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Knox Voter
February VoterFebruary 2012
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LWVKKC Board of Directors 

Jamey Dobbs

1st Vice-president:
Rynn Dupes 

2nd Vice-president:
Barbara Nicodemus

Lisa Bogaty

Stephanie Matheny 


Mary English

Rikki Hall

Kelly Pemberton 
Casey Self
Tammy Sommers 
CALENDAR of Meetings and Events


February 14:

National League Birthday 

February 15-28:

Early Voting

February 16:

Priority Setting Meeting


March 6:

Presidential/County Primary 

March 8:

International Women's Day 

March 13-19:

Sunshine Week

March 24

Citizen's Academy Day 1

March 31

Citizen's Academy Day 2 


April 10-16:

National Volunteer Week 

April 14

Citizen's Academy Day 3

April 22:  

Earth Day 


May 15:

Annual Meeting 


June 4:

Happy Hour 

Join a League Committee!

Voter Services 

Contact Kelly Pemberton at


Communications Committee

Contact Casey Self at


Observer Corps

Contact Barbara Nicodemus at


Citizen's Academy

Contact Rynn Dupes at



Contact Lisa Mixon at


Land Use and Environment

Contact Rikki Hall at



Contact Tammy Sommers at


Voter Participation Study

Contact Kelly Pemberton at


Childcare Study

Contact Jamey Dobbs at   

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Tennessee Voter ID Laws = Voter Suppression
Voter rights are the bread and butter of the League, and at all levels we are ambitiously turning our attention to threats to this basic right.  At the national level, the League is speaking out against voter suppression laws passed in 2011 and 24 new ones proposed this year.  League President Elizabeth McNamara vividly laid out the threat in her testimony to Congress in November (see CSPAN link), using several examples from Tennessee: 
"They [Voter ID laws] are cloaked as an attempt to bring integrity to our elections systems yet many are now seeing them for what they really are: an assault on voters and one of the greatest self-inflicted threats to our democracy in our lifetimes.  The new laws threaten to silence the voices of those least heard and rarely listened to in this country - the poor, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, the young and persons with disabilities." 
Our League of Women Voters of Tennessee, is made up of members like you from every local League and they are doing their best to educate citizens and raise the alarm about the new Voter ID law. Tennessee's law, like others passed around the country was based on allegations of voter fraud. Last month, the Tennessee League asserted the opposite is true in an op-ed to all the state's major newspapers (link below):
"The League did not support the law because it does not address the stated purpose of voter fraud. According to our research, any recorded instances of intentional voter fraud in Tennessee have been the result of deficiencies or errors in other areas not resolved with this new law, and election administrators have done their job well by identifying those cases in the past.....We agree with Gov. Bill Haslam that requiring voters to have photo identification will make it "unnecessarily hard" for some people to cast ballots in this year's elections and share concern over state readiness and clarity in the law."
If you have any question about why we consider these new Voter ID laws to be voter suppression, I urge to you to watch Elizabeth's testimony and read more below.  If you don't have computer access, we will help you get the text.  If you would like to join the effort to educate Knox County voters about how to obtain a Photo ID, please get in touch with me at or call my number in the Yearbook.
LWV President Elizabeth McNamara's 9 minute CSPAN testimony:

LWVTN President Margie Parsley's Jan. 7 Knoxville News Sentinel op-ed:
---Jamey Dobbs, President

It's that Time of the Year Again:

Election Season


Voter GuideIn true League fashion, we will be producing another nonpartisan candidate guide for the upcoming election season. The County Primary Election is March 6th and Early Voting runs from February 15th - 28th. During this primary election cycle, Knox County voters will determine the contestants for these local positions: County Law Director, Property Assessor, Criminal Court Judge, Division 1, and Board of Education Districts 2, 3, 5, and 8.  Look for our guide on our website,, in the coming weeks. Additionally, if you have any questions about voter registration, your voting location, or whether or not you are registered, please contact the Knox County Election Commission at 215-2480. They also have a lot of information on their website, You can also email LWVKKC Voter Services Chair Kelly Pemberton at and she can help send you in the right direction.
---Kelly Pemberton, Voter Services Chair

Updates on the LWVKKC Citizen's Academy 


We would like to announce our Citizen's Academy will take place on March 24, March 31, and April 14. It will be an in-depth look at the workings of Knox County and a lesson in local advocacy. We are inviting anyone aspiring to make a difference in our local community to participate. Participants will have the chance to learn from and interact with former elected officials and successful local advocates.

Applicants should be active in the community in some way, either as part of an organization or on their own. If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating, please contact Rynn Dupes ( for an application.

---Rynn Dupes, 1st Vice-President

Priority Setting Meeting Set for Feb. 16


Please join us at Sequoyah Grille in Western Plaza (4429 Kingston Pike) on February 16th for our annual priority setting meeting.

Every spring, every local League asks its members to contribute ideas for study and action in the coming year.  Our "year" begins  July 1 and culminates at the Annual Meeting the next May.  It is the essence of League culture to gather and have a dialogue about issues our community is facing, and to suggest appropriate action.   


Members may suggest any issue that involves local concerns or local government.  The may also suggest issues that can be recommended to the state or national League for study and action.  Actions may involve a new study, advocacy with elected officials, letters to the editor, or group letter writing campaign among many other options.


So please join us on the 16th, but if you can't, we welcome your input by phone or email. Please contact League President Jamey Dobbs at or 865-548-1818.

Observer Corps: 2011 Year in Review


We are holding steady with 97 Observer Reports posted on our website for 2011. We have been able to maintain about the same number of observations as 2010 with fewer active observers down from around 18 to 13.  It is estimated that we are observing around 9 public meetings per month with an average of 8 reports posted per month. The Observer Corps Team was able to consistently observe key public meetings for City Council, County Commission, Metropolitan Planning Commission and Board of Education. Other meetings of high interest observed in 2011 were those regarding the Hillside Ridge Protection Plan, Redistricting and Election Commission.


Not only has it been a year of visibility and presence among our decision makers. It has been a year of action. Through the recommendations of our observers, the League has taken action on relevant issues related to local positions and programs. Yes, our voice is being heard in public forums, at City Council, County Commission and Metropolitan Planning Commission. Last year, we intently expressed our positions supporting the adoption of the Hillside Ridgetop Protection Plan and the aligning of County Commission and Board of Education districts during the redistricting process. WE ARE Making a Difference.


Of course, none of this success would happen without our Observers and logistics Volunteers. I appreciate each and everyone for their interest, contribution and dedication to making Observer Corps work. Thank you - Sue, Crista, Maggie, Elaine, Judy, Randy, Rachel, Steve, Kelly, Tammy, Stephanie, Rikki, Mary, Laura and Casey.


In August, I held an Observer appreciation cookout and meeting to discuss and assess our progress as well as to set goals for 2011/12. We have a continued goal of increasing the number of Observers. Ideally, we need twice as many Observers to adequately cover meetings of interest expressed by our members and the Board. We are actively looking for Observers to attend meetings for Board of Education, County Commission and Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals. Special interest Issues identified for priority observation in 2012 are City Sign Ordinance, Homelessness, Community Schools and Landuse including Ridge, Slope and Hillside Development. We can use additional Observers for all our public meetings but would be open to adding any public meeting of interest in which a member could regularly attend.


Check us out on the website at If you are interested in joining our team or would like to attend a meeting of interest with one of our Observers to see what it's all about just drop me a line at or give me a call at 865 686-1727.


---Barbara Nicodemus, Observer Corps Chair

Update: High School Voter

Registration Project     


I am pleased to say that our high school voter registration project is in full swing!  Last month, we trained 13 advanced high school students through the Youth Action Council at the Metropolitan Drug Commission.  These students have already begun registration drives at their respective schools and have registered over 40 new voters so far.  All 13 students are participating and have logged almost 50 hours of community service collectively.  The completed registrations have spanned over 8 different high schools in Knox County.  Additionally, we have received wonderful press coverage about this initiative.


Click here for the story on WBIR!


If you know of an accelerated and trustworthy high school student that may be interested in this project, please let us know!  We'll be more than happy to get them trained and provide all the necessary materials for voter registration drives.  This is a great way for kids to get community service hours while also helping their peers become active citizens.  The project is off to a great start, and we are looking forward to what the coming months bring.  If you have any questions or comments about this project, please contact Voter Services/Kelly Pemberton at 865-408-VOTE(8683) or


---Kelly Pemberton, Voter Services Chair

LWVTN Issue Committees


The League of Women Voters of Tennessee has identified nine issues to work on this legislative session. Each issue has a point person who is sending out updates to those who indicated they were interested on the LWVTN interest survey.
If you would like to receive updates, please email the appropriate point person.
Elections: Kathy Edwards and Lynn Williams (
Education: Debby Gould (
Open Government: Marian Ott and Pat Meadows (
Appropriations and Responsible Budget: Carole Westlake and Sita Diehl (
Health Care: Pat Post and Sue Bredensteiner (
Environment: Judy Raines (
Judicial Selection: Karen Stevenson and Diane Dilanni (contact Action Chair Barbara Devaney,
Immigration: Lynda Burman (
Revenue: Karen Weeks (

Observer Corps Alert: Co-Chair Needed

The resuscitation of the Observer Corps in 2009 has been deemed most successful by our Membership, Board, Public Officials and the Press. The Observer Corps has recorded the pulse of our decision makers with well over 200 public meeting reports to date posted on our website. It is at the heart of our League's mission to encourage informed and active participation in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influence public policy through education and advocacy. In order to assure its long term survival, the Observer Corps is in need of a Co-Chair to serve with Barbara Nicodemus, its present chair.


A Co-Chair would share the responsibilities listed in the OC manual under Job Description for the Observer Corps Chair which can be accessed on the League's website.  Of particular interest is a Co-Chair willing to help with recruitment of observers, observer orientation and support, maintain current observer list and activities, review observer reports and develop effective strategies for continued success.


If you are interested in joining our team as an Observer or Co-Chair please contact Barbara Nicodemus at or give me a call at 865-686-1727.
---Barbara Nicodemus, Observer Corps Chair
Contact Info
League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County
P.O. Box 31825
Knoxville, TN 37930-1825