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Voter's Digest, May 2019

"In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm... in the real world, all rests on perseverance."
                - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/perseverance
In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm... in the real world all rests on perseverance. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/perseverance
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Dear Members and Friends,

From all reports, this year’s Legislative Session was one of the most grueling in recent history. Lawmakers in Tallahassee ignored the will of approximately 65 percent of Florida voters in passing Constitutional Amendment 4 by enacting provisions that will continue to disenfranchise millions of voters in the state. They also continued the systematic attack on public education by providing vouchers to private schools with taxpayer money and arming school teachers in the state.

These may be depressing updates. However, we should see them as a call to increased engagement in the work of defending democracy. Now more than ever, your support of the League of Women Voters is of upmost importance. You can help defend democracy by joining the League, donating whatever time you can spare to one of our voter education and empowerment activities, and supporting our work with donations through our website, www.lwvmiamidade.org. It is only through your involvement that we can support education, advocacy, and protection of voting rights!

In League,

 



WOMEN WHO SHINE
LWVMD’s 2019 Women Who Shine Awards on March 23 was well attended by more than 200 guests, increasing the reach and visibility of our work. President Marisol Zenteno spoke about the importance of staying engaged in our community and supporting the League and the work that we do. The event was highlighted on WPLG Channel 10.

TALLAHASSEE LOBBY DAYS   
LWVMD was well represented during LWV Florida's Lobby Days in Tallahassee this year. Board members Krystina Francois, Rachel Federgreen, Cindy Lamel, Lourdes Diaz, Geena Batista, and president Marisol Zenteno attended the session in Tallahassee in April.  They met with Representatives Vance Aloupis, Nick Duran, Dotie Joseph, Javier Fernandez, Ana Maria Rodriguez, and Holy Raschiem.  Our chapter was recognized by the Dade Delegation in the chamber.

ELECTION REFORM UPDATE
In the recent Florida Legislative Session, the League initially supported SB 7066, which included provisions requiring the Secretary of State to provide signature-matching training to certain persons; revising the voter threshold necessary to require the reporting of certain precinct-level results by ballot; authorizing certain individuals to serve as witnesses during the ballot duplication process; and revising requirements for vote-by-mail ballot instructions. The bill allows vote-by-mail ballots to be dropped off at Early Voting sites rather than sent by mail.
 
In the 11th hour, language was added to SB 7066 related to Amendment 4. The League did not support this change, which requires returning citizens affected by Amendment 4 to pay all court fees, fines, and restitution before voting. However, SB 7066 passed. In partnership with several organizations, LWV Florida denounced the state Legislature’s demonstrated disregard for the voices of the people of Florida and called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to exercise his veto authority on several bills, including SB 7066.

GET CERTIFIED TO HELP REGISTER VOTERS!
LWVMD organizes or appears at a variety of events at which new voters can be registered. It's a great way to volunteer! Please note that all individuals wishing to do voter registration with the League must be re-certified, even if you have been certified in the past. You can review an educational presentation here and take the quiz here. If you need a password, please email Rachel.Federgreen@gmail.com. Please send results to volunteerslwvmd@gmail.com.

MOBILIZING FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
LWVMD has been busy promoting municipal elections throughout Miami-Dade County. April and May saw elections in Coral Gables, Miami Springs, North Miami, Pinecrest, and other municipalities. Our activities include candidate forums, voter registration efforts, Vote 411, and Pledge to Vote reminders. Visit our website for a municipal election calendar and more information on LWVMD voter services.

SPEAKING OUT, TURNING UP
Rotary Club
President Marisol Zenteno was invited to speak at the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove on May 8. The lunch meeting was well attended by club members, who learned about the League of Women Voters and the need for civic engagement in the community.


United Teachers of Dade
The League partnered with the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) for a panel discussion about The Trickle-Down Effects of Defunding Public Education in Miami Gardens. Panelists were District 8 Commissioner Daniela Levine Cava, Miami-Dade Branch of NAACP President Ruban Roberts, Past President of the Florida PTA Eileen Seigel, Miami-Dade Parents of Murdered Kids President Tangela Sears, and LWVMD President Marisol Zenteno. The League also participated in the UTD’s rally at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.

10 Days of Connection
Advocacy Chair Krystina Francois and President Marisol Zenteno cohosted You Can Sit With Us: 10 Days of Connection with Las Comadres at the Soul Tavern in Miami Beach. The lively event was attended by over forty people from different sectors of the community. The event was a breath of fresh air and camaraderie among people from differing political viewpoints.

ACLU 100
The League of Women Voters Miami-Dade was invited to participate in the ACLU 100 National Tour celebration at Collins Park in Miami Beach on Saturday, May 11. We had a voter registration table and President Marisol Zenteno spoke regarding the protection of voting rights. We thank our volunteers for their great efforts at this high-energy event! 











Protecting Our Water and Waterways

Board member Barbara Pierce represented the League at the May 1, public meeting held by the Nuclear Resource Commission, speaking out about the environmental threats posed by Florida Power & Light’s petition to have its permit to operate Turkey Point with outdated cooling canal technology, which is demonstrably harming the Biscayne Bay ecosystem, renewed for 30 more years.

LWVMD Environmental Chair Diane Lockwood attended the Florida Department of Environmental Protection / FP&L information session on May 7. FP&L is seeking an exemption from the Clean Water Act from DEP. LWVMD is tracking the issues surrounding FP&L’s requests and we are hopeful that Governor DeSantis, who has said he favors protecting Florida’s natural environment, will veto laws that allow continued environmental degradation.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
At the Second Annual Blue Forum with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, we spoke about "Black Girls: Pushed Out, Over-Policed and Under-Protected" and what can we do in our community to prevent the school to prison pipeline.
 
Univision Showcases LWVMD Voting Efforts
LWVMD President Marisol Zenteno appeared on Univision Ch. 23 with Sandra Peebles speaking about how to register to vote and the importance of voting.  The program was televised nationwide.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday, May 18, 10:30 a.m.
2019 Legislative Debrief: What Happened in Tallahassee?
Location: CIC,1951 N.W. 7th Avenue, Miami
Our elected representatives will provide updates and insights on bills that passed and those that did not. RSVP to the free event here. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 7 - Saturday, June 8
LWV Florida 37th Biennial Convention 
Location: Ritz-Carlton Resort, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road Naples, FL, 34108
Two days of action, inspiration, AND relaxation! Click here for more information.

Saturday, June 29, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
LWVMD 2019 Annual Meeting
Location: Colonnade Hotel, Coral Gables, FL
Join us for our gala annual luncheon, at which we update members on achievements and future plans and induct the new LWVMD board members. Save the date -- Registration info coming soon!