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Oct 2020-The Electoral College: Perils & Possibilities for the 2020 Presidential Election

CWI’s program for the October 27th virtual meeting, “The Electoral College: Perils and Possibilities for the 2020 Presidential Election” will provide information on the Electoral College, its history, current practice, and future possibilities.  Contrary to what many assume and what we have witnessed in past elections it is not the popular vote but the votes cast by the Electoral College that elects the President of the United States. Professor Gerardo “Jerry” Vildostegui, a lawyer specializing in voting rights from the Brennan Center will explain the legal underpinnings of the Electoral College and how States determine their Electoral College votes. Pam Wilmot from Common Cause will provide information on how The National Popular Vote Compact would make the country’s popular vote determine the Presidential election outcome and other solutions including proposals to end the Electoral College. Ronnie Pawelko from The Alliance for Justice will discuss other concerns relating to the Electoral College system and provide a reminder of the rules for 501 (c) (3) and 501 (c) (4) organizations advocacy during and after elections and provide examples of activities that may and may not be engaged in.  The meeting is organized and moderated by CWI’s Vice President for Legal Affairs, Jeanette Lim Esbrook.  

Pam Wilmot is Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause where she oversees a nationwide network of 30 state offices and advisory boards. She has added this responsibility to her longstanding work as Massachusetts Common Cause Executive Director.  She is an expert on the electoral college, campaign finances, ethics, elections and transparency laws. She also is the Director of the National Popular Vote initiative to ensure the winner of the popular vote receives 270 Electoral Votes and becomes president through the National Popular Vote Compact. She has a J.D. from Northeastern University, a Masters in social work from Smith College and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She received the John Gardner Public Service Award in 2017.

Ronnie Pawelko is Senior Counsel for the Bolder Advocacy program at The Alliance for Justice and is based in AFJ’s Washington, DC office. Through trainings and technical assistance, she provides nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations with accessible information, resources, and information so organizations can safely navigate complex laws and rules as they pursue systems change. Ronnie received her J.D. from Albany Law School and her B.A. from Russell Sage College. Before joining AFJ, Ronnie was General Counsel at Family Planning Advocates of New York State. Previously, Ronnie served as Health and Human Services Team Counsel for the New York State Senate and as staff attorney for the MergerWatch Project.

RSVP to the October 27, 2020 Zoom meeting here. At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.

Next Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues Zoom Meeting will be Tuesday Noon, Nov. 17, 2020 to Discuss Post Election Priorities for Women’s Issues.

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Get Out the Vote Strategies to Promote High And Diverse Voter Turnout

During the June 2020 meeting of the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues (CWI), Karen Mulhauser discussed the critical work of her new organization, Every Women Vote 2020, as well as the current and historical challenges women face casting their ballots this year. With the upcoming most important federal election of our lifetime, CWI aims to continue the conversation led by Board Member, Megan Corrado to explore in further detail how we as organizations and individuals can mobilize to increase voter turnout amongst women and marginalized communities.

Please join CWI and a distinguished panel, to explore strategies to increase voter registration and ensure the voices of all Americans, particularly those from communities that have the most at-stake in November. The discussion will highlight the legal, economic, practical, and—now, in light of COVID-19—health barriers their communities are facing in exercising their right to vote, as well as lessons learned from previous mobilization efforts, opportunities for others to engage and help increase voter registration and turnout. Confirmed Panelists are:

Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation (feministmajority.org and feminist.org) and former President of the National Organization for Women, (NOW). She has fought on the frontlines for women’s equality for more than five decades. In the 1970s, as President of NOW she spearheaded the drive to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the largest nationwide grassroots and lobbying campaign in the history of the modern women’s movement. Smeal also pioneered the use of the Internet as a feminist organizing and research tool by launching the Feminist Majority Foundation Online in 1995. Today, she is working hard and successfully navigating the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 to ensure the momentum of Feminist Majority Foundation, its 501(c)(4) affiliate Feminist Majority, and Ms. Magazine continues ever forward in the fight for gender equity. Always the organizer and practical realist, she will speak about her team’s efforts to mobilize young people through campus outreach in targeted states.

Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander Vote (APIAVote.org). APAI focuses its research and action on Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. It provides regional training and field programs to enhance local grassroots efforts to mobilize these constituencies for the 2020 census as well as elections. Ms. Chen serves as the President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition-building, institutional development, and partnerships amongst the corporate sector, government agencies, and the non-profit and public sectors. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform. Chen serves on the Steering Committee for National Voter Registration Day, Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board, and the board for the Center for Asian American Media. Ms. Chen will speak about efforts to enfranchise the Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

Ms. Janice Mathis, Esq., serves as the Executive Director for the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Inc., an 85 year old non-profit organization of organizations ( comprised of 300 campus and community based sections and 32 national women’s organizations). Ms. Mathis has broad based experience as a lawyer, negotiator, advocate, administrator and team builder. Prior to joining NCNW Ms. Mathis served as the VP of the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF) and also served for decades with Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. as General Counsel and Chief of Staff to the Rainbow Push Coalition. Ms. Mathis earned a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and is a graduate of the Lumpkin School of Law at the University of Georgia.

NCNW was founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, later led for decades by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, and currently by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. NCNW’s mission is to Lead, advocate for, and empower women of African American descent, their families and communities. Ms. Mathis will describe successful strategies used by African
American Women and their male allies to get out the vote.

RSVP to the September 22, 2020 Zoom meeting here. At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.