Nov - Dec 2012 Voter

This Issue

LWV of Polk County


Tues, Nov 6
General Election

Sun, Nov 11
Veterans Day

Thu, Nov 22
Thanksgiving Day
* * * * *
Sun, Dec 9
Hanukkah Begins
Tue, Dec 11, 5-7 pm:
LWV POLK Holiday Celebration, 1524 Easton Dr, Lakeland

Tue, Dec 25
Christmas Day

Wed, Dec 26
Kwanzaa Begins
* * * * *
Tue, Jan 1
New Years Day

From the Treasurer


Thanks to the following for their generous donations made during Sept 17 to Nov.15:

Susan B. Anthony*
Lois Cowles Harrison

Other Contributions*
$289 from some of the groups to whom we presented the Constitutional Amendments.

*These are not tax deductible

All donations to the local League benefit our programs and are greatly appreciated.

Polk Educational Fund
Tax deductible contributions made out to “LWV of FL educational fund” and on memo “Polk Education Fund”. These funds can be used by Polk County for Educational purposes and for part of our State and National dues.  Currently this fund has $590.44

 New Members 

The League now has
 71 members!

Please welcome the following new members who joined the League in the past few months:
  • Kathy Bedgood
  • Liesse Chable
  • William Mohr
  • Mary DeMarco Scanlon
  • Charlene Hypes
  • Dean Hypes
  • Salma Nawlo
  • Catherine Jones

Flag Waving

Speakers Bureau

We made 24 presentations to approximately 1,200 people on the Constitutional Amendments on the ballot!

Additionally, we did a radio presentation on WWAB and a TV talk show on the Amendments on PGTV. People were very appreciative to get this information.

Thanks to the following for making presentations: Larry Hardaway, Wanda Howard, Mary Jo Jarrett, Paula Mims, Nancy Simmons, Sue Schultz, Janet Stevens, Ann Weeks and Jerry Weeks.  Special thanks to Jerry and Paula for their great work on coordinating the TV talk show!

In the New Year we plan to start doing additional presentations explaining how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act works . If you would like to be a presenter on this, please contact Janet Stevens at  
If you know of an organization that might like a speaker, please contact Janet Stevens at  or 863-510-5184.


Beyond the Voting Booth

by Ann Weeks, Registration Chair
How about the last election season?  We can take two breaths and get started for the 2014 election. 
                          Smiley wink

The League was busy:  Sue Schultz chairing the Forms was a big task.  Ann Weeks chairing the Registration Drive and Janet Stevens chairing the Speakers Bureau.  (Speakers Bureau is still giving presentation on Affordable Health Care Act.)
To stay up on Voter Registration, the Executive Board is looking for a new Registration Chairperson. 

The plan is to:
  • Hold registration drives throughout the calendar year
  • Conduct drives into all parts of the county
  • Keep LWV Polk informed about changes in Voter Registration Laws and
  • Arrange for the locations and staffing of a voter drive.
This is a chance to use your creative talents.  If you are interested contact Mary Jo Jarrett.

Chuck Geanangel

League members should note the death of Chuck Geanangel who led us on a recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve and pointed out birds we should see and hear.  He spent much time woking as a volunteer at Circle B and leading nature walks for both Sierra and Audubon. Every environmentalist in Polk County will miss him.

See The Ledger article on Chuck here

Beverly Sidenstick

   Holiday Celebration

The League of Women Voters of Polk County invites its membership and friends to gather together to celebrate the seasonal holidays.

Tuesday, December 11
5 - 7 pm
Home of Paula & Tom Mims
1524 Easton Drive, Lakeland
Bring a friend and holiday treat to share!
(863) 686-0357 or

President's Message

This was a very busy election season for the League. During this season of Thanksgiving and Friendship, I wish to Thank every Member who participated in any way with the League activities. I hesitate to list names because there were so many of you-- from attending the forums, and reading the voter guides, to putting on the forums, presenting programs, participating in the activities, and registering new voters. Each of you can feel very proud of what we accomplished as a League. I will add my special appreciation for the Polk LWV Board along with some very active and dedicated members. Each and everyone contributed many hours to the success of our outreach effort during this election season. Thank You. When you get a chance please THANK the members of your Board, they are hard working on your behalf. (See election season summary for information on our League activities.)
As we go forward into the New Year, we will be looking at updating program positions, continuing our support of public libraries, informing public on the Affordable Health Care Law through the Speakers Bureau, learning more about our schools and hopefully enjoying a special event at Lawton Chiles Center for Florida History.  The State League will also have a legislative seminar in Tallahassee that many will choose to attend. A variety of activities for a diverse membership.
I am looking forward to seeing all our members and friends at the Holiday Gathering Tuesday Dec. 11th. This is an excellent opportunity for new members to informally meet others and our seasoned members to meet our newest members. Please plan to come and enjoy the gathering.
The new year will be here soon with new opportunities for your participation.
In League,
Mary Jo

   PS - When making end of year contributions to worthy organizations, donations to the Education Fund FOR Polk County LWV are always appreciated.

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Election Activities Summary

by Mary Jo Jarrett
Finally, all the new elected representatives are chosen and most have been sworn into office. Its been a very long election season. For the League our activities started as early as April planning for the election season activities: 

  • The League submitted questions for the local newspaper's election edition.
  • Two of our members, Karen Welzel and Lillian Liam, decided to learn about campaigning first hand and jumped into the races.
  • The League had a series of meetings to plan for the election season activities.
  • Sue Schultz moderated candidate forums for the primary and general elections.
  • Posters and flyers, and articles were used to get the word out.
  • PGTV provided the forums to Polk County residents and also on Cable TV.
  • Ann Weeks took on voter registration activities for the League after the court ruling on HB1355.
  • LWV Polk participated in National Voter Registration Day Sept. 25th.
  • We learned about the 11 amendments added to the ballot and Judicial Retention at the Leader's Council in Tampa.
  • The Speaker's Bureau, coordinated by Janet Stevens was a vital part of the League election activities to inform the Voters.
  • Speaker teams went out into Polk County --East to Davenport, Auburndale, Winter Haven, South to Lake Wales, Bartow and back to Lakeland and more. We presented 25 programs to more than 1250 Polk Voters.
  • Paula Mims and Jerry Weeks story-boarded a TV presentation on the Amendments. It was presented by several board members and was edited by Jim Ging of PGTV.
  • Several members participated on radio programs about voting, registration, the League candidate forums, the ballot amendments, and judicial retention.
  • We distributed 14,000 Voter Guides in English and Spanish throughout Polk County.
  • Barbara Stampfl worked with the libraries which provided a public service making guides available. Voter guides were spoken of highly and sought because of their non-partisan information.
  • We offered a new League Facebook Page showcasing all activities, along with many links on our homepage to assist those looking for good sources of information.
  • Jerry Weeks, our Voter Editor and Webmaster kept our election season activities front and center in the new age of social media.
 Everyone used their special talents as TEAM POLK LWV and the result was a very successful season of informing and preparing Polk County citizens for the election.  See the pictures below for some of these activities.


 LWV of Polk County held a Hot Topic TV show on the Amendments!

On Wednesday, October 3, the LWV of Polk County taped a TV show on PGTV. We covered a range of topics including, primarily the Constitutional Amendments, County Ballot Question, merit retention, our upcoming forums, and Be Ready to Vote. Here's pictures of rehearsal and taping in the studio:

              Taping in StudioTV Show rehearsal 


 Picture Gallery

Photos from some of the 2012 Constitutional Amendments presentations the Speakers Bureau has been conducting before the November election. 
 Paula presentingMy experience as a Speakers Bureau participant...

As I joined fellow League members to present during this years' election season, our presentations were met with great enthusiasm. From civic groups with their own political action committees like the Jr. League of Greater Lakeland to a United Methodist Womens' circle group at First UMC, our audiences were consistently interested and engaged. Questions were sincere, ranging from basic to well-informed.
Amazingly, potentially dry material came to life when we discussed all of the aspects of the multitude of issues addressed by this year's initiatives. I was encouraged by the gratitude expressed at each presentation because it really meant we were educating citizens to be informed and involved in their government...and that's truly what the League is all about!
Paula Mims

   Ann Weeks presenting                  Audience listens intently
Ann Weeks presenting  Large audience listens intently

Jerry Weeks in front of slideJanet Stevens                                        Jerry Weeks
Janet Stevens presenting 


  Registration Activities

Judy Walker on location                                      Ann & sign
Ann and Voter Registration signJudy Walker on location 

Sue Schultz at bus station

Pictures from October Forums

            Ann                        Mary Jo Jarrett          Sandy Sheets & Janet    
                                         Candidates Panel


Lobbying Priorities

 by Mary Jo Jarrett

In the Fall, the Polk LWV submitted our legislative lobbying priorities to the State League. The State League looks at all the priorities submitted by the local leagues in putting together its legislative lobbying priorities. The State Action/Lobbying Effort will address issues during the legislative session as different issues are introduced and prioritize their efforts.
Our top three priorities below were submitted after surveying LWV Polk Membership. (also included areas of mention and concern)
#1 Education in Florida with the Issues for Action.

Especially interested in promoting the extension of public school test of student achievement to private schools, charter schools and any institutions that receive state funding.
#2 Government in Florida with the Issues for Action.

Florida Constitution Especially promoting the strengthening of the Florida Commission on Ethics including the areas of independence, subpoena power and ability to levy fines and initiate an investigation. And extension of ethics reform to county and city government. and continuing support for reapportionment process.
Election Law Issue for Action: Support greater flexibility in the selection of early voting sites for the SOE
also need greater accessibility for voter registration - fewer restrictions
Areas of fairly equal interest:

#3 Financing and Delivery of Health Care
Action Item: Support implementation of the Federal Health Care Reform Law in Fla. and the Medicaid Program
#3 Sustainability Issues (Transportation)
#3 Social Policy in Florida (Children and Families)
Other Areas of Mention and Concern:
  • Request that State League Develop Privatization Positions
  • Handgun Control with emphasis on the Stand Your Ground Law which denies due process of law.
  • Natural Resources especially WATER - Restore Funding to Water Management Districts
  • Maintain Support at State Level for Public Libraries
  • Immigration - create a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants and explore how privatization process affects immigration and immigration policy
The Top Three Lobbying Priorities Selected By The Local Leagues Of Florida:
Government in Florida
  • Strengthen the Florida Commission on Ethics, including areas of independence, subpoena power and ability levy fines and investigations.
  • Support greater flexibility in the selection of early voting sites for Supervisors of Election.
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Sunshine laws
  • Limiting Legislature’s ability to use trust funds to balance state budget
  • Implementing sales tax on Internet sales
  • Review corporate tax structure; closing of corporate tax loopholes
  • Review of sales tax exemptions
  • Sufficient funding to implement class size amendment
  • Restore funding for K-College
  • Stop legislative mandates for the schools, especially when no funding is provided.
  • Extend public school testing of student achievement to any schools that receive state funding, i.e., private schools, charter schools.
  • Provide adequate funding for public schools; mandate that funding private or charter schools depend on their meeting the same standards set for public schools.
Social Policy
  • Implement the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid program.
  • Support women’s rights.
  • Support legislation to aid children of illegal immigrants in their pursuit of citizenship.
  • Oppose anti-immigration bills, such as those passed in Arizona.
  • Review sentencing guidelines
  • Support restoration of voting rights for ex-felons.
In the Natural Resources and Sustainability area, most Leaguers are concerned about water quality and water conservation.

     Front                                                                           Back

Super Leaguer Tee-shirts Order Form 

(for members only)

Tee Shirts are $18 each and will be shipped to one location. We will distribute to those who order via our events, a central pick-up location and home delivery if needed. Payment is due when you receive the shirt!  Please circle the cut you want and your size. The Ladies cuts are more tailored and run one size small!

Ladies’s sizes – XS, S, M, L, XL

General sizes – S, M, L, XL, XXL, (XXXL –can be special ordered)

Your Name: ______________________________________

e-mail:      _______________________________________

Phone #    ________________________________________

Please send the above to Treasurer, LWV of Polk, PO Box 934, Lakeland, Fl 33802-0934 or email this information to

Election Trivia

by Ann Weeks

Congratulations to the Staff of the Polk County Elections Office who did a great job during this election season.  Seventy one percent of 352,659 registered voters cast a ballot. Determining the requirement of personnel, equipment and location of polling places must be a statistical nightmare.
For some interesting information about what happens before the vote is announced, here is a True or False quiz:
1. The absentee ballot counts if you do not sign the return envelope.
               T   F
2. Your signature must match the election’s office record.
               T   F
3. You must sign and date the Absentee Ballot’s return envelope.
               T   F
4. A person with power of attorney may sign for you.
               T   F
5. You can’t vote by fax.                       
               T   F
6. If I miss-mark my ballot, the scanner will accept my ballot.
               T   F
7. Absentee Ballots are not counted except in a close race.
               T   F
8. There are five people on the canvassing board.
               T   F

  1. False   No, your ballot does not count. 
  2. True    Absentee ballots signatures are review by the elections office staff.  If the signature in is question the canvassing board makes a determination.  A signature can be cursive, printed, check mark or an x.  It must match the signature on file. 
  3. True 
  4. False   Only the voter can sign the return envelope. 
  5. False   “Federal Absentee Ballots” can be submitted by fax.  Some places allow e-mail returns. 
  6. False   You vote at the polls and the scanner rejects the ballot you get two more chances.  That is a total of three ballots.  If you vote by absentee or mail in you are unaware that the ballot was not accepted by the scanner.  The elections office hires and trains citizens, in pairs of one Democrat and one Republican, to replicate your spoiled ballot.  This also applies to fax ballots.  Then once more unto the scanner goes the ballot. 
  7. False   That internet rumor, at least in Polk County, is not true!  The canvass board met on October 31.  At that time 77,307 ballots were mailed out.  The number of return ballots was 48,958.  The canvass board had to review 498 ballots.  The board approved the elections office to start counting the absentee in ballots. 
  8. False   This election had three people on the canvassing board.  There was a county commissioner, a judge, and the Supervisor of Elections

Contact Us

      BOARD OF DIRECTORS                             OFF-BOARD SPECIALISTS
Mary Jo Jarrett, President               Lynn Mawhinney            Membership, Lynn Mawhinney  
               644-8527                              668-5555                                668-5555           

Paula Mims, Vice President        Nancy Simmons            Judy Walker, Voter Service Guide
686-0356                                       291-3734                                     299-9285       

Ann Weeks, Secretary               Jerry Weeks                          Fundraising & Government
648-4127                                      948-4127                              Paula McKay Mims  

Janet Stevens, Treasurer                                                      Library, Barbara Stampfl
510-5184                                                                                   687-2787                                                 

Sandra Sheets                                                                Speakers Bureau, Janet Stevens

Sue Schultz, Voter Service Elections                           Voter Editor / Webmaster         
646-4634                                                                          Jerry Weeks                             


Copyright © 2012 The League of Women Voters of Polk County, All rights reserved.
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