The Alabama Voter
Summer 2010 Edition
Published July 19, 2010
by Charlotte Ward, LWVAL Co-President
I attended my first LWVUS convention as a new local league president in 1962, in Pittsburgh. It was wonderful! I got to participate in an unexpected way. The caucus that was urging a reluctant National Board to step up to the civil rights question needed a spokesperson with a southern accent, and I gladly provided it. The result was the adoption of our “Human Resources” study that allowed us to speak out for keeping schools open and the desegregation of public facilities, among other important things.
This National Board was also somewhat reluctant to jump into a current fight, for preserving government functions and property from privatization. The recommended item, a study of the role of the federal government in education, is important, because the National League has never had a position on education. (I got a chuckle out of this, too – as a high school senior in 1945 I once drew the topic of federal aid to education out of the hat in an extemporaneous speaking competition!) But the League has tackled two studies at once many times before. Cost was a serious consideration, but someone figured that if everyone who voted to adopt the privatization study chipped in $30, we’d have the needed $10,000 for the first year’s study. They had collected $3000 by Tuesday morning. Like many others, I didn’t have my checkbook, but the check is going to be in the mail.
Resolutions are another avenue of expressing the League’s positions on issues of importance. They must, of course, be in line with League positions, but they can be used to emphasize aspects that are especially timely. See our run-down of all the resolutions adopted elsewhere in the VOTER.
National conventions require stamina. Friday’s sessions went from 1:00 to 10:00 PM (we did go out for supper). Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, caucuses, plenary sessions, networking opportunities, and workshops were scheduled from 7:30 AM to about 10:00 PM. Convention ended with Tuesday’s plenary session, 8:30 until noon, in which final budgets and board nominations are adopted. Rarely is a decision taken by a routine vote. There are pros and cons to be argued, points of order, voice, standing, and, if it’s too close to call, card votes: you turn in a green card for “yes” and a red card for “no.” These take a while to count.
Highlights of the plenary sessions and banquet were the speakers, about which more in this VOTER, and the roll call of states. Each state president has one minute to report/brag, and we heard a total of 45 minutes of remarkable achievements. Six states were not represented, mostly because of costs. Nearly every state and local league is running on a very tight budget.
I think we all came home “on a high” about possibilities – and about what we, a small state league, are already doing. I hope you will all join you conventioneers in making those possibilities realities.