League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter December 2022 Volume 10 Issue 5

Co-Presidents' Letter

Dear Friends, 

Was it the polls or the prognosticators? The deafening noise of the far right? Perhaps it was the news about inflation, wars, and authoritarianism. Whatever reason, we expected the election results to be heartbreaking and we stewed over democracy’s tenacity. That lament was gloriously wrong. It was an historically successful election in rejecting election deniers and extremists. Turns out, voters will show up to defend democracy, or as one high-profile pundit unpardonably said, “turns out Americans can hold more than one thought at once.” 

A November poll by Impact Research found that in 71 of the most competitive House districts, concerns about threats to democracy motivated Democrats/independents to show up while helping independents decide to vote for Democrats. The issue also likely moved some Republican voters to cross over and cast ballots for Democratic candidates; 64% of Republicans who voted this way said their biggest concern was the former president’s belief that the election was stolen. Turns out, democracy is a non-partisan issue. 

Yes, the election was one battle in an ongoing war and more extremists were elected than we’d like, though not in any of the battleground Secretary of State races. Despite rumblings, only two counties in one state formally declared fraud, and each has given up those misbegotten claims. It was a victory of faith as a diverse majority of voters rejected election lies. Take a well-deserved moment to rejoice and recognize that because of your work, democracy lives to fight another day. Thank you!

It's an important lame duck session in Congress. In addition to funding the government and continuing support for Ukraine, the Electoral Count Act must pass. A bill pending in the Senate is a significant move in the right direction. It would confirm that the Vice President has no power to alter the electoral vote count. It would raise the threshold for how many House and Senate members are needed to object to a slate of electors — currently, it is just one person from each. It would ensure a judicial remedy if a state government unlawfully refused to certify election results. And it would prevent state governments from changing rules after an election. Yes, it is a busy session, but a quick call to Senators Durbin and Duckworth is in order. 

Locally, a shout-out and hat-tip to all our Leaguers who worked so hard on passing the Cook County Forest Preserve referendum. Passing a referendum requiring a property tax increase was a challenging task, yet you did it. It passed with over 60% of the vote, guaranteeing the continuing preservation of these natural resources. Thank you! 

In other local news, LWVOPRF has asked the Village of Oak Park to place a binding referendum on the April ballot to adopt Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for future elections of Village President, Clerk, and Trustees. In November, Evanston overwhelmingly voted to place a similar referendum on their municipal April ballot. RCV allows voters to rank candidates in order of their preference as first, second, and so forth so that the candidate with the most support wins even if they are not everyone’s top choice. Oak Park resident and already a proponent? Contact the Village Trustees to let them know of your support. Need more information? Join us December 14, from 6:30-8:30pm, as we sample and rank a flight of four beers at One Lake Brewing. Register below. 

Although it is known as the Carol of the Bells, it was originally a Ukrainian folk song titled Shchedryk. It tells the tale of a swallow visiting a farmer in the dead of winter to remind him of the wealth and hope of spring. We fervently wish and pray that the swallow once again visits Ukraine to comfort and inspire her during the season of peace. You can listen to it here

Wishing you light, joy, and love throughout this holiday month. 

Jane and Joan 

The Oak Park Village Board is meeting tonight, Monday, December 5. If you have the time today, you can still email the Oak Park Trustees and urge them to place the binding Ranked Choice Voting Referendum on the April 2023 Oak Park ballot. This is the last Board meeting for 2022, and we hope a decision will be made tonight on whether a RCV referendum will be placed on the ballot. Do you want to know more about RCV? Go here to get the facts. Don't know what to say in your email? Use this sample email letter as a start. You can attend the Monday, December 5 Board Meeting in person to speak in support of RCV during public comment. Can't attend in person? Email your comments by 5:00pm by using publiccomment@oak-park.us. Contact Peggy Kell with any questions.

Finally, there are still tickets available for the Rank Your Beer event on December 14. Go here to buy tickets.

Training Sessions

Mark your calendars now for some January training being offered by the LWV IL. On Saturday, January 14, there will be three trainings: Illinois Voter Guide at 9:30am, Candidate Forum at 10:00am, and Moderator Training at 11:00am. You can register to attend all or any of these opportunities here.

Property Tax Appeal Forum

The Oak Park Township will offer a Property Tax Appeal Forum this Tuesday, December 6, at 5:30pm, at Beye School, 230 S. Cuyler, Oak Park. There will be a 30-minute presentation followed by a Q & A session. At this event, you will be able to file a property tax appeal with the Cook County Board of Review. This is an in-person event, but you must register to attend. Go here to register for this forum.

Supreme Court Case

On Wednesday, December 7, the United States Supreme Court will look at the constitutional validity of the independent state legislature doctrine when it hears the case of Moore v. Harper. The League is closely watching this crucial election-related case, which will determine whether state legislatures have the power and authority to set their own rules for federal elections without any checks and balances from their state Supreme Courts. 

LWV US and League chapters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief in Moore v. Harper on October 26, 2022. LWV CEO Virginia Kase Solomón called the independent state legislature doctrine "a dangerous, fringe ideology" in a press release. "Removing the power of the governor and the courts to check any action by the state legislature regarding elections would be antithetical to our American system," commented LWVIL President Allyson Haut.

According to Courts Matter Illinois, “the independent state legislature doctrine could theoretically empower state legislatures to decide the outcomes of political races themselves, without regard to the popular vote. It could also empower state legislatures to decide election administration rules themselves, regardless of what other agencies or the federal government says.” Listen to this historic Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, December 7, starting at 9:00am (CST). Click on the link to "Oral Arguments." 

Rally locally!!!!!!On Wednesday, December 7th from 4:00 - 5:00pm, members of the public are invited to join the Leagues of Women Voters of Roselle-Bloomingdale, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, and Wheaton at the Wheaton Court House located at 505 County Farm Road in Wheaton as we rally to bring attention to the Moore v. Harper Supreme Court Case.

League Election Efforts

From voter registration to voter education to voter activation this election season—Illinois League members got the job done! Local Leagues broke records educating voters using the Illinois Voter Guide. The 2022 General Election Illinois Voter Guide covered 102 counties with 2,386 candidates (federal, state, county, judicial) and 335 candidate questionnaire responses. Local League candidate videos included 66 forum videos from 13 counties, 26 candidate statement videos, and 87 WTTW candidate videos. The Illinois Voter Guide had 121,000 unique visitors in 2022 (to date) for a total of 138,000 visits. There were 84,000 visits in the 40 days prior to election day! Visitors looked at 1.5 million races, 1.9 million individual candidate pages, 200,000 candidate issue stances, and 52,000 ballot measures. Outstanding efforts!

Deputy Registars

It is time to renew your commission as a deputy registrar! All commissions expired on November 30, 2022. Please complete the new Deputy Registrar oath and email it back to deputy.reg@cookcountyil.gov in order to be re-commissioned for another 2 years. You can also mail it back to the address at the bottom of the oath. Once the Cook County Clerk's Office receives the oath, they will mail you a new card (same DR number.) Would you like to watch a refresher video on how a deputy registrar should register voters? Go here.

LWV IL December Member Bulletin

LWV US December 1 Update

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