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Date: 8/31/2023
Subject: The Voter September 2023
From: League of Women Voters - Bloomington-Monroe County



An update for League friends and subscribers.
September 2023

Time To Get Ready for the November Election!

National Voter Registration Day: Tuesday, September 19

We observe National Voter Registration Day just three weeks before voter registration closes for the 2023 election and seven weeks before the election. It is a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy. 

According to U.S. Census data from 2020, as many as one in four eligible Americans are not registered to vote. Every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register.
You, your friends, and relatives (who live in Indiana) can register, check your registration, and preview your ballot at the state’s Voter Portal. - Ralf Shaw

Be an Informed Voter: Check VOTE411.org

VOTE411.org is a one-stop shop for election-related information. It provides nonpartisan information on:
  • Absentee ballots
  • Ballot measures
  • Candidate responses to questions posed by the local League of Women Voters
  • Early voting options
  • Election dates
  • Factual data on candidates in various federal, state, and local races
  • ID requirements
  • Polling places
  • Registration deadlines
  • Voter qualifications and registration forms
VOTE411.org’s polling place locator enables users to type in their address and retrieve the poll location for the voting precinct in which that address is located.  The League has found that this is among the most sought-after information in the immediate days leading up to, and on, Election Day. Election Day this year is Tuesday, November 7. Bloomington municipal offices and the Monroe County Community School Corporation funding referendum will be on the ballot. - Ralf Shaw


From LWV-BMC Leadership

League Social Gathering Well Attended
The August 8th League social gathering was attended by 36 members and guests.  After an initial welcome, Monica Clemons and Ralf Shaw explained what the Voter Service Committee would be doing in advance of the fall municipal election and later, in 2024, to gear up for the November presidential election. Monica noted that volunteers were needed for several different activities and urged anyone interested to contact her. The Observer Corps director, Diedre Todd, reported that observers are still needed for a number of local boards and commissions, especially the boards of zoning appeals of both the city and the county. Anyone interested should get in touch with Diedre.

The weather was pleasant, the food inviting, and attendees enjoyed meeting each other and socializing. - Annamaria Mecca

Events and News Sources

LWV-BMC Public Events
 
Other Public Events
News Sources

LWV-BMC News

League Writes to County Officials Concerning 2024 Election
On August 22, LWV-BMC leadership wrote to Monroe County Clerk Nicole Browne, copying the commissioners, election board, party chairs, and local media, concerning the 2024 elections. They urged county officials to take immediate action to ensure election staff are in place in time for an impartial, consistent, and accurate election process. See the letter and comments at the B Square Bulletin or at WFIU/WTIU. - Ralf Shaw

Podcast Features Role of Public Library in a Democracy
In August, we welcomed Grier Carson, Library Director of the Monroe County Public Library, to discuss the library as a civic institution. Carson talked to our host, Jim Allison, about the library's role in a democracy and how it protects intellectual freedom and access to information for everyone without regard to their social status, gender, race, or religion. "The library has three goals," says Carson, "to provide equitable impartial access, to strengthen communications, and to improve people's lives." 
He talked briefly about what is happening in Fishers, Indiana, at Hamilton East Public Library, saying instead of focusing on the appropriateness of content in the library and collection development policies, if we are genuinely concerned about the appropriateness of information, we should go after Google, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, and Twitter and access to content on the Internet. "Going after books is an easy, time-worn practice and amounts to window dressing in 21st-century culture wars," said Carson. "But it has very real and negative consequences for library professionals and their livelihood. It is ludicrous and careless."  Click here to access the podcast page. - Becky Hill

Medicare Presents Program on American Hospitals
American Hospitals, Healing a Broken System is a new documentary film that goes beyond the typical ideological battles in health care debates and focuses on examining what's actually happening under the hood. Today, hospital care is too often more about money and power than serving the health needs of patients and the community.
American Hospitals examines the pernicious incentives driving health care’s astronomical pricing, its monopolistic practices, and the pervasive inequities in access and treatment. The film identifies innovative solutions that deserve national attention to restore hospitals to their historic focus on community health at affordable cost. The film will be presented on Wednesday, September 13, at 7:00 pm, at The Woolery Mill, 2250 W. Sunstone Dr., Bloomington. Panel discussion after the film will feature Rep. Matt Pierce, Dr. Lee McKinley, and Jeff Mease, moderated by Dr. Rob Stone. Sponsored by Medicare for All Indiana - Bloomington. - Karen Green Stone

From the LWV-BMC Climate Change Unit
Support Climate-friendly Land Use 

The Technical Service Providers Act provides a simple way to empower farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to understand and put climate-smart policies into practice on their own land. Senator Mike Braun is a sponsor of the bill, and we’d like to add Representative Erin Houchin and Senator Todd Young as cosponsors to help get the bill passed!

You can take quick action here using our partner Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s platform, or you can contact Rep. Erin Houchin and Sen. Todd Young directly. 
Ask them to cosponsor the Technical Service Providers Act, which will provide landowners with the resources they need to effectively curb emissions and sequester carbon. - Kristina Lindborg

Local Organizations Host Climate-related Events
 
There are two local climate-related events that have come to the League's notice. One is an in-person event, “Implementing Climate Resilience with New Federal Funding;” Wednesday, September 27, 6:00 pm (doors open at 5:30); Upland Brewery Wood Shop, 350 W 11st St, Bloomington. Bill Brown, Assistant Director for Strategy and Engagement at IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute, will present the program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act provide historic levels of funding for planning and implementation of climate resilience projects. Learn how you can access grants, loans, rebates, and other incentives for your home, farm, business, nonprofit, or community. No registration required.
The other event is a free virtual lecture, “Nature-based Climate Solutions in Indiana and Beyond;” Thursday, September 28, 7-8:30 pm ET. Sycamore Land Trust and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Indiana will host this lecture and Q&A with Dr. Kimberly Novick, Director of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Sciences at IU’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Dr. Novick will discuss the opportunities and pitfalls surrounding nature-based climate solutions in Indiana and beyond, including reforestation, improved forest management and cover cropping. RSVP if you're planning to attend. - Kristina Lindborg

LWVIN and IN Vote By Mail Cover Indiana Voting Laws
Are you scratching your head wondering about changes to Indiana’s voting laws? Are you feeling flummoxed by the new absentee voting rules? Are you baffled by how to help our fellow voters? You’ve come to the right place! 
 
The League of Women Voters of Indiana and Indiana Vote By Mail are holding a Zoom meeting to quell your worries, assuage your doubts, and ease your confusion.  Linda Hanson and Barbara Tully will talk about voting in Indiana, new absentee rules, and a really badly written law. Bring your questions!
 
Join us for “Voting Information – Let’s Talk About Absentee Ballots;" Thursday, September 7, 7 pm, on Zoom. Register here for the link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Community News

An Invitation from the MC Planning Office
To the Monroe County Community:

Please join us to voice your opinions about the County Development Ordinance! The Monroe County Planning Department is hosting four listening sessions with elected and appointed County Officials to hear from you about your draft zoning, as well as hearing comments about the draft use table. Please help spread the word, including posting our flyer. The information you provide will be critical in revising the County’s new ordinance and zoning map. We are hosting four public meetings throughout the County. There is one meeting left in September – please attend if you'd like to provide your feedback –
Tuesday, September 5, 5:30 – 7:00 PM – Monroe County Government Center 501 N Morton St, Bloomington IN 47404. Room 100B or Zoom (see below).

Zoom Information (same Zoom link for all four meetings):
Link
Passcode: 176389
Phone Number: 312-626-6799
Webinar ID: 828 2499 8065

For the meeting, planning staff will assist you with finding out what your current and proposed zoning will be, and what is changing at your property. During the meeting, we will be handing out this one-pager to assist with the meeting.

Wonder what your property is currently zoned? Check out Elevate GIS or contact a planner (see below). How about your proposed zoning? Check out the draft zoning map or contact a planner (see below). Don’t have availability for one of these meetings? You can also fill out an online survey here.

The Monroe County Planning Office administers the zoning and subdivision requirements for areas outside of the Town of Ellettsville and the City of Bloomington. We have planners on staff M-F 8AM-4PM that can assist you in understanding any proposed changes. Give us a call or email (P: 812-349-2560; E: planningoffice@co.monroe.in.us).

Article Discusses Future of News in Monroe County
The Limestone Post recently published a guest column by Jill Bond, news director for The Herald-Times. She writes about the upcoming auction of the H-T’s newspaper archives, a local news fund she started at the Community Foundation, and how Monroe County does not have to become a news desert. - Ann Birch

City Accepting Applications to Serve on Boards and Commissions
The City of Bloomington is accepting applications from community members who would like to serve on one of the following City boards or commissions: 
  • Board of Public Works 
  • Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), non-voting
  • Community Advisory on Public Safety Commission
  • CDBG Funding Citizens Advisory Committee
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Commission
  • Parking Commission
  • Urban Enterprise Association
To find out more about these positions and how to apply, click here. Now's the time to play an active role in your government!

Newsletter Staff:
Editor: Ann Birch
Writer: Pat Day-Miller
Proofreader: Kristina Lindborg
With contributions from leadership, committees, and units