© 1999 - 2004 League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham and
League of Women Voters of the United States

The Voter

August 2004

A Publication of the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham.
Re-formatted here for web publication with index and links added. Web Editor's navigational notes added in [bracketed italics].


Print the index

President's Message

We're entering a busy and interesting time for both the community and the League. Presidential election season is our best hope for involving citizens in the elective process. If folks are ever going to think and then act, it is now. The League is assisting in voter registration, forums and other activities as much as our volunteer force can mamage.

Voter Services needs more volunteers. Commit to a two or three-hour shift to register voters and you will do much to get out the vote this fall. Volunteer by calling me at 967-2829 or Ginnie Randolph at 699-5582.

The League conducted a successful mayoral forum in Hoover. It only happened because many League members were there both before and after the event. Thanks to everyone involved, especially Ginnie Randolph, Connie Lees and Eva Click.

Mark your calendar to attend our annual "Membership Development Meeting" on September 23rd at Region 20/20. Members are encouraged to bring others to see what the League is all about. The meeting will focus on an extremely relevant topic, the Help Amercia Voter Act (HAVA). Find furthur details on this and other League activities on our website

Sarah McDonald

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Hoover Mayoral Forum
Photos copyrighted by Dennis Lathem Hoover, Alabama
Sarah McDonald, LWVGB President Hoover Mayoral Candidates
Approximately 450 to 500 Hoover citizens attended the Mayoral Forum presented by the LWVGB on August 12 at Hoover High School. Five of the six candidates for Hoover Mayor participated. The missing candidate, Stephen Bryant, has not participated in most other campaign forums.

Sarah McDonald introduced Council candidates who attended. The Mayoral candidates, Barbara McCollum, Bob Lochamy, Walter Mims, Jody Patterson and Tony Petelos presented an opening statement, took questions from the audience and provided lively responses. A number of Hoover citizens expressed appreciation to the League for presenting a professional forum that provided an opportunity for the public to hear positions of each candidate. The citizen participation and later broadcast of the forum on local television provided high visibility of the LWVGB in action.

Thanks go to Gene Godwin, Ron Swan, Jeff Lloyd, Sandra Taylor, Greg Patterson and Neal Bailey at the High School for working with LWVGB members in planning and running the forum. Hoover Ambassadors, a group of seniors who provide assistance at school events, provided seating guidance, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and brought microphones to citizens with questions. Students in Mr. Lloyd’s broadcast class taped the event for later broadcast on WOTM. League members who participated in planning and presenting the event included Sarah McDonald, Virginia Randolph, Connie Lees, Eva Click, Leonette Slay, Judith Hand, and Diane Holmes.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Postal Service Works to Expedite Military Absentee Ballots
(This information was obtained from an article by Jon Runyan in ARNEWS, 7-13-04.)

The U.S. Postal Service has designed a new labeling system to expedite delivery of absentee ballots to military personnel deployed around the world.

USPS employees will contact 3,000 county election officials throughout the U.S. to coordinate mailing of absentee ballots. When local ballots are printed local post offices will send them via overnight Express Mail to the three military gateway cities, San Francisco, Miami and New York. There the ballots will be sorted by destination and placed in specially marked containers for delivery. The Military Postal System will give the ballots priority handling for delivery overseas. For their return trip, the MPS will ensure that completed ballots receive a legible postmark and are placed in special containers for priority delivery to U.S. county election officials.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

ACCR Petition Drive

Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform plans to circulate a petition this fall to urge legislators to approve an amendment to allow a Constitutional Convention. The LWVAL Board has agreed to participate in the petition campaign. Watch for further information on the statewide kickoff.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

"Vote 2004"

Voter Services Activity Plan
The Voter Services Committee met on July 29 to work on the implementation plan for 2004-2005 activities. Members present included Amy Allon, Judith Hand, Cary Page, Sarah McDonald, Virginia Randolph and Kate Long.

Plans for college students will depend on information collected from colleges and the county registrars.

Members participating in voter registration and the Mayoral Forum during August included Sarah McDonald, Gayle England, Collette Scott, Cary Page, Dianne Holmes, Connie Lees, Eva Click, Virginia Randolph, Beverly Nelson and Kimberly Pride.

Voter Registration – Adults

  • 8/3/04 - Cahaba Heights Vestavia citizens meeting
  • 8/5/04 – Somerby at University Park Senior Citizens
  • 8/12/04 – Hoover Mayoral Forum
  • 8/14/04 – AARP and Civil Rights Leadership meeting
  • 9/12, 9/16/04 – Birmingham Pledge
  • 9/13-15/04 - LWVGB-MAX vote to register bus riders
Voter Registration – Eligible high school and college students
  • 8/24 – Clay Chalkville High School
  • 9/13 – Birmingham Pledge Teen Conference
Public Awareness Issues
  • Elementary school activities
  • In-depth media article
  • 8/12 – Hoover Mayoral Forum
  • 9/24 - HAVA Program for League
Fingertips Update

Help with Local Elections!
Volunteer to work the polls on Election Day. Call your County Probate Judge or political party office. Tell them where you vote and volunteer to work the polls.
  • Jefferson County Probate Judge: 325-5420
  • Shelby County Registrar: 669-3713
  • Democratic Party: 226-1265
  • Republican Party: 222-7664
Absentee Ballots
Absentee ballots are scheduled to be available September 15 at the Circuit Court.

Voter Registration Deadline
October 22 is the last day to register to vote in the November 2 election.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

LWVGB Website Enhancement

The LWVGB website has been enhanced to include a link to our “For Members” page. This link, found on the left-hand navigational bar of the Welcome page (under Inside League), requires the username/password combination provided in the April/May 2004 “Call to Annual Meeting” edition of The VOTER.

The “For Members” page of the LWVGB website has been updated to include current versions of our Bylaws, Budget, Program and Non-Partisan Policy Statement. If you have suggestions for additional information to be posted here or if you need login assistance, please contact Yvonne Brakefield at ybrakefield@mindspring.com

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Time to Renew Your Membership!

September is membership renewal month. Dues are $40 individual, $20 student, $60 family.
Please complete this form and send it with your check, payable to LWVGB.
Mail to: Yvonne Brakefield, Treasurer; 3451 Cliff Road, Birmingham, Al 35205.

         Name   ___________________________________________________

         Phone (h)   ____________________   (w)   _______________________

            Street                                       City                     State                Zip

        e-mail   ______________________________  Amount Enclosed $_____

Questions? Call Nancy Ekberg at 967-2897 or e-mail her at nanekberg@aol.com

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

New Member Spotlight

Our LWVGB is growing! Meet our new members.

Connie Lees was born in Chicago and came to Birmingham 28 years ago by way of New Orleans. She has been active in civic affairs with the city of Hoover for years. The current mayoral campaign led Connie and her friend, Eva Click, to contact the LWVGB about sponsoring a forum for Hoover mayoral candidates. She is proud to be associated with the League because of its solid reputation as a non-partisan organization. When you meet Connie she will probably be wearing a giraffe pin. She explains, “It’s because I’m not afraid to stick my neck out!”

Eva Click came to Birmingham from Memphis in 1984. With her friend Connie Lees, Eva’s first contact with the LWVGB was a request to sponsor the Hoover Mayoral Candidates Forum. Her involvement with City of Hoover affairs has led her to develop specific interest in voter registration, education and turnout. She wants to work to increase voter participation in elections. “I’m passionate about the things I believe in.”

Kimberly Pride came to Birmingham four years ago from Washington, DC. She reviewed the League’s web site and decided the organization provided a good match for her interests. “I wanted something I could get involved in.” Kimberly is concerned that Alabama prison inmates can’t vote. States differ in restitution of civil rights to convicted felons. This creates a group of people who may or may not be able to vote depending on their state of residence. When asked what she would like others to know about her, Kimberly replied, “I’m purpose driven.”

Jayme Hill became acquainted with the LWVGB through her job as director of the Alabama Environmental Council. This organization worked with the League and other organizations to focus public attention on the impact of Jefferson County’s sewer expansion plans. Jayme is interested in public policy development. “I believe in the ability of people to make a difference.”

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Act Now for Restoration of Voting Rights

The Voting Rights Restoration Act passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2003 enables individuals who have been convicted of felonies to have their voting rights restored if they meet certain criteria. (See sidebar at left). Eligible individuals should call or write The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, Pardon Unit at 301 S Ripley Street, PO Box 302405, Montgomery, AL 36130-2405. Request restoration of voting rights and include the following information: Full name at conviction, race, sex, date of birth, Social Security #, AIS # (if applicable), current physical address with county & mailing address if different, home and work telephone, charge of conviction, year of conviction, county and whether conviction was state or federal jurisdiction.

Eligibility for Voting Rights Restoration

  • The applicant has completed his or her sentence
  • All court costs, restitution, fines & fees are paid in full
  • The conviction was not for murder or a sex offense
The process takes about 45 days. To vote in the November election, eligible individuals should apply now. The deadline to register for the November election is October 22.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Observer Corps Report
Jefferson County Commission

Sewer System Expansion: The Commission was scheduled to vote on a sewer system expansion policy on July 27. The vote was delayed four weeks due to public objections because the Commission had not considered input from the Environmental Services Citizens Advisory. This committee was formed in the 1990’s to provide public scrutiny of sewer expansion projects. At the next meeting the Commission approved hiring an engineering firm to evaluate the feasibility of purchasing sewer systems in north Shelby County and Moody and approved building new sewer lines in Fultondale. This was done in advance of finalizing the expansion policy.

Public Relations Firm: On July 27 the Commission approved a contract designating Spina Marketing and Elements Communications Solutions as public relations firm for Jefferson County. The firm will be paid up to $250,000 a year to assist the county in buying TV, radio, newspaper and billboard ads, producing a newsletter and consulting with county officials on public relations issues.

Movie Commission: The Commission approved $60,000 for an agreement with Metropolitan Development Board to fund startup of a Jefferson County Film Commission. Birmingham City Council member Bert Miller later announced that he wants the Birmingham City Council to join with the County to create a regional film commission.

School building license and inspection fees: In July the Alabama State Attorney General issued an opinion that schools don’t have to pay local building license and inspection fees. The State has only six building inspectors and no funds to hire additional personnel. Commissioner Buckelew is working on a plan to have local Boards of Education request County inspections. This will avert unnecessary delays in several school expansion projects.

Study on County Government: A study by Auburn University’s Center for Governmental Services recommended changes to modernize and streamline Jefferson County government. Abolishing or radically changing the Personnel Board was one of the suggestions. The study did not recommend a change in the Commission structure.

Join the Observer Corps!
Members of the LWVGB Observer Corps attend public meetings of government entities in order to gain first-hand knowledge of their agendas and votes. Observers Nancy Ekberg, Ruth Wright and Beverly Nelson gathered information for the article on the Jefferson County Commission. Become an Observer by attending your local City Council or School Board Meetings. Contact Nancy Ekberg for assignment.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

United Nations Day Dinner

The LWVGB is cosponsoring U.N. Day, the annual celebration of the Greater Birmingham Chapter of the United Nations Association USA. This year’s dinner is scheduled for Thursday, October 14 at The Club Staterooms 1 & 2. Social hour begins at 6:00 pm with dinner to follow at 7:00 pm.

The featured speaker is Ms. Gillian Sorensen, Senior Adviser to the U.N. Foundation. Her topic will be “Women’s Rights and Empowerment: Gender Equity in the New Millennium.” The cost is $35 per person. Deadline for reservations is October 5. Call Dorothy Baker at 822-0855 for more information.

U.N. Day Dinner
Thursday, October 14, 2004 at The Club
Social Hour 6:00 pm, Dinner 7:00 pm

Name(s)   ________________________________________   Telephone  _____________

Address    ________________________________________________________________
                    Street                                       City                     State                Zip

          # Reservations  _______    Amount Enclosed   ($35 per person)   __________

Make check payable to Greater Birmingham Chapter UNA-USA.
Mail to Dorothy Baker, 2512 Glendmere Place, Birmingham, AL 35216.
Deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 5. Your check is your reservation.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

September Meeting Topic - Help America Vote Act

The September Membership Meeting will be Thursday, September 23, 6:00 pm at the Region 20/20 office located at 1731 1st Avenue North. The program will focus on various aspects of the Help America Vote Act including citizen rights at the polling place, voting equipment and safeguarding votes. Please bring friends and co-workers to this timely meeting. Further details will be posted on the League website at www.bham.net/lwvgb.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Board Members at June Planning and Orientation Session clockwise from left
front: Cary Page, Amy Allon, Leonette Slay, Sarah McDonald, Rebecca Stafford,
Beverly Nelson, Dot Baker, Yvonne Brakefield.

LWVGB Board of Directors 2004-2005

3357 Cherokee Road
Birmingham, Al. 35223
Phone: (205) 968-9186

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

About the Voter:

The LWVGB Voter is a publication of the League of Women Voter of Greater Birmingham.

Beverly Nelson, Editor
Email: beenel@bellsouth.net

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article


September 7th
LWVGB Board Meeting
6:30 PM
September 23rd
Membership Meeting
Region 20/20 Offices
6:00 PM
October 5th
LWVGB Board Meeting
2701 7th Avenue S.
6:30 PM
October 14th
United Nations Day Dinner
The Club
6:00 PM

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article