The Voter
July 2019 Newsletter




(No Luncheon in August)


Wednesday, September 4

Nicolette Springer, LWV Florida Legislative Advocate

Nicolette is the Legislative Advocate for the League of Women Voters of Florida, empowering voters and helping improve the lives of all Floridians. She will speak on advocacy and lobbying techniques.

She is also a criminologist, educator, mother of two, and proud Girl Scout leader. With a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, she served as the assistant director of the Criminal Justice Mental Health Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center where she focused on program evaluation and policy analysis across the state of Florida. Nicolette’s research areas include mental health court, drug court, and corrections.

Where: Season's 52 at the St. Johns Town Center, 5096 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246

When: Wednesday, September 4, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

RSVP Required no later than August 30 to Nora Manahan: or (904) 476-6443

Cost: $20 cash or check only, please

Reserve your seat today, and please forward this newsletter to friends.  


Naturalization Ceremonies at USCIS offices
(near JTB & I-95)

July 12 and 26

Every month, we work with the USCIS to help register new voters as soon as they become citizens. We help them fill out the voter registration form and answer any questions they have about the election process in the US and Florida.
If you’re interested in becoming certified or want to learn more, please contact Dianne Main at


Centennial Celebration Committee

The League of Women Voters will be celebrating 100 years of service across our nation in 2020. If you'd like to assist in developing and coordinating our Chapter's celebration, contact Lanelle Phillmon at 904-382-4478.


Change to LWVJFC Membership Renewal

Please note the following change to your annual membership renewal. These changes were approved at the annual meeting June 5, 2019, and are reflected in the bylaws. The 90-day grace period has been dropped, and there is no penalty for renewing late. It was difficult to maintain, and our database was consistently inaccurate, so we proposed to discontinue the practice. 

The initial notice will be emailed the first week of the 11th month, and the follow-up notice will be emailed the first week of your expiration month. For most members, your expiration date is the last day of the month in which you joined. If a renewal is not received by the expiration date, the account will be changed to inactive. If your payment comes in after it has been deactivated, your account will be reactivated.

Although there is no penalty for being late, you will drop off of our membership roll during the time your account was inactive. This ensures that our database is always up to date. You will now receive three emails instead of five regarding your membership renewal. Please contact Karen Parish at with any questions or concerns.

Visit Our Website

Stay up-to-date on all our Upcoming Events by visiting the League of Women Voters Jacksonville / First Coast website.


June Voter Registration

Our chapter has been very busy engaging local citizens in registering to vote, ensuring their voter information is current and creating awareness about the impending SB 7066. We registered 175 voters in June, and a total of 945 voters so far in 2019.

Clockwise from top: 
May 29 Saint Johns Riverkeeper viewing of Human Element at Sun Ray Cinema.
June 13, World Refugee Day, at Southside Baptist Church.
June 15, Juneteenth Celebration at The Ritz Theater and Museum; a new Florida resident registers to vote, also at the Ritz.

To learn about becoming certified to register voters, contact Dianne Main

League Supports Petition Gathering for Open Primaries for Florida

All Voters Vote is organizing a petition drive in Florida for state offices (Governor, Cabinet, State Senators, and Representatives), and The League is supporting this drive. The League will provide copies to members for signature gathering, but members are encouraged to print, sign, and mail the Constitutional Amendment Petition Form — and share this with others in their communities.

Dianne Main will serve as coordinator for our chapter and will mail petitions in on a regular basis. Recently approved legislation requires submission of a citizen initiative petition to the appropriate Supervisor of Elections within 30 days of collecting the signature, so please do not hold on to petitions once you receive them. 

The final deadline for Open Primaries petition submission to the state is February 1, 2020; however, all petitions must be turned in at least one month before that date to ensure time for signature verification. 

Amendment 4 Update

Amendment 4 was approved by the voters last November, but the legislature has passed SB 7066, a bill greatly restricting the ability of citizens with past felonies to register to vote. The governor has indicated that he will sign it.
To assist with the heavy burden created by SB 7066, the League has crafted a CLE-approved training course for volunteer attorneys (and other non-lawyer volunteers) to help persons with felony convictions register to vote.  The training is being provided by Cecile Scoon Esq. Rights Restoration Liaison, 1st Vice President LWV Florida in different locations throughout the state but is available for viewing/attendance via live webinar. Those in Jacksonville interested in attending a future training session should contact Lanelle Phillmon at or 904-382-4478. 
Finally, please share this training and engagement opportunity with those in the legal field and also, let us know of of any grants, foundations, or funders that might be able to help with the costs of administering the volunteer lawyer program, all donations big and small are appreciated.

LWV Florida 37th Biennial Convention in Naples

On June 7 and 8, over 160 members from Leagues all over Florida convened at the Naples Ritz Carlton for the League of Women Voters of Florida biennial convention for workshops, sharing ideas, bragging about their League chapters, and, during our plenary sessions, displaying how thoughtful people can engage in debate, disagree, and then come to consensus. We have truly amazing people working in our state Leagues all over Florida, and I was honored to represent Jacksonville/First Coast.

The most important workshop session I attended was Celebrating the Centennial. As you all know, the League of Women Voters will have been in existence 100 years on Valentine’s Day, 2020. The League has made tremendous gains in the past 100 years, and it is up to us to let our community know that we celebrate our past and are still advocating for positive change for the future.

Leagues all over the country are already preparing to celebrate. We have sent out several Calls to Action to our own members regarding setting up the Jacksonville/First Coast committee. Unfortunately, the response has been less that we had hoped. We cannot let this opportunity pass. As members, it is our responsibility to let our community know what the League has accomplished in the past 100 years. We are asking that each of you step up and be counted. We need all members to be willing to participate in some way.

First and foremost, we must establish our League’s core committee. Please send an email to me at if you would like to be a part of this historic celebration.
— Karen Parish

LWVJ/FC Healthcare Committee June 2019 Report

Mary McLaughlin, Chairperson

This committee’s most recent meeting was after the 06/05/2019 general luncheon meeting at Seasons 52. Eight (8) members (Connie Pegram, Valerie Munz, Gale Chrisholm, Linda Ward, Ursula Seelig, Susan Aertker, Jan Perry and Mary McLaughlin) were in attendance.

Topics discussed included:

1. Updates on the collection of signatures on the Medicaid Expansion Petition, the committee’s primary focus at this time, were given and discussed. 
a. This endeavor is now entering Phase II in that 81,690 signed petitions have been verified by the state Division of Elections, i.e., greater than the 76,632 signature threshold required for the petition to be reviewed by the FL Supreme Court to determine if it meets legal standards. 
b. If they do sign off on it, another 766,000 verified signatures are needed to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot to expand eligibility of the Medicaid program to people whose incomes are up to 138% of the federal poverty level. 
c. This expansion, which is optional for states as part of the ACA, is financed 90% by the federal government and has been approved in the past by over 37 states. 
d. Our committee has as a goal to collect 1000 signatures before 2/2020. Presently, we have submitted about 140. For all members of LWCJ/FC submitting petitions, if printing out forms yourself, printing needs to be on both sides of 1 piece of paper, NOT on 2 pieces of paper even if stapled together. Also, it is preferred that they be given or mailed to Mary McLaughlin (551 Rutile Dr., Ponte Vedra Beach 32082) rather than to the address on the back of the form.
e. Mary McLaughlin has e:mailed the LWVJ/FC board asking that Jennifer Cowart, M. D. be a speaker at a LWV-JAX monthly luncheon to present an informative, understandable overview of Medicaid Expansion by the end of the year and is waiting for a response.
f. Several petition collectors have been asked to show some kind of ID RE: their status as a member of the LWV. Mary will look into where LWV pins or some other type of LWV ID can be obtained; however, they should not say that they represent LWV as petition signature collectors; rather that they are concerned citizens. They can say that they are members of the LWV. Karen Parish has initiated the printing of an ID for new members with a membership expiration date and, possibly, a generic one for all present members.
g. The effect of the FL Governor’s signing of HB 5 on volunteers collecting petitions RE: "fines for each petition received by the supervisor of elections more than 30 days after the elector signed the petition” was questioned. Mary has learned since then that there is no effect, presently, and will not be known until the FL government reviewing committee has interpreted the law in detail, which should be done before the law goes into effect sometime early in July. Mary will notify the Healthcare Committee as soon as more is known.

2. Jan Perry gave an update on what is MOLST or POLST (documents similar to Living Wills). The committee is considering whether to be involved in encouraging FL to set up a data base of existing advance directives under this program based on the results of future research by Jan into the process.

3. Gale Chisholm offered to look into whether the committee might be involved in expanding the Program to Save Lives, which addresses support for persons recovering from opioid addiction in Duval County, to other FL counties by contacting Bill Guilliford (the LWVJFC February 6 meeting presenter). She will also include in her potential discussions with him what Duval County is doing RE: the funding of the recently passed SB 366/ HB 171 - Infectious Disease Elimination (Needle Exchange Bill). 

4. Mary McLaughlin is looking into whether LWVFL would consider supporting SB 972/HB821 RE: PA's and ARNP's to practice autonomously, if these bills are to be resubmitted in 2020.

Florida League Supports Efforts to Ban Assault Weapons

In support of our League position to support Gun Safety, our League has entered into partnership with Ban Assault Weapons Now (BAWN) to gather OVER 700,000 petitions across the state of Florida to get an amendment on the November 2020 ballot, allowing the Florida voter to decide if we want to remove assault weapons from our community. Our League is committed to gathering 3,000 petitions.

Please go to the BAWN website to download, print, sign, and mail a petition in support of BAWN.
HB 5's  new requirements do not impact our ability to gather petitions as we are not paid petitioners. We will continue to gather petitions and mail them in to the Ban Assault Weapons NOW organization.  There have been over 103,000 petitions turned in across the state but we need to work diligently to support this effort.

If you are interested in supporting our community engagement for petition gathering, contact Lanelle Phillmon at or 904-382-4478.



Annual Meeting

At the June 5, 2019, meeting, Rick Mullaney of Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute spoke about the core values of integrity, civility, service, and stewardship.

This was also our League's annual business meeting, and a quorum was present to to elect new board members, make a change to our bylaws, and approve a budget for the coming year.
The proposed budget of $18,341 was approved. For details, see last month's issue of The Voter.

All the proposed candidates for the Board of Directors were elected as presented:
Office Candidate Term ends
President Ashish Bajaj 2020
Vice-President Lanelle Phillmon 2021
Treasurer Sandy Martin 2021
Secretary Marianna Kane 2020
Speakers Bureau & Environment Angela DeMonbreun 2021
Communication Amy Mitchell 2021
Education Kathleen Kane 2021
Membership Karen Parish 2020
Voter Registration Dianne Main 2020

Members of the 2020 Nominating Committee will be Kathy Carithers, Janice Waters, and Cathy Wilder Sharp.

The proposed change to the bylaws was to Article VI Financial Administration, Section 3 - Dues.  
Annual membership dues shall be the sum of local, state (LWVF) and national (LWVUS) dues.  LWVUS and LWVF dues are set by those entities.  Any dues increase enacted by LWVUS and LWVF shall be effective the date required by the enacting body.  Local dues shall be set, effective immediately, at the Annual Meeting by a majority of the voting members present provided a notice to do so is published in the newsletter.  All memberships are renewable 12 months after the anniversary date of the initial payment.  Notice of renewal will be sent in the 11th month.  Any member who fails to pay dues by his or her expiration date shall be dropped from the membership rolls.

A motion was made by Kathy Carithers, seconded by Susan Goldring to table the motion to change the by-law. However, the vote was passed to change the by-law by the majority of the members present with Kathy and Susan voting against.


We can't do it without you! Please join in recognizing our new and returning members from June.

New Members—Welcome aboard!

Hugh Carithers
Michelle Burgoon

Returning Members—Thank you so much for choosing to renew!

Katherine Carithers
Elena Rigg
Ursula Seelig
Susan Schantz
Patricia Jones
Rebecca Lee-Duffell
Christopher Martin
Sandy Martin
Surindar Paracer
Kathleen Paracer
Donna Padgug

Please email if your name was missed.
Please use this address regardless of any forms or documents to the contrary.

League of Women Voters Jacksonville First Coast
PO Box 330353
Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
To stay up to date on the latest events and action opportunities, Like and Follow our Facebook page.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. We influence public policy through education and advocacy.
Copyright © 2019 League of Women Voters Jacksonville/First coast, All rights reserved.

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