and author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, and Will Crossley, chief counsel and voter protection director of the Democratic National Committee.
Republicans say their proposals are in response to voter fraud, but the numbers do not show that. In Ohio, there was only one case of voter fraud out of 2 million voters.
"The purpose," Frosh said, "is to disenfranchise the poor, minorities and the elderly. We need to do all we can to use and protect the right to vote - not to stop people from voting."
Registration Suppression Techniques
- Requiring an original birth certificate as the only valid ID to register. Many people do not have this document and may have difficulty obtaining one. It also costs money. More than 20 million people do not have what is considered a valid ID. Democrats are not against requiring identification, only such a restrictive ID. An alternative to a birth certificate has been proposed. Voters can complete an affidavit stating where they live, etc., and can be prosecuted if they do not give accurate information. This passed in Idaho. Virginia used to accept this alternative, but no longer accepts it.
- Reducing hours that offices are open. In Texas, some offices are only open once a month. And some are 100 miles away from voters who need their services.
- Reducing the number of hours to fill in and return your registration form. In Florida, a bill was passed to reduce the window from 10 days to 48 hours. And if you happen to pick up your form on a Friday night, it is virtually impossible to make the 48-hour window since the offices are closed on Sunday.
- Persuading agencies not to promote easy registration. Registering to vote became easier after people could sign up at the Department of Motor Vehicles. State social service agencies are also supposed to ask clients if they wish to register to vote, but many do not, including those in Louisiana. Registration numbers go up tremendously when they do. In North Carolina, registration soared from 8,000 to 80,000 when clients were asked if they wanted to register.
- Kicking valid voters off the rolls. Republicans have tried to kick off Democrats from the voting rolls, especially in Florida and Colorado. This has been largely unsuccessful because almost all are citizens, contrary to what the Republicans claim.
- Preventing former felons from having voting rights for life. This is true in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia.
Voting Suppression Techniques
- Decreasing early voting hours. In 2008, more than half of African Americans voted early in Florida. Now, early voting in that state has decreased from 96 to 48 hours. And the Sunday before the election has been eliminated as a time to vote. This is especially important to minority communities. Latino voters in Florida, who make up 12 percent of the population, made up 22 percent of the Sunday voters in 2008. And many minorities went en masse to vote after church on Sunday.
- Intimidation. In some states, "challengers" can literally stand over a potential voter and challenge his/her credentials to vote. Some voters just walk away rather than deal with it.
- Unhelpful poll workers. In Ohio, poll workers used to routinely guide voters to their correct precinct tables in places like gymnasiums where there might be several precincts. If voters cast their vote in the wrong precinct, their vote does not count. But citizens in Ohio gathered 300,000 signatures to suspend that law.
- Robocalls. Calls are made to discourage Democrats from going to the polls. In Maryland, voters, especially minorities, were assured their votes were not needed and they could stay at home.
Crossley stated that this is the first time in recent history there is a concerted effort to make voting more difficult. Some 40 states have tried to pass legislation to this effect, 33 states on the ID issue alone. Fifteen states have already passed such legislation.
"We should not be erecting roadblocks to voting," Overton said. "We need to organize to prevent disenfranchising voters and push back restrictions."
Seven lawsuits are now pending in states, which include Florida, Wisconsin, Texas and Pennsylvania, to stop some of these voter suppression laws.
Common Cause has also put out a report, Bullying at the Ballot, which could be helpful.
POLITICAL BOOK CLUB:
The October 17 book selection is That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How we Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.
The December 19 selection is American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America by David O. Stewart.
The book club meets the third Wednesday of every other month, 10:30 a.m. at members' homes. A facilitator leads the discussion for each book. Want to join the conversation? New members are always welcome.
Contact Estelle Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're interested in seeing what other books have been discussed, please go to www.mcWSDC.org and click on Political Book Club.
IT'S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP
Annual dues-paying time has arrived. By now you should have received our renewal package for 2012-2013. Payments were due by September 1. We hope that each of you will return the form that was enclosed with the letter or go online at www.mcWSDC.org and click on "Renew Now."
Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WDC event? Or would you just like to get more involved with the overall work of the Club? If so, please send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit www.mcWSDC.org and click on "Volunteer" to complete the "It Takes a Village" volunteer form.
Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957