are quiet on the election front in Northern Nevada, the National League has
commented on some of the close elections around the country. These high profile 2013 races remind us all
that one vote can make a big difference, and the League continues to work hard
to assure voter participation. Despite
that and efforts by many others, one in four eligible Americans is still not
registered to vote, and voter turnout of eligible voters is dreadful.
efforts continue around the country, and the League has applauded the DOJ
lawsuits against North Carolina and Texas on this front. Last week I participated in a panel on this
subject for a CLEW (Coalition of Labor Union Women) convention at the Grand
Sierra in Reno. My co-panelist was
Keesha Gaskins, Senior Counsel with the Democracy Program in the Brennan Center
for Justice in New York. Keesha has been
a part of many of the lawsuits against these laws and is a regular guest on
PBS. Things are quiet on this front in
Nevada, but I expect it to heat up when the legislature reconvenes.
The League has
lobbied the US Senate on repairing the section of the Voting Rights Act
invalidated by the recent Supreme Court decision. Given their track record, however, it’s
doubtful anything will be done. The
League has also submitted a statement to the Presidential Commission on
Election Administration outlining the five key suggestions for improving the
polling place experience for voters: 1) Secure online voter registration, 2)
Permanent and portable statewide voter registration, 3) Expanded early voting,
4) Improved polling place management, and 5) Electronic streamlining.
On the budget
front, the League deplored the recent shutdown of government, and urged
congressional conferees to oppose cuts to the SNAP
(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), again to little avail. They joined in a letter to Congress urging
them to end sequestration cuts, protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
from benefit cuts and defend core programs for those most at risk.
environmental front, the League opposed legislation which would allow power
plants to continue dumping unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air,
and encouraged support of new regulations to control carbon pollution from new
power plants. We ran another forum on
Global Warming in Reno last week (prior one was in Carson City a few months
ago), with Dr. Michael Dettinger from Scripps in California. The turnout was disappointing, but the slides
are available on the website.