President's Blog, April 2020

President's Blog, April 2020

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Blog Post

Blog Post Date - 04/03/2020

There's not much we can do about the virus, but there will be work the League is well positioned to do!

I begin with my profound hope that you and yours are well - as are we, including our doctor daughter who is a hospitalist in Boston.

In the past week I listened to two wonderful virtual presentations by UCI Chancellor's Professor of Law Rick Hasen.  Both were book talks about his latest book, "Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy."  The book was written before the COVID19 pandemic and Rick was scheduled to be our speaker at Lunch with League this month to tell us all about it.   As it turns out, it is even more important in the current situation. 

I'm not going to summarize the content of the talks here - one of the talks is already available on Youtube and the other should be soon.  To watch Rick's conversation with Tova Wang, Visiting Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

I also hope you'll order and read the book - I've ordered it and will find the time to read it no matter what.   The book's focus is on the declining trust Americans have in the electoral process, and the danger that poses to democray - something that deeply concerns us in the League - and League was mentioned in that context during the discussion!

As she ended the interview Tova Wang asked "Do you have some optimism for what will happen in November? Do you think that there's a chance that there will actually be a coming together and maybe a little bit less polarization as people sort of try to come together and make sure that this will happen? "

Rick replied that "We can't sacrifice our democracy when we're facing this virus.  It's critical infrastructure - it's a part of what makes us a great nation.  And so let's do what we can to assure that as many people as possible will have the chance to exercise the franchise and have a successful election in November."

That could serve as a charge to us.  We may not be able to go door to door and to events to register voters.  We may not be able to do Pros and Cons in person - and we may not be able to vote in person at Vote Centers.  Campaigning will also look very different and voters may be so discouraged about the world situation - and their own situations - that folks will be tempted to not vote. 

Addressing challenges like this is right up the League's alley and we must rise to the occasion.

 Stay tuned! 

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Becky Newman

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