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Newsletter - October 14, 2021

LWVIN  | Published on 10/14/2021



REDISTRICTING REFORM – THE TURNING POINT
On October 1, 2021, the Indiana Senate passed—and the House concurred on technical amendments—electoral district maps for the next decade, effective for the 2022 primaries.The Governor signed the legislation on Monday, October 4, 2021. The maps will maintain the legislative supermajority and produce little competition.

Adoption of these maps, despite the efforts of the All IN Coalition, the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission, other Fair Maps advocates, and super minority legislators, proceeded exactly on schedule as announced by the supermajority leadership. Little time was provided for the public to review and respond to proposed maps; alternative maps that would have provided more competition, drawn by mapmakers in the ICRC competition, were proposed as amendments but defeated on party lines.

Some members working on this redistricting reform campaign have been advocating for fair maps through two redistricting cycles, with disappointing results each time.

But bright spots provide momentum as public awareness has grown
• the legislative study committee from which emerged a 2016 bill that would have established a citizens redistricting commission and created transparent redistricting procedures;
• the formation and continuing expansion of our All IN for Democracy Coalition for Redistricting Reform;
• the establishment of the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) to model the process our legislature should have put in place;
• the ICRC public mapping competition that produced non-partisan maps put forward as amendments to the partisan maps our legislature adopted on party lines.
• we have, with public pressure, slightly changed the behavior of the legislature and garnered some Republican support for a citizens redistricting commission.

Increased public awareness about redistricting and its impact on fair representation is key to our movement forward. We can’t lose this momentum. We must engage on the local, state, and national level.

Local: redistricting must now be done at the county and city level. Check with your league’s redistricting committee member for guidance.
State: watch for updates onpotential legislation
National: respond to Voter Services action alerts to support S2747, which includes a redistricting commission for federal elections

Special thanks 
to our Redistricting Champions Paulette Vandegriff (at this for two cycles!) and Vickie Dacey who have kept us up to date with LWVUS efforts as well as providing effective leadership at home. Thanks to Meg Connolly who has reported our People Powered Fair Maps (PPFM) grant data to LWVUS. Thanks to the LWVIN Redistricting Reform Committee for collaborating, advocating, and engaging local advocates. And thanks to all of you who sent postcards, emails, and letters; called legislators; offered testimony to the ICRC and/or the legislature; and engaged neighbors in the effort.

Linda Hanson, LWVIN Co-President, Redistricting Reform Committee Chair


LWVUS Voting Rights & Pro-Democracy Grant awarded to LWVIN


Total Grant Amount: $6,000 to be used through February 2022

General Principles: This grant is to assist IN and local leagues with promoting democracy reform through federal legislation action and public engagement. LWVIN will use this project to increase the League’s capacity to build and sustain effective social movements; build state capacity to advance the League’s policy goals including voter protection, democracy, and election reform; and build programs that incorporate transformational elements including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative goals that support long-term sustainability and further the campaign for Making Democracy Work. LWV will enhance data tracking across all levels of the organization to amplify our story of impact.

Have you wanted to take action, but can’t afford the specific action? Have you taken an action that produced good results and other leagues could also take? The Voter Service Coordinating Committee (VSCC) is responsible for processing required LWVUS monthly reports and the utilization of grant monies to support our promoting democracy work. We will provide a monthly activity and engagement report to LWVUS based on information the local leagues have provided via an online survey. This information will also be shared with all local leagues.

The VSCC is also encouraging all local leagues to share information and material templates regarding how they are promoting democracy. In this way we will all learn of methods and opportunities available to us in our promotion of democracy within Indiana or Federally.

Some of the September examples of ideas shared were these:

Lynda Krueger - Porter County
LWV of Porter County will be at the Valparaiso Farmers Market and will be in Chesterton at European Market.

Shari Frank - Brown County
Help our local BC Library set up information about registering to vote that will be a self-serve for library patrons. Include voter registration information with redistricting info at our table at the Nashville Farmers market. Signed up for National Voters Registration Day info and listed the 9/19 event

Rachel Loveman - Indy
Indy is asking educators in Marion County to register youth voters on NVRD, online or via paper form. The instructions and FAQ handouts will be ready prior to contacting schools the week of September 6th. Also, we will collect pledge cards and contact students via text message in 2022prior to elections and will feature participating educators in an Educator Spotlight Series on social media leading up to NVRD. We can share materials with other chapters

Lisa A. Plencner- South Bend Area
The LWVSBA is partnering with St. Mary's College on NVRD for an on campus Voter Registration event. We signed up as a partner with National Voter Registration Day and received our materials to assist the activity.

Please contact me, or your local league, if you have questions and want to become involved in the voting rights activities. Thank you for your support!

Patrice Waidner
LWVIN Board Director, Voter Services Coordinating Committee Co-Chair
voterservicelwvin@gmail.com


OCTOBER 2 WOMEN'S MARCHES/RALLIES

On October 2 people rallied and marched for Women's reproductive choice (including abortion access) in many cities across Indiana including Bloomington, Columbus, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Greencastle, Hobart, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Noblesville, Valparaiso, and West Lafayette.

Here are some comments received from Indiana local Leagues:

Fort Wayne: Good crowd. No media coverage, they did talk about the DC March on TV. Registered one person to vote & distributed info to lots of folks who didn’t know about LWV. Signed several up for the newsletter 😊
Betsy Kachmar

Indianapolis: 
The Women’s March drew out hundreds to rally for abortion rights in Indianapolis on October 2nd. The rally was held at the Richard G. Lugar Plaza, where participants came with signs, umbrellas, and excitement despite the rain. There were some news staff there to report on the event, and several speakers. There is a sense of determination among pro-choice Hoosiers to prevent further abortion restrictions and nightmare legislation like that recently passed in Texas. There was a small group of counter protesters as well, but the overall gathering was very supportive. 
Sabrina Glidden, Muncie-Delaware County League

Porter County (Valpo): I attended the Porter County Women's March and Rally with my mother Saundra. The turnout was very large and pretty diverse for the area. There were several vendor tables selling merchandise related to supporting women's rights as well as a photobooth to commemorate the event. There were about six speakers at the rally discussing topics ranging from reasons why some women chose to get an abortion, to a local Lutheran church minister offering support of choice and ending with a former state senator discussing the reasons for her departure from the state house. Everyone's testimony was very personal and powerfully connected with the crowd the idea of not only does women's rights need protecting but we also need more women in public office.
Chevroen Washington, new member of the Calumet League

Southwestern
Our rally was at the Four Freedoms Monument in Evansville. There were over 100 of us there -- and lots of good speakers. We had a couple of counter-protestors with huge sturdy signs of aborted embryos/fetuses, but many of us had brought umbrellas (which we didn't need except for a few minutes) so we blocked the counter-protestor signs with umbrellas and our own posters. Counter-protestors also drove by and honked loudly. Our local newspaper never reported on it, although a couple of local news stations mentioned it briefly before the event and one station included it in their Saturday pm coverage.
Pam Locker

Above are some of the many photos submitted by various League members. Look for more photos to be posted on the LWVIN website and Facebook page shortly.

Also be sure to checkout Teresa Basey's slideshow of the Indianapolis March on the Muncie Delaware County website at https://lwvmunciedelaware.org/

NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY COMMENTS

Calumet area We registered 46 students at the IU Northwest campus.
Barb Schilling

LaPorte County We were proud to join NAACP Unit 3061 and Michigan City House of Hope National Able Staff for a day of voter registration at local markets and the Purdue NW campus. 16 of us volunteered and registered dozens of voters. Amy Black also shared a PowerPoint presentation on the power of voting with Dr. Gail Augustine's enthusiastic and engaged Institutional Social Welfare class at Purdue NW.
Amy Black


Southwestern We registered voters at two locations -- Patchwork Central and outside of the NAACP headquarters. Two local TV channels had learned of it via the local newspaper and came by to interview us, and there was a report on Channel 14 News at 6 pm that day.
Donna Marvel

ITEMS OF NOTE FROM THE STATE LEAGUE

LWVIN and Indiana Vote by Mail will be co-sponsoring a booth at the Indiana Library Federation 2021 Annual Conference, Nov. 15-17 at the Marriott East - Indianapolis. Since many of our Local Leagues partner with local libraries, this will be an excellent opportunity to get information to them about our current work and to establish additional connections for collaboration. The opportunity to help staff the booth will be coming from Voter Services. Look for it!

You are invited All members of local Indiana leagues are welcome to attend state board meetings. The League of Women Voters of Indiana is all of us--together we are strong. Meetings are by zoom the second Saturday of each month, 10:30-noon Eastern. Contact lhanson43@gmail.com for the link if you are interested.

Linda Hanson,LWVIN co-President


Treasurer's Report

Per Member Payments(abbreviated as PMPis a term used frequently in the League. It is the monetary payment from locals the State and National Leagues and breaks down to $16 per member to Indiana and $32 per member to National. Each local League decides their own dues.

Related to this is that the State League is now funding all expenses for local Leagues to participate in and use VOTE411. This is very exciting as it was a barrier in the past for some leagues. All local Leagues will have that access for next year as of January 1, 2022.


Workshop News!
Both the slide show pdf and the Power Point format of our LWV liaison Melissa Currence's presentation on"Partnership/Non-Partisanship"are available from Barb Schilling for local Leagues to present in their own communities/areas.

The next workshop coming up is the Advocacy Roundtable (a brainstorming session for state advocates only) on October 26.

Karen Martoglio, LWVIN Secretary

FOCUS ON THE KNOX COUNTY LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS

The Knox County League of Women Voters will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022. The League has continually worked to educate voters and encourage residents to take part in our democracy.

Programs sponsored by the Knox County Leaguehave included these:

“Not with My Life” annual contest, where students submit posters, public service announcements and videos promoting drug, alcohol and smoking awareness. The winning entries are used in a local campaign to educate students and the public on these issues.

• The League helps sponsor the“Meet Your Legislators”program that is broadcast on WVUT (Vincennes University’s PBS station) each year. Our State Representatives and State Senators meet to answer questions and give updates on the current legislative session.

“Human Trafficking 101” program open to students and the public in two different sessions. It provided much information on the problems of human trafficking and what can be done about it. A display was also set up in the entry of the Knox County Public Library on this issue.

• We are currently planning some community conversations to study the mental health and wellness needs of our community.

An “Election 101” program will be held in January to discuss what it takes to run for city or county elected offices and how we can be inclusive and diverse in those who are seeking to run for office.

Our LWV celebrated the100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote by co-sponsoring a suffragette re-enactor who portrayed some of the history of how women in Indiana won the right to vote. We also secured, along with the Indiana State Historic Sites, a travelling exhibit from the Indiana Historical Society that was displayed in the Knox county Public Library. This gave visitors a look at the years of work and the process it took to accomplish this important task.

Lori Graham, President, Knox County League


 

On August 26, 2021, in Peru, Indiana, a statue was unveiled honoring Marie Stuart Edwards. Mrs. Edwards was a major leader in the suffrage movement in Indiana and would become the National League's first treasurer and vice president. In attendance was Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana State Rep. Chris Campbell, and LWVGL's Executive for Business Barbara Clark.

MARIE STUART EDWARDS: SUFFRAGIST AND SOCIAL REFORMER

The most recognized of early Hoosier suffragists today are probably May Wright Sewall and Ida Husted Harper. Marie Stuart Edwards of Peru, Ind. was among the next generation of activists to take up the cause. In many ways, Edwards was typical of women’s suffragists from Indiana. Born on Sept. 11, 1880, she was one of two children in an upper middle-class family from Lafayette, IN. Edwards received a first-class education, having graduated from Smith College in 1901, and had a supportive husband, Richard E. Edwards, whom she married in 1904.

Over six feet in height with brown hair and eyes, Edwards was described as “a woman of brilliant, buoyant personality” in the Carroll County Citizen-Times. Edwards oversaw designing and decorating for her husband’s business, the Peru Chair Company, while raising her only child, Richard Arthur, and taking an interest in social reform. Edwards belonged to various women’s clubs and wanted the right to vote so she might effect social change. Like many Hoosier suffragists, Edwards lent her support to the mainstream suffrage movement, carefully keeping away from the more radical factions, such as Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party.

In 1917, Edwards was elected president of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana, an organization associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). That same year, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Maston-McKinley Partial Suffrage Act, granting Hoosier women the right to vote in municipal, school and special elections. Between 30,000 and 40,000 women registered to vote in Indianapolis alone within a few months. However, Indiana suffragists soon suffered a bitter disappointment. On October 26, 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional.

The court’s decision shocked Edwards, but she declared that Indiana women would continue to fight for equal enfranchisement. Although the women of the state seemed shaken by the setback, they soon recovered, gaining confidence as momentum for a national suffrage amendment mounted.

While managing her husband’s chair factory during his war service, Edwards also served as the Franchise League’s president until 1919, when she became more heavily involved with NAWSA working for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as it was then called, was ratified on August 18, 1920.

In February of 1920, months before the amendment’s passage, Edwards helped found the League of Women Voters, in preparation for helping women exercise their new rights as voting citizens. Approximately 2 million women joined the League by 1921. Edwards served as the first treasurer of the National League of Women Voters, then as the organization’s first vice president until 1923. As part of her duties as treasurer and manager of the League national speakers bureau, she traveled widely across the United States.

In Indiana, Edwards remained heavily invested in civic responsibility. She was the first woman to sit on the Peru Board of Education and in 1922, Governor Warren T. McCray appointed her to the Indiana State Board of Education. Later, Edwards led the local Works Progress Administration board in Miami County during the Great Depression. In 1937, she served as vice president of the Indiana Board of Public Welfare, as well as chairman of the drafting committee for the Indiana Civil Service bill. Edwards was also amember of Miami County Board of Public Welfare (late 1940s-1955) and served on state women’s prison parole board during the 1950s. She died in Peru, Indiana on November 17, 1970.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf.

This is a monthly feature. Sue Webster of the Porter County League is coordinating this column on suffragists throughout the state.