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

The Voter

September 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

Becky Davis registers voters at the LWVGB table during the Art Walk September 11. League volunteers registered over 100 voters in the Birmingham area during the first two weeks of September. Registration activities will continue through October.

President's Message

This is a most important time for the League and the country. We are staffing many voter registrations all over Jefferson and Shelby counties. We sit next to huge inflated cows at various Chick-Fil-A restaurants. We are part of the happening scene in the city. We are everywhere. None of this would happen without the excellent planning by Ginnie Randolph and her Voter Services committee.

In a few weeks we will continue the pre-election theme with our Membership meeting on Help America Vote Act. Anne Marie Adams, Jefferson County Circuit Clerk, will be our speaker. This is an important meeting as a number of things have changed in the registration/voting process. Please plan to attend and bring a friend who might be interested in the topic and the League. Details on the meeting are elsewhere in this newsletter.

In October we are planning a “League Fair.” Come and find ways to become involved in the League. Now that we are growing again, we have many activities that need League volunteers. Details will be in the next newsletter.

A last thought: Don’t you wish that, just once, the presidential candidates would stop slinging mud and just say what they would do for the myriad of problems facing the country today? What if they were required to do so by law? Hmmmmmm.

Sarah McDonald

| 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

Why Does Alabama Need a New Constitution?
Contributed by Nancy Ekberg

  1. Our State Constitution limits options for county governments. Many citizens are frustrated with the Jefferson County Commission’s recent vote to add one penny sales tax to pay for school construction. If counties had Home Rule, they could propose a property tax (the best means of paying for schools) and submit the decision to the voters just as cities do. But County governments have only one avenue to raise funds for schools, and the Commission took that route. Lack of Home Rule means County governments can't zone for land development (or to prevent development) like cities can. Home Rule will put counties on equal footing with cities and make them more accountable to voters.
  2. An unfair tax system is imbedded in our State Constitution. With the lowest state property tax and one of the lowest income taxes in the nation, our state relies on sales taxes to provide necessary services. This places an unfair burden on the lowest paid of our residents, who pay a larger percentage of their income on sales taxes than do wealthier residents. Economically depressed Wilcox County has one of the highest sales taxes because property and state income taxes don't bring in enough money to pay for schools and local needs. And Greene County has turned to taxing bingo in an effort to fund schools and the local fire departments!
  3. Our State Constitution prohibits local governments from initiating internal improvements or economic development without approval of the State Legislature. Local governments have requested 50 separate amendments toward this end. When approved, local governments must create an authority to carry out each specific improvement or development. These authorities are costly governmental units required to carry out what should be routine operations.
  4. Ninety percent of state money is earmarked to areas specified by the Constitution. If excess exists in one fund, the state cannot use those funds in an area with a deficit. The state, like your own home budget, needs the ability to use funds where they are most needed.
  5. Racist language is found throughout the Constitution, which was written in 1901. Amendment 2 on the November ballot proposes to eliminate this language. Passing this amendment is an important first step toward constitutional reform.
For more information on this topic, browse http://www.constitutionalreform.org.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Voter Services

Voter Registration Activities

  • Junior League of Birmingham
    Sept 7 – Kate Long
  • Art Walk with NBC/13
    Sept 10 & 11 – Eva Click, Becky Davis, Beverly Nelson
  • Birmingham Pledge Celebrations & Teen Conference
    Sept 12, 13 & 16 –Kate Long, Nancy Ekberg, Linda Coleman, Rebecca Stafford, Amy Allon
  • Chick-Fil-A (Six locations)
    Sept 9, 10 & 11, -Sarah McDonald, Leslie O’Neil, Colette Scott, Beverly Nelson, Yvonne Brakefield, Judith Hand
  • Max Vote
    Sept 14, 15 & 16 -Jean Johnson, Winifred Jackson, Virginia Randolph
  • Taste of Summit with NBC/13
    Sep 19 -Sarah McDonald
  • New Orleans Free For All with NBC/13
    Sept 25 –Kimberly Pride
Voter Registration Deadline

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

Work the Polls

Call the Republican Party (222-7664) or Democratic Party (226-1265 to volunteer to work your Poll location during the November 2 election.

Absentee Ballots

Absentee ballots are scheduled to be available September 15 for those who have completed an application to vote absentee in the November 2 election.

Braille Voting Guide

Secretary of State Nancy Worley introduced a new edition of the 2004 Alabama Voter Guide that has been formatted into Braille for use by the visually impaired. She presented the guide September 9 at the Low Vision Conference in Selma. It is also available on audiocassettes and in a large print edition.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

The Homeless Have a Right to Vote
You can help the homeless have a voice in this election.

The homeless are often individuals who have removed themselves from abusive situations, have jobs but lost their residence due to a financial crisis or any number of unfortunate circumstances. Because they do not have a permanent residence they have not been able to vote. The Jefferson County Registrar and the League of Women Voters will work together during October to register voters at local shelters. Contact Virginia Randolph at vrand@bellsouth.net to participate in this special project.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

DemocracyNet 2004

DemocracyNet (DNet) has a new face! Browse http://www.dnet.org to experience the new look and feel of the website.

DNet is a project of the League of Women Voters Education Fund. It is designed to provide voters easy access to candidate information, thus creating a more educated electorate. Candidates for political office are encouraged to enter biographical profiles, issue statements and other pertinent campaign information. They may also engage the public through online “debate”.

Selected statewide races are supported in DemocracyNet 2004. Alabama’s seven U.S. Congressional races and one U.S. Senate race are posted online with sixteen candidate profiles. Eight candidates are actively participating. You can view candidate information in your legislative district by clicking on the “See All My Candidates and Races” tab and entering your street address and city name in the space provided. The eight proposed constitutional amendments and a new link to the “All About Alabama Elections” are also posted in this area.

Visit the site frequently during this election cycle, and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. Capitol Advantage LLC, administrator of the website, will measure its effectiveness at the end of this election year by recording the number of races and candidate profiles posted, evaluating the level of candidate participation and registering the number of site visits. Support we generate will help ensure the continuation of this online source of non-partisan candidate and election information.

Questions?? Contact Yvonne Brakefield at ybrakefield@mindspring.com

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Membership Renewal Time!

September is annual membership renewal month. Dues are $40 individual, $60 family and $20 student. Members who joined in 2004 may have paid a portion of this year’s dues, according to the agreement upon joining.

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.

Winifred Jackson is a Birmingham native who became interested in the League through conversations with her coworker, Leslie O’Neil. This is her first step into community activism. She is interested in voter registration and community education on political issues that could improve quality of life. What skills does she bring with her? “I’m very diligent and don’t get discouraged easily.”

Kate Long comes from a family of politically active women. Both her mother and aunt were members of the Florida LWV. After living “all over,” Kate settled in Birmingham and decided it was time for her to join the action. Kate wants to see more people voting and more equity in the political process. “I’m proud of my family history of activism.”

Becky Davis recently joined the League as a first step to renew her involvement with the political process. This Birmingham native has worked in political campaigns and served as an officer in the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. After a few years off, she decided the LWV would be a good place to put her energy. Becky describes herself as “fiercely loyal to my family, friends and issues.”

Amanda McGriff came to Birmingham from Montgomery five years ago. She and her husband went to Iowa to work in the Howard Dean campaign. When Dean lost, he urged his supporters to stay involved. She turned to the internet to find a local organization involved with women’s issues. She found the LWV site and realized the organization was relevant to her interests. Amanda explains, “I’m a workaholic. I’m hoping to use my energy for something in addition to my job.”

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

New Member Orientation Meeting

The Vestavia Red Lobster provided the setting for the LWVGB new member orientation on August 26. Nancy Ekberg and Cary Page presented the program. New member Kimberly Pride brought her daughter, Olivia (photo at left), and her mother, Mabel Pride. Other new members present included Connie Lees, Eva Click, Jayme Hill, Winifred Jackson, Kate Long, Becky Davis, Amanda McGriff, Mary Lynn Bates and Betty Warnock.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Observer Corps Report
Jefferson County Commission

The 1% sales and use tax passed by the Commission August 24 pushed sewer expansion plans out of the headlines. The ordinance was passed 3 to 2 with Commissioners Langford, Buckelew and Smoot voting for, Commissioners Collins and White voting against.

Despite lawsuits and state legislator threats of repeal, the tax will likely go into effect January 1. The plan is to use the $88 million a year it generates to finance a $1 billion bond issue. State law limits the tax money use to school building projects or to pay off construction debt. Dollars must be distributed evenly among school systems in the county based on the number of students. A special education authority will oversee distribution of the money and a team of project managers, architects, insurers and builders will help design and build the schools.

On September 7 the Commission passed a resolution naming the firms to proceed with planning, structuring and documenting the issuance of the Education Obligations.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

U.N. 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.

Hurry to reserve your place at the U.N. Day Dinner!
Deadline for reservations is October 5.

The Greater Birmingham Chapter of UNA-USA holds its annual dinner on Thursday, October 14. 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 social hour and dinner will take place at The Club Staterooms 1 & 2. The cost is $35.
Call Dot 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.
Your check is your reservation.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

School Poster Contest

Member Kate Long initiated an LWVGB-sponsored poster competition in some local public schools.

The topic is participation in the election process or voting. The LWVGB will award certificates to winners and feature the posters with local media, especially television.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

Members' Privacy Maintained

The LWVGB has a strict policy against sharing our membership list. At our September board meeting we amended that policy to include e-mail addresses. This means we will not give out names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses or other personal information to outside persons or entities.

We hope this will encourage members to share their e-mail addresses with us. It is faster and more cost-effective to communicate with members via e-mail. It frees more of your dues to support the real work of the League: voter service projects, program studies and advocacy efforts.

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article

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 21th
Healthcare Study Meeting
Silvertron Cafe
11:30 AM
September 23rd
Membership Meeting
Region 20/20 Offices
Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
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
October 28th
Membership Meeting
“Get Involved Without Going Under"
Location TBD

| Top | LWVGB Home |

Print this article