LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF NEW MEXICO
BOARD MEETING MINUTES
JULY 18, 2020
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT
Hannah Burling, President
Barbara Calef, Second Vice President and LWVLA Co-President
Dick Mason, Action Chair
Rebecca Chaiken, Incoming Secretary
Suzanne Ronneau, Treasurer
Judy Williams, Past President
Chris Furlanetto, Program
Janet Blair, Communications/La Palabra Editor
Meredith Machen, Education/Immigration
Diane Goldfarb, Voter Services/Reproductive Rights
Akkana Peck, Webmaster
Laura Atkins, Director at Large
Pat Hawkins, Director at Large
Susan Haase, Director at Large
Karen Douglas, LWVCNM Co-President
Karen Wentworth, LWVCNM Co-President
Kathy Brook, LWVSNM Co-President
Eileen VanWie, LWVSNM Co-President
Becky Shankland, LWVLA Co-President
Jody Larson, Archives
CALL TO ORDER
Hannah called the meeting to order at 11:04 a.m. The meeting was recorded for the benefit of the incoming secretary.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA and APPROVAL OF MINUTES
After it was clarified that the final agenda included Dick's report on the special session, it was moved that the agenda be approved. This motion was seconded and all voted in favor.
Susan thanked Barbara and Laura for their help editing the minutes. It was moved that the April 25, 2020, board meeting minutes be approved. This motion was seconded and all voted in favor.
ELECTION OF NEW SECRETARY and INTRODUCTIONS
Kim Sorensen resigned as secretary and her resignation was accepted. Rebecca Chaiken agreed to accept the position of secretary. All board members voted in favor of Rebecca serving as secretary for the remainder of the term.
All members introduced themselves and explained their position with the LWVNM.
Hannah reflected on the national convention. Despite New Mexico's small size, we had quite a presence. Chris, Barbara, and Judy did a wonderful job on the Transfer of Federal Public Lands national concurrence. The caucus had over 150 participants and the vote to concur with the NM position passed by an overwhelming 76 percent. We were also commended for our leadership on the National Popular Vote during the 2019 New Mexico legislative session and our presence on the drafting committee on the resolution on racial justice. Because we have so much to do during this presidential election year, and because voting rights are up in the air, strategic planning will not occur this year. With Vote411, we can collect data and measure our success in ways we have not been able to do before. This will put us in an excellent starting point for future planning. The SNM and SFC leagues are working on increasing their social media presence and SNM is looking at signage inside city buses. Los Alamos held three virtual candidate forums for the primary election. CNM is carrying the banner for racial justice.
Suzanne said there has not been much activity since the last meeting. After her report was filed (dated July 7, 2020), we finally began to use the diversity fund. A young woman and her husband were recruited for membership by the JEDI chair and they qualified for diversity funding. We also received another $100 donation to the Education Fund. Dick said we got approval to repurpose $5,000 from our redistricting grant to Vote411 and the Thornburg treasurer wants to just transfer the money to LWVNM. It does not need to go into the Education Fund. Suzanne said we cannot hold the money in our account and dealing with the League in Washington D.C. can be difficult. Judy said that once the money is deposited into a 501(c)(3) account, it can go anywhere. Dick said the report he will file on Monday currently has CNM as the fiscal agent entitled to the $2,000 administrative fee. Because CNM has a new treasurer, it was suggested that SFC replace CNM as fiscal agent. CNM agreed to this change. It was moved that the fiscal agent change from LWVCNM to LWVSFC. Before a vote was taken, it was clarified that the funds in question are from the redistricting, Vote411, and translation grants. The motion was then amended to state that Santa Fe will become LWVNM's fiscal agent. All voted in favor of the amendment and all voted in favor of the main motion.
SB4 was the only piece of legislation that the LWVNM supported in the special session. SB4 made changes to the election laws because of the pandemic. All but one section will expire at the end of the year. The section that is permanent was an amendment added on the Senate floor that allows for Decline to State (DTS) voters and voters who have selected a minor party to vote in primary elections by registering with a major party. As far as the budget, the result was probably the best we could hope for given the shortfall created by the pandemic and the drop in oil prices. Legislators tapped reserves and made cuts to capital outlay and moderate cuts across the board in most agencies.
With respect to redistricting, the Thornburg Foundation has funded New Mexico First to convene a Redistricting Task Force and will also fund the LWVNM redistricting project for the coming year. Dick reviewed the Plan for Fair Districts for New Mexico (FDNM) July 2020 to October 2021. Once the Redistricting Task Force develops its recommendations, it will work with others to develop those recommendations into legislation; organize lobbying efforts; and work with FDNM partners to gain support.
Diane said that 11,000 users accessed Vote411 between the time it went live on April 26 and the end of the primary election. Voter Guide editors are now working on Vote411 for the general election. The Voter Guide committee submitted suggested questions for the 2020 General Election, which were all reviewed to ensure no bias in the way they are worded. The board reviewed each question with the same goal in mind. There was much discussion and rewording. The idea of asking some yes/no questions was eventually discarded. With respect to the questions for U.S. Senate and U.S. House, it was suggested that using all 8 questions that were proposed could dilute the readers' ability to focus. Following discussion focusing on the import of each question, it was moved that all 8 questions be selected for Vote411. The motion passed. Following a lengthy discussion about the questions for the other statewide races, Diane asked the board to approve the questions for statewide races, as amended, for inclusion in Vote411. All members voted in favor.
Discussion then turned to the questions for local races in counties outside our League districts. Some questions were reworded slightly. It was moved that the questions for local races, as amended, be approved for inclusion in Vote411. All members voted in favor. With respect to all of the questions approved for Vote411, Diane decides the final wording.
Questions were approved for the following races: U.S. Senate and House (8); New Mexico Supreme Court and New Mexico Court of Appeals (5); Public Regulation Commission (5); Public Education Commission (4); New Mexico Senate and House (7); District Court Judges (4); District Attorneys (4); County Commission (4); County Clerk (4); County Treasurer (4); Magistrate Judge - Mora and Taos (3); Probate Judge - Catron, Lincoln, and Roosevelt (3); County Assessor - Lincoln (3); and County Sheriff - Eddy and Lincoln (5).
Diane then turned the conversation to a problem she has encountered. In those districts that have overlap, such as the House District 43 race, the Voter Guide chairs have to work together. Diane asked for intervention from the board to help resolve the situation if the Voter Guide chairs could not agree. The board discussed strategies to deal with this issue and agreed that the League with the largest population in the district should prevail. It was moved to amend the Voter Guide policy with delegation to Hannah and Barbara to determine the new wording as discussed by the board. All voted in favor.
SB4 created a modified open primary, which is the only permanent part of the law. This portion of the bill was passed as a favor to an outgoing legislator and there was no opportunity for public comment. The law did not include an emergency provision so it does not go into effect for 90 days. While the bill does improve some security issues and includes consultation with native communities about polling places on tribal lands, this legislation is a step back from what the Supreme Court ruled for the primary election. Now each county clerk has the discretion to make the decision about mailing absentee ballot applications. This raises the concern about whether voters will know that they have to apply for an absentee ballot. It was suggested that meetings be held with the Secretary of State, Mario Jimenez, Heather Ferguson, and/or someone else. In the meantime, we can educate voters about making sure they are registered to vote. Laura suggested everyone watch the webinar Voting in a Time of Pandemic which covered some of these issues. She will send out the link. Once we know more, an ad hoc committee made up of Diane, Dick, Judy, and Laura can meet with one or more of the above. Meredith suggested that our website be updated to include what is known about the upcoming election because the City of Albuquerque and other municipalities have a link to our page. Akkana will amend the website as soon as possible, working in conjunction with Diane who will document the "knowns and unknowns" created by this legislation. This information will also be posted on our social media platforms. Once these steps have been taken, we can discuss what voter education measures need to be taken.
SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY
Karen D. reported that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) public comment period is currently open for both the NM/HOLTEC Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the TX/Interim Storage Partners EIS. Both comment periods have been extended due to complications resulting from the Corona Virus Social Distancing precautions. LWVNM Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) Storage Committee members have completed review of the HOLTEC EIS and the resultant report is now under review by the LWVNM Executive Committee with a decision date of July 31, 2020. LWVNM SNF Storage Committee Members contributing to the HOLTEC EIS review include: Alex Burr (SNM), Kathy Economy (CNM), Karen Douglas (CNM) Paul Karas (CNM), Kurt Anderson (SNM), Laura Atkins (SFC), Karen Wentworth (CNM), Bobbi Merryman (CNM) and Phoenix Baldez. (Bobbi and Phoenix are both UNM Nuclear Engineering PhD Candidates). Barbara Calef devoted extensive time to reviewing, refining, and editing remarks. Bonnie Votaw (SNM) and Jo Galvan Nash (SNM) also contributed to the report format.
NRC comments on the TX/ISP EIS are now due November 3, 2020. Collaboration with LWV/TX leaders may ensure a uniform LWV message. LWVNM SNF Storage Safety Committee members may also review the ISP CISF EIS.
Chris reiterated Hannah's comment about the victory at the LWVUS Convention, which resulted in concurrence by LWVUS with our position on the Transfer of Federal Public Lands. Based upon comments received following our initial request for concurrence before the convention, paragraph #1 was amended to include with Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands inserted after federal government. This language is more accurate and is what was concurred with at the national convention. It was moved that the board approve this change. All voted in favor.
BYLAWS AND POLICIES
Barbara reported that, after consulting with Hannah and Diane, it was decided to merge the positions of Voter Services Chair and Voter Guide Editor. Hannah noted that there is only one sentence different between the two job descriptions. It was determined that no motion is needed for this change. The position of "Voter Services Chair" will be the title that is retained. After Diane has had an opportunity to conduct a final review of the two positions, the position of Voter Guide Editor will be eliminated. Meredith asked that the footers on the job descriptions also be amended to correct the dates.
Barbara wants to postpone the discussion of the portfolio descriptions for the Voter Guide until after the election. Diane agrees and believes it should be one document, less wordy, and include Vote411.
At the 2020 LWVUS Convention, delegates voted to make two amendments to the LWVUS Bylaws that concern us. The LWVNM bylaws need to be aligned with this new language. The first amendment changed Article II to Purposes and Policies and Section 2 added the following language: The League is fully committed to ensure compliance in principle and in practice with LWVUS's diversity, equity, and inclusion policy. All voted in favor of the amendment. The second amendment added the following language under types of membership: Those who are students are defined as individuals enrolled either as full time or part time with an accredited institution. All voted in favor of the amendment.
Also at the Convention, the delegates voted NOT to delete the reference to "associate members" in the LWVUS Bylaws, so we are required to follow suit. The proposed amendment to the LWVNM Bylaws, voted on at the November 2019 meeting to delete "associate member" will not be on the 2021 LWVNM Convention agenda. Akkana will amend the December 2019 minutes to reflect this is no longer in effect.
Janet had little new to report. Because we should have extra funds (the $2,000 dedicated to the League Day reception which is unlikely to be held), we should explore ideas how to spend it. She is open to ideas and will convene a Communications Committee meeting to discuss options and obligations to Thornburg. Diane added that we need to develop goals including whom to target. Dick suggested we may need to use some League Day funds for webinars so he was not in favor of moving funds unless it becomes necessary. Meredith agreed that having the capacity for major Zoom webinars could be a good use of funds connected with Vote411 and legislative advocacy. It was agreed that any further discussion should occur via email after the Communications Committee has done its work.
Akkana requested that file names not include spaces because they are illegal on the web. When she puts files on the website she has to rename any file that has spaces, replacing them with underscores.
Jody has three boxes of personal records, some from Kathy Campbell but most from Marilyn Morgan. These records include Marilyn's documents from her parliamentarian association, playbills from the Albuquerque Little Theater, and other publications that were probably League-related at the time but not linked to any LWVNM studies or activities. Jody noted that Marilyn's family has already gone through these materials and she wants permission to recycle these non-League materials. Meredith agreed that the archives should only include policy-related and studies-related materials, not personal materials. It was moved that the board allow the archivist to recycle such personal materials. All voted in favor.
Jody noted that the records we turn over to the Center for Southwest Research at UNM's Zimmerman Library no longer belong to us. CSR reorganizes them according to their own criteria and maintains them for research by students. With this in mind, Jody has revised the draft Archive Policy of September 18, 2011. She hopes for some input from a smaller group before the policy is put before the board for approval. Akkana, Barbara, Meredith, and Chris all volunteered to serve on the committee responsible for this policy development.
Jody also wants to propose the development of an archive policy dealing with electronic records.
Thus far, Jody has reorganized materials within boxes, but not across boxes. There are similar kinds of materials contained in many boxes (e.g. La Palabra and meeting packets). She is willing to reorganize these materials but is not sure it is worth the effort because CSR will reorganize them anyway.
Hannah reported on Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI). She was very impressed with the presentation JEDI gave to Santa Fe and she proposes that they be invited to a board meeting for their half-hour presentation. It was agreed that Hannah can schedule this with no board approval needed.
At the convention, JEDI committed to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policy of LWVUS. Whether or not LWVNM has a DEI policy was then discussed. Hannah believed we did not have such a policy but Meredith said she wrote one. It is believed that the policy Meredith wrote was never approved.
Some of the barriers to getting younger people involved include how we operate (e.g. four hour board meetings and some meetings during traditional work times). Hannah will bring up this conundrum to JEDI.
JEDI is also interested in the Women's March and why it did not do better in Santa Fe this year. Possible reasons include a lack of clarity on what the point of the march was, and that many young people are otherwise occupied with school. Hannah said she will not let JEDI start a women's march without board approval.
The next JEDI meeting is July 29, 2020, and Hannah will attempt to learn what keeps younger people from participating.
Meredith's document "LWVNM Celebrates Women's Right to Vote - 100 Years Strong" includes six pages of information and links related to public relations events that relate to the centennial. She wants cooperation in publicizing (via Facebook and Twitter) events leading up to Women's Equality Day on August 26, 2020, during which there will be a virtual event from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. All 50 states plus the District of Columbia are participating by making short videos of voters providing non-partisan reasons why they are voting. In New Mexico, a young first-time female voter in each of our 33 counties will upload a 10 to 15 second video explaining why she is excited about voting. There will also be "porch parades" during which voters are encouraged to take pictures of themselves on their porches wearing suffrage colors. The videos and pictures will then float through the virtual event. On August 23, Santa Fe will hold a car parade that will follow the route of the 1915 suffrage parade. Soon the Santa Fe Board of Commissioners will issue a proclamation and Meredith believes that Bernalillo and Sandoval have already done so. She suggests that these proclamations be posted on our websites.
LOCAL LEAGUE REPORTS
Submitted in writing and will be included in the next version of La Palabra.
LWVUS CONVENTION TAKEAWAYS
Karen D. spoke at the July CNM meeting about the two caucuses she attended on Making Democracy Work and Criminal Justice Reform. Power Point slides included all the state Leagues that have a criminal justice or juvenile justice position. New Mexico has an administration of justice position that deals with justice after detention.
Eileen was impressed with how the challenging virtual event was managed. She enjoyed the four panelists who discussed expanding the vote by using our voices ("voting squads"). She was also impressed by Virginia Kase's speech, which suggested that we revisit our non-partisan policies.
Judy was pleased to see the LWVUS staff practices what it preaches through its own diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Laura attended the caucus on Cyber Security, which reviewed website and election security. Akkana also attended the Cyber Security caucus and noted that LWVLA is working on a local study on digital privacy. Oregon is working on a concurrence position for the next convention.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, INITIATIVES, AND OTHER BUSINESS
Barbara announced that the La Palabra deadline is Monday, July 20, 2020, and Janet reminded us not to forget to include pictures. Following a question by Eileen, Barbara said the September deadline is September 21 and the deadline for the winter edition is December 12, 2020.
Meredith reminded us that diversity scholarships are available and now is a good time for outreach and recruitment. She also noted that we might need to look at our definition of "student" on the application.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 19, 2020, possibly in Santa Fe but likely via Zoom.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:09 p.m.
Written by Rebecca Chaiken (July 24, 2020)
Edited by Barbara Calef (July 24, 2020)