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Date: 9/27/2022
Subject: The Voter October 2022

An update for League friends and subscribers.
October 2022

From LWV-BMC Leadership

Adapting to Political Climate Change
The League of Women Voters remains committed to encouraging informed voting by an electorate that has opportunities to hear from candidates for office and evaluate their positions and fitness to serve. Historically, candidates have been pleased to present themselves to voters so they can make informed choices. For many years the League has sponsored candidate debates and forums to facilitate this interaction. This year, the LWV-BMC and 11 co-sponsors have organized four forums. 
All 17 candidates in contested Monroe County-wide races, state House of Representatives races covering any part of Monroe County, and those seeking to represent Congressional District 9, have been invited to participate. To date, only 11 candidates (65% of the 17 invited) have accepted the invitation.

The LWV-BMC Leadership Team decided to prioritize getting information to the voters, even if we cannot persuade all candidates to participate in the forums. These “pooled-race” forums bring together the candidates for offices that have similar responsibilities, with the goal of providing new and varying perspectives on the issues. This fall there will be three pooled-race forums: 
  • On September 29 contested Indiana House of Representatives seats that cover any part of Monroe County (districts 46, 60, 62)
Candidates participating:  Kurtis Cummings (D, 46) , Penny Githens (D, 62)
Also invited: Dave Hall (R, 62), Bob Heaton (R, 46), Peggy Mayfield (R, 60), Kathy Thorpe (D, 60)
  • On October 10 contested Monroe County government races (County Council and County Commission)
Candidates participating: Peter Iversen (D Council), Lee Jones (D Commission)
Also invited: Jim Allen (R Council), Perry Robinson (R Commission)
  • On October 12 contested Monroe County law and justice races (sheriff, circuit court judge) 
Candidates participating: Carl Lamb (R Judge), Ruben Marté (D Sheriff), Emily Salzmann (D Judge)
Also invited: Nathan Williamson (R Sheriff)

Please plan to attend these Zoomed forums as well as the U.S. House Indiana District 9 forum scheduled on September 28. All forums will be held from 7:00-8:30 p.m. and recorded by CATS. Click here for more information and to register. Most importantly, please encourage candidates to participate in the forums. - Ralf Shaw, co-chair of Voter Service Committee

Public Encouraged to Attend and Invite Others to Stakeholder Meeting
The League of Women Voters needs active, engaged people. We are conducting a lively, participatory stakeholder development event to expand our reach into the community. Specifically, we are seeking additional leadership and members as we continue to advance our democratic principles and voting rights. We encourage nonmembers to attend and also to invite family and friends. We are confident members and nonmembers alike will be able to broaden our circle.
The event is being held at the Switchyard Pavilion on October 11, 2022 from 6:30-8:00 pm. Small plates and drinks will be served. Please let me know if you will be able to join us for this important community event. - Annamaria

Important Dates

LWV-BMC Public Events
Other Public Events


September Podcast Features Immigration Issues
In the September 2022 Civic Conversations podcast, hosted by Jim Allison, we welcomed Professor Shruti Rana, a professor at Indiana University's Department of International Studies specializing in international law. She holds a degree from Columbia Law School, the London School of Economics and Politics, and UC Berkley. In this podcast, Professor Rana discusses the issues facing our immigration systems today. 
She responds to the recent shipping of immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, Washington DC, Chicago, and New York City by Texas, Arizona, and Florida governors. She shares how the constant changing of laws and policy impacts the backlog of separation and asylum cases and addresses the issue of how we as a society treat immigrants and how it ultimately reflects upon our community. - Becky Hill, Communications Committee

Local Climate Action Yields Co-benefits
Due to the scale and complexity of climate change, any reduction in atmospheric CO2 will likely be the result of political action on the state, national, and international stages. But local climate actions often yield co-benefits, or positive results that benefit the area and its residents in other ways.

Cities with more public transit, bike paths, and sidewalks have more active populations, leading to gains in overall public health. Those who don’t drive gain more independence. Greater foot traffic helps local businesses. People spend less money on gas. Local air quality improves. Intercity bike paths can attract tourism and expand options for local commuters. While the primary goal may have been to reduce vehicle emissions, the result is a more vibrant, healthy, and equitable community.

These co-benefits are not unique to transportation. Protecting natural landscapes provides more space for outdoor recreation and aids biodiversity. Investing in renewable energy and energy-efficient buildings generates local jobs and saves money. Local, organic food provides a healthy diet while protecting watersheds from excess fertilizer and pesticides. Local action can alleviate climate anxiety and build a stronger sense of community.

Initiatives that are good for the climate have far-reaching benefits that improve the lives of all people. It is the clearest win-win situation. While there is a need to keep pressing state and federal governments for comprehensive climate legislation, local initiatives should not be disregarded. - Emily Reidy, LWV-BMC Climate Change Unit

Local League Member Observes Election Equipment Test
On September 19, 2022, Monroe County conducted a logic accuracy test of the equipment to be used for the 2022 general election. Ralf Shaw represented the League as an observer.

The Indiana Secretary of State’s office identified a random sample of the ballot scanning and counting equipment to be tested. The County is required to test 5% of its scanners, which would be just over two; three were tested, along with the rapid scanner. 

Hart InterCivic (the company that provides the equipment and software) prepared 22 hand-marked test ballots. These included a blank ballot and some over-votes (more than one choice in a single race – for which scanners should ignore the votes in that race, but count all others). The ballots were scanned first on the rapid scanner, which is used for mail-in and early-voted ballots, then run through each of three scanners that will be used on Election Day.The total votes for each candidate on each machine were the same and equaled the expected results.

In discussion after the test, it emerged that the computer-to-computer transfer of data to the Secretary of State failed and the vote totals had to be re-keyed. Several other counties also experienced this problem. Observers of the LAT were concerned that the Secretary of State should take action promptly to reduce the chances of error that could result from this problem. - Ralf Shaw, co-chair Voter Service Committee

Article Explains Proportional Representation
Jim Allison, a retired Indiana University Professor Emeritus and long-time League member, wrote an article on proportional representation for the Limestone Post magazine. Allison describes how partisan gerrymanders harm the electorate by diluting votes and making elections less competitive. He encourages Indiana voters to tell their representatives that they favor reform of the current maps and a move toward a true one person, one vote.

Community News

Chamber Holds Networking Event with Candidates
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and Young Bloomington Professionals are hosting the Elect Connect event on Monday, October 3, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Dimension Mill. This will be an opportunity for Chamber members and the community-at-large to network with candidates and elected officials alike in a relaxed non-stuffy environment free from long speeches. There will be appetizers and a cash bar. Registration is required.

Congratulations, IU PACE and all IU Students!
Indiana University's Political and Civic Engagement program (PACE) is a 22 credit hour undergraduate certificate program that combines academic study with hands-on learning. Students in this program are the movers and shakers behind IU's participation in the Big Ten Voting Challenge, which is a competition between Big Ten universities with the goal of increasing student voter registration and turnout. The news is out that Indiana University Bloomington has been included in Washington Monthly’s 2022 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll!
PACE is a partner organization with LWV-BMC, with members Kyra Mahoney and Annamaria Mecca as liaisons. In addition, PACE director Lisa-Marie Napoli is also a League member. We're very pleased to have this connection with IU's efforts toward student electoral engagement!

Take a Survey to Benefit Local Women
The IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs Fall Capstone is partnering with the Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women (BCSW) to gather critical data on the conditions and experiences of women in the city of Bloomington and its surrounding communities via a survey. This survey is anonymous, should take 15-20 minutes to complete, and will help the BCSW craft and adopt policies that are beneficial to all women in our community, especially those who belong to underrepresented groups.
Please consider taking the survey and also distributing this information and the flyer to your friends and organizations. The more participants, the better the data. Do it today!