The League is a nonpartisan organization that conducts public forums on a wide array of issues of concern to the Arlington community. We also do policy advocacy on positions established through internal study and democratic consensus. We do not take positions on candidates or political parties.
On June 4, 2015, the Arlington and Falls Church Leagues, together with the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy Public Policy, sponsored a public forum to educate the community about the issues in the Commonwealth.
The video is here.
Speakers were Brian Cannon, OneVirginia2021; and Sara Fitzgerald, Redistricting Task Force, League of Women Voters of the US. Thanks to George Mason University for hosting the event.
Our top priority for this session is increasing access to voting for Virginia's citizens.
This is our top priority because all the other issues we care about -- from expanding health care, to reducing gun violence to halting global climate change + start with citizens' exercising their franchise and electing lawmakers who will champion these causes.
We are grateful, as always, for the members of our delegation who not only support voter access measures but also frequently patron them in the General Assembly.
We know that the politics of voter protection are challenging, particularly in a presidential election year. But we also know that recent voter suppression methods have made lots of people mad, and we are starting to see a most welcome counter-mobilization.
We hope that Virginia can join this movement. We are doing everything we can on the ground, and we are counting on you to do your part in the General Assembly.
This year, we are particularly excited about several bills:
HB 68 and HB 32, patroned by Mr. Sullivan, would create a true early voting system in Virginia and allow students with out-of-state college ID's to use those at the voting booth. We thank you, Mr. Sullivan, for these bills + you will have our fullest support.
Needless to day, we oppose applying the state's unnecessary Photo ID law to absentee ballot applications or electronic poll books.
And we oppose proof of citizenship for voter registration + again because such a requirement would only burden U.S. citizens who are already eligible to vote.
The League applauds the efforts by our two most recent Governors to restore the civic rights of felons, including voting rights. These individuals have paid their debt to society. And research shows that fully incorporating them as citizens will be good for them and good for society.
We would support legislation to automatically restore felon rights + HB 107 is one example. We would also obviously support a constitutional amendment to accomplish the same.
Non partisan redistricting is another issue that the League cares deeply about. As a founding member of One Virginia2021, we support two bills + HB 26, patroned by Delegate Sullivan, and SB 59, patroned by Senator Howell + to reduce the role of partisan politics in the process.
Throughout 2015, the Gallup organization regularly asked Americans what the most important problem was facing the US. Looking across the year, the most commonly cited top problem wasn't immigration, terrorism, or even the economy. No, the problem, on average, garnered the highest level of concern was government and politicians.
There is a crisis of confidence in government and politics. This crisis is especially acute among young people, whose talents we need to fill the 520,000 elective offices in the United States.
The crisis of confidence in politics is driven partly by the outsized influence of money and partly by the bitter partisanship gripping Washington and some might say Richmond.
We believe that efforts to empower citizens, particularly those who have tuned out, is one approach to the problem.
Empowering citizens means both reducing barriers to participation AND altering the perception (and reality) that the system is rigged against everyday people.