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Presidential Update March 2021

Ellen Miller | Published on 3/2/2021

LWVJoCo:  Three Years Later

It’s hard to remember May 2018, almost a lifetime ago. The voter registration deadline for the August primary was only 10 weeks off. Hotly contested mid-term congressional races loomed. Voter registration and candidate forums had to get started ASAP. The board and committee chairs got the crunch job done, but it was clear changes were needed. 

Since then, the board, committee chairs and members have worked together to:
  • Change the annual meeting to March, gaining two months to help voters prior to the August primary election.

  • Change the fiscal year to support a March annual meeting, from July through June to April through March. 

  • Select annual legislative and administrative priorities to implement the 2016-2020 strategic plan.

  • Apply for IRS 501(c)(3), tax-deductible status in August 2020. That status is required for serious consideration by foundations, and it attracts donors. It could take as long as 18 months to get a decision.

  • Save time by utilizing online tools like SignUpGenius and Club Express' volunteer module to schedule volunteers for voter registration, naturalization ceremonies, candidate forums and legislative coffees.

  • Adopt the cloud-based membership management system, Club Express. We use it for the website and e-blasts. Its firewalls protect member profiles and renewals. Only members can access the member directory. LWVUS and over 20 other state/local leagues use it.

  • Launch the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative urged by LWVUS. DEI is co-equal with nonpartisanship for all Leagues. Currently a planning team is designing ways to imbed DEI in our League.

  • Streamline the board’s organization, including updating the Leaders Manual (previously the Board Manual).

  • Raise individual dues to $70 ($10 increase) and household dues to $105 ($15 increase) to assure financial stability. 

  • Expand partnerships with other groups that protect voting rights, such as Mainstream Coalition, Johnson County Latina Leadership Network, NAACP, Dotte Votes and Johnson County Community College. 

In 2020 COVID hit. Leadership had to quickly pivot from our “in person” model to virtual methods. Zoom software became our best friend! We use it for everything from committee meetings to monthly, Saturday programs on policy issues. Will virtual meetings cease after the pandemic? Not likely, as they draw large audiences; for example on Feb. 6, 2021, 196 people joined our redistricting panel discussion.

Thanks so much for selecting me as president in 2018. When elected, I warned that I was “a porcupine on a skateboard”  on the move! Being a top leader for the past three years has been an honor  and exhausting. The proposed officers and board, under current co-president Amber Stenger’s leadership, is outstanding. They are the right team to take the JoCo baton forward.

Ellen Miller