We are a truly grassroots organization
The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause.
Positions result from a process of of member agreement about that topic which is reached by group discussion after thorough research and study on the topic is presented in an unbiased manner,. The purpose of having a League position is to use that position to influence public policy.
Fairfax Area League in Action
The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause. Positions result from a process of study and member agreement. Any given study, whether it be at the National, State, or Local League level, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details presented in an unbiased manner. The purpose of having a League position is to use that position to influence public policy All League positions result from thorough research on a selected topic that is presented to the members in an unbiased manner. Members are asked to give feedback on questions about the topic through a process called consensus (or concurrence) where, if there is enough member agreement on answers to the questions, a series of statements can be formulated about that topic. Those statements about the topic are called a "Position." Once a League board approves the wording of the position, it can be used by that League for advocacy and action. Without a position on the issue, action/advocacy cannot be taken.
Take Action Now
The 2019 Virginia General Assembly will convene on January 9, 2019. Currently, legislators are submitting bills for introduction in the GA. The public can track the kind of bills that will be coming up in this 2019 Session by going to the Legislative Information System (LIS) here. The League of Women Voters of Virginia publishes action alerts for League members to act on in timely fashion. The LWV-FA recommends its members to review the Action Alerts at LWV-VA and call or write to their state legislators as soon as possible in support of our issues.
Link to Our Positions page for LWVFA, LWV-VA, LWVNCA, and LWVUS Positions
For the latest LWVFA positions, click: Here We Stand - COMPLETE, Revised July 2019 (Full statements of Fairfax Area League positions along with other Leagues’ positions). For LWV-VA’s latest Positions, click POSITIONED FOR ACTION.
2019 Budget Testimony on the FY 2020 Budget for Fairfax County, submitted, April 10, 2019
Speaking on behalf of the League, co-president Judy Helein submitted the four following statements on the FY 2020 budget.
1. We want to thank you for fully funding the schools and giving pay increases to our teachers and county employees. This pay increase is overdue and well deserved.
2. We support the added and much needed funding for behavioral health such as Diversion First and initiatives to address the opioid epidemic. These are important steps to providing mental health and substance abuse services in the community rather than through incarceration.
3. We urge our County to make funding decisions in accordance with OneFairfax that promotes diversity and inclusion in our community. This includes funding for affordable housing and efficient transportation.
4. Our County’s election office will likely need funds to enhance its already strong satellite absentee voting program and a repeat of the 2015-2016 reserve fund established for the eventual replacement of elections equipment. We are fortunate that our County has the resources and expertise to hold multiple well-run elections each year. We hope that you will make this funding available to ensure that we continue to have state-of-the-art elections equipment.
Fairfax County, VA: February 24, 2019 –Good news! The Virginia General Assembly voted for a Redistricting Commission.
We want to thank the General Assembly, our partner OneVirginia 2021, and our local and state League members. The League has been working on redistricting reform for decades, and this new legislation will end partisan gerrymandering in our state. This year alone, our League has sent e-alerts, attended Lobby Days and rallies in Richmond, met with our legislators, held redistricting forums and gerrymandering movie viewings, and dropped off leaflets. Redistricting is our #1 priority, and we celebrate this critical reform. Read more.
2019 Testimony to the Fairfax Delegation to the General Assembly
January 5, 2019
Good morning, members of our Delegation to the General Assembly. I am Wendy Fox-Grage, Action Co-chair of the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area. Our League is a nonprofit volunteer organization that has proudly been active in Fairfax County for 70 years. We want to thank Delegates Keam and Watts and many of you in our Fairfax delegation for recognizing our 70th anniversary through a House of Delegates proclamation. We are very appreciative of this recognition, and we are proud to live and volunteer in Fairfax County.
Our League supports the 2019 Fairfax County Legislative Program. We are especially supportive of the positions on elections, domestic violence, weapons, and behavioral health. We strongly advocate for adequate resources to provide much needed human services and to promote voting in fair and transparent elections.
The following five issues are high priorities for our League:
· Redistricting Reform in terms of an independent commission: Action by the General Assembly is needed during this upcoming 2019 legislative session for this reform to be in time for the new Congressional and General Assembly maps to be drawn based on the 2020 Census numbers.
· Equal Rights Amendment: It is time to ratify the ERA to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of gender.
· Voting Rights: Let’s guarantee voting rights for all citizens ages 18 and older, and provide funding to support the personnel, services, and equipment needed for well-managed, accessible, fair and secure elections throughout the Commonwealth.
· Gun Violence Prevention: The enactment of “red flag” laws would allow law enforcement or family members to petition a judge to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms to avert shootings.
· Behavioral Health: We need to ensure that much-needed mental health and substance abuse services are available for those who need it.
The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area urges you to act on these important election, human rights, and human services issues. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
Statement: LEAGUE SUPPORTS DRAFT 2019 FAIRFAX COUNTY LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM, BUT WISHES FOR ADDITIONAL POSITION STATEMENTS
Fairfax County, VA: December 2, 2018 – The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is submitting this statement of support for the Preliminary DRAFT 2019 Fairfax County Legislative Program. We are especially supportive of the positions on elections, domestic violence, weapons, and behavioral health, which are high priorities of our League. We are proud and fortunate to live in a County that advocates for adequate resources to provide much needed human services and to promote participation in elections.
However, we would like to suggest that Fairfax County support the following additional items that are currently not included in the Legislative Program.
Additional Position Statements for Consideration
• Redistricting Reform in terms of an independent commission: Action by the General Assembly is needed during this upcoming 2019 legislative session for this reform to be in time for the new Congressional and General Assembly maps to be drawn based on the 2020 Census numbers. • Equal Rights Amendment: It is time to ratify the ERA to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of gender. • Gun Violence Prevention: The enactment of “red flag” laws would allow law enforcement or family members to petition a judge to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms to avert shootings.
STATEMENT: LEAGUE SUPPORTS NO EXCUSE ABSENTEE VOTING
Richmond, VA: September 18, 2018 – The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is submitting this statement of support for No Excuse Absentee Voting to the Joint Subcommittee on Election Review. Our League’s support of equal and easy access for voting across the Commonwealth includes legislation to allow all registered voters to vote absentee prior to Election Day without specifying a reason. This support covers absentee voting either by mail or in person.
Reasons to Support No Excuse Absentee Voting
· All voters should have equal access to the ballot.
· No voter should have to provide personal unrelated information to cast a ballot.
· Voters have found it very confusing about their eligibility to vote before Election Day.
· Voting absentee in-person is as secure as voting on Election Day.
· Local Election Offices have had success in reducing long lines on Election Day by encouraging absentee voting.
· For voting absentee in-person, eliminating the cumbersome process of completing the absentee application would save time as well as the expense of printing the form.
· Extra personnel are needed to explain the form and check it for completion before a voter can proceed to checking in.
· Eliminating the use of the application form would speed the voting process considerably. Read more here.
STATEMENT: LEAGUE SUPPORTS FAIRFAX ELECTORAL BOARD AND GENERAL REGISTRAR AS THEY WORK TO REMEDY PROBLEMS WITH VOTER ADDRESS CHANGES FROM THE DMV AND TO ENSURE THAT FAIRFAX REGISTERED VOTERS ARE ASSIGNED TO THE CORRECT ELECTION DISTRICTS
Fairfax County, VA - The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area supports the General Registrar and the Electoral Board in their scrupulous efforts to ensure the integrity of the voter registration rolls in the County. At the same time, the League will continue to advocate for increased funding to protect a fair and just electoral process. Fairfax County is fortunate to have the resources and technological expertise to address the problems; the same is not true of many other Virginia cities and counties.
Members of the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area attended the Fairfax County Electoral Board meeting on January 10, 2018 to learn about the current problems with voter registration address updates and the very small number of voters who were assigned to wrong districts.
We appreciate and support their efforts to correctly process the voter registration transfers made at the Department of Motor Vehicles for over a year by people who were previously registered within the Commonwealth but who now have new addresses in Fairfax County. The problem does not impact voters who registered directly with the elections office or with groups such as the League. Also, this problem does not affect new voters.
We were also reassured that the number of voters voting in the wrong districts is extremely small in Fairfax County and did not affect election results. We support their investigation and correction efforts on both of these matters.
One of our top legislative goals for 2018 is to advocate for adequate funding of elections. It is imperative that all election offices in Virginia have the funding and resources to address these problems and to ensure elections integrity. On January 6, 2018, our League testified before the Fairfax Delegation to the General Assembly to advocate for this funding: 2018 Testimony to the Fairfax Delegation to the General Assembly.
We will continue to monitor these efforts and advocate for transparent and sound elections.
2019 Budget Testimony
Please find the LWVFA 2019 budget testimony here. LWVFA Action Chair Helen Kelly presented the testimony to the Board of Supervisors.
2018 Testimony and Action
Our 2018 legislative goals:
· Dedicated Funding for Metro
· Adequate Funding for Elections
· Non-Partisan Redistricting
· Background Checks for All Gun Purchases
Businesses and new college graduates are attracted to Northern Virginia because of the opportunities created by Metro. This translates into $600M in revenue for Virginia’s General Fund – enough money to pay for higher education and for the state police. Please provide funding that will allow it to maintain its infrastructure and equipment to meet the needs of our region and of the Commonwealth.
We ask you to provide realistic funding for Virginia’s electoral system. This includes adequate funding for the Department of Elections staffing, systems and support of elections and for the funding that supports these services at the local level. Over the years, demands made on election offices have increased while funding has decreased. We urge you to do your part to protect our right to vote by providing adequate resources to all election offices in Virginia.
Another requirement for fair elections is nonpartisan redistricting. We strongly urge you to work toward this goal with a process that includes: 1- Specific timelines for the steps leading to a redistricting plan; 2- Full disclosure throughout the process; 3- Public hearings on the plan proposed for adoption; and 4- All meetings subject to open meeting laws. Now is the time to pass legislation that gives Virginia’s voters their full voice in our elections.
In March of this year, the District Attorney of Brooklyn, New York, announced the arrest of 22 Virginia residents in the largest gun bust in Brooklyn history. Based on ATF data, Virginia ranks among the top 10 states supplying crime guns to other states. Exit Polls showed that gun policy was the second most important issue after health care in the 2017 election. Now is the time for Virginia to pass laws mandating universal background checks on all gun purchases to reduce gun trafficking and to protect all of us.
2017 Testimony and Action
We understand that FY2018 will be another challenging budget year. Because we believe they affect our safety, our mobility and our quality of life, we have singled out these four budget topics:
Diversion First + We understand that you cannot launch the full expansion of services planned for the coming fiscal year. Diversion has measurable benefits for all of us, and it costs less than incarceration. That is why we urge you to devote whatever funding you can find to at least partially expand these services in the areas of most critical need. We believe that addressing mental illness is just as important as addressing cancer and that doing so is good for the entire community.
Human Trafficking Prevention + We support your budgeting for a Human Trafficking Policy and Prevention Specialist. In 2016, the DC Metro area was the fifth largest hub in the country for human trafficking. We hope that having one person whose only job is to focus on this issue and be a point of contact for law enforcement and for social service agencies will help reduce this crime in our area. It is heartbreaking that girls 12 to 14 years of age make up the largest group of teens who are victims of sex trafficking. We support the collaboration of various County agencies that have developed lessons for sixth grade through high school to explain Human Trafficking and to educate teens about how to avoid becoming victims. We applaud all efforts to reduce this modern form of slavery in our area.
Transportation + The League has long advocated for a dedicated funding source for Metro that would be sufficient for the company to maintain its infrastructure and equipment to meet current safety standards. We applaud your support of all County transit options and of the Silver Line extension. We are pleased that you have added four full-time positions to support our County and regional networks. We applaud your goal to make County destinations safely accessible to pedestrians and to bicyclists as well as to transit and to automobiles. We support your efforts to maintain and upgrade our transportation network and hope these measures will reduce congestion and air pollution.
Parks and Libraries + While many of us consider them nice to have, for lower income families, Parks and Libraries are absolute necessities. The free classes, activities and internet access provide communication and recreational opportunities these families cannot obtain any other way.
Women's Legislative Roundtable
What We Do: We provide a non-partisan forum for the discussion of public policy issues and the legislation to address them.
Why We Do It: As a non-partisan group, we can be a forum for citizens to learn about issues that state legislators are address in the General Assembly. We provide the opportunity for citizens to learn about what is happening at the legislature during the General Assembly session.
How We Do It: Invite legislators of all parties to speak about and explain pending legislation. We allow non-profit groups to speak about issues that they are tracking and advocating.
League of Women Voters of Virginia rules for the Women's Legislative Roundtable (WLRT) are that:
the WLRT be a forum for the exchange of information;
the WLRT be inclusive of every interested woman in the state;
the WLRT not advocate specific action on any issue, but alert participants to the facts of pending legislation affecting women with information on the possible impact;
the WLRT involve as many Virginia Delegate and Senators as possible; and
a sitting Senator or Delegate sponsor the WRT so that we may reserve a room in the General Assembly building and be listed on the day's calendar.
Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
Turning Point Plaza, located in Occoquan Regional Park (a part of the Northern Virginia Park Authority - NVRPA), was named for a "turning point" in the suffragists' movement to obtain the right to vote for women in America + the incarceration of more than 100 women at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, near today's Occoquan Regional Park.
Turning Point Plaza (TPP) was originally created by NVRPA and LWVFA to serve as a memorial to the suffragists who were arrested, incarcerated and physically abused at the [then-nearby] Occoquan Workhouse, as well as at the D.C. jail, for picketing President Wilson's White House in 1917 for the right to vote. (The Workhouse was part of the DC jail system and across Route 123 from where Lorton Prison was later built. Today, Fairfax Water Authority's Griffith Water Treatment Plant sits on the land where the Workhouse was located.)