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HomeThe Voter Newsletter

Our Newsletter

The Voter features information on our forums and other public events; our neighborhood discussion groups; volunteer opportunities; our voter registration and education efforts; and our work on issues like accountability for local government, climate change, education, health care, and police reform.

Do you have an idea? Send us your news! Contact the Voter Editor at Submissions are due by the 15th of the month for the next edition.

View a PDF of the current issue of The Voter.

Our Mission

The League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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Past Issues

View past issues of The Voter.

GiveBIG This May

Meg Can Wyk, Development Chair

You may be alarmed by recent threats to our democracy. I know I am. We have seen reduced access to women’s health care, voter suppression legislation, and so much more. The good news is that GiveBIG a special 48-hour opportunity for supporters of the League gives you meaningful ways to help save our democracy. Here are three:

  1. Give early. You don’t have to wait until May 2-3 to donate! Early giving is now open. Your early donations will inspire others to support our work. Please give today!
  2. You can connect us with your employer to set them up to match every penny you give to the League.
  3. You can share the news with your friends. GiveBIG makes it easy and fun to help us build a chorus of voices against anti-democratic forces.

We hope you will participate in GiveBIG to support League!

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LWVSKC Endorses Cashless Business Ordinance — with Amendments

Heather Kelly, President

Now that our boys are 7 and 10, my husband has decided that we will become a “ski family.” This means that for the duration of ski season, he takes the boys one day each weekend to ski at Snoqualmie Pass. I have happily embraced the “ski family” tradition, mostly because pre-arthritic knees keep me at home where I can binge Netflix.

From time to time, the boys want to show me their ski skills, so I gamely gear up for a day at Snoqualmie Pass. This cluster of modest, family-friendly ski areas comprises one resort that dots the mountain with various soggy lodges. I pick a lodge and, around 11:30, brace myself for hand-to-hand combat for a table in the soggy dining room.

cashlessThis year, as we stood in line for overpriced curly fries, I noticed a large sign reading, “We no longer accept cash. All major credit cards and mobile payments accepted.” I watched one skier slowly snake through the line only to learn of the policy at the register (he dug around in his wallet and finally pulled out a card, to the relief of his hungry kids). It seemed as though the old adage, “cash is king,” was out of date.

Of course, during the pandemic cash fell out of favor due to concerns about spreading the virus, which later proved to be unfounded. Many businesses kept “card only” policies even after COVID restrictions eased. I wondered if the Summit at Snoqualmie was one of them, or if their policy arose separately. More importantly, it occurred to me that this was yet another potential barrier keeping lower-income families — and anyone without a credit card — off the slopes.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one with concerns. Cashless business policies create a real equity issue. Conducting business with a credit card is not so simple if you are paid in cash or have bad credit, which might be the case for people struggling financially. Undocumented immigrants or young folks without a photo ID can’t open a line of credit and are out of luck at these establishments. Separately, people with concerns about privacy or fraud might prefer cash to swiping a card.

Enter King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who drafted an ordinance that would require businesses in unincorporated King County to accept cash. Early this year, her staff asked LWVSKC to endorse the ordinance. After meeting with staff, reviewing the proposed law, and studying our positions, we still had questions. Specifically, we wondered if requiring businesses to accept cash might increase the risk of theft.

It turns out that the primary opponent of the ordinance, the Washington Hospitality Association, and other small businesses, had raised this concern. In response, Councilmember Kohl-Wells amended the ordinance to:

  1.  Allow retailers to operate in a cashless manner if they provide a device on or near their premises to convert cash into a prepaid card and would set requirements for the use of cash conversion devices;
  2. Set the largest denomination a retailer must accept as a $20 bill; and
  3. Lower the amount of cash a retailer must accept in a single transaction from $250 to $200.

In light of those changes, the LWVSKC Board voted to endorse the ordinance. On the balance, the Board reasoned that cash bans raised significant equity concerns and impeded access to basic goods and services.

The next step is getting the Council to set a hearing on the amended ordinance. The League met with Council staff to identify ways we can take action on that front. For now, we have been advised to stand by while Councilmember Kohl-Wells garners more support for the ordinance. We will keep our members posted on future opportunities to take action on this topic.

You can read more about cashless business ordinances here.

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Looking Forward to LWVWA Convention

Heather Kelly, President

The first weekend of May, a robust delegation of LWVSKC members will head to Pasco, Washington, to represent our League at the LWVWA Convention. At eleven delegates, this is the largest LWVSKC contingent in recent history. The group includes League leaders and new members alike, which means there will be a variety of experience levels and perspectives to share! At the time of writing this, our delegates are busy planning a Zoom meeting to introduce ourselves and strategize ahead of the event. A huge thank you to the group for their service, and we hope you have a wonderful time!

On the LWVWA Program front, our Board received an update from LWVWA regarding the two Program items we asked them to recommend at Convention (based on LWVSKC member input). Those topics were Multi-Member Districts with Ranked Choice Voting and Access to Reproductive and End of Life Services. Earlier this month, the LWVWA Board notified us that while the Ranked Choice Voting item would be presented as “Recommended,” the latter topic would not.

Among the reasons cited for declining to recommend the second topic was the fact that we already have positions, and it is unclear whether an update is needed. It might be better tackled as a public education project using existing information. Third, the Board would rather see this as a project where we partner with other groups that have these issues as part of their core mission. Finally, a lack of defined outcomes and volunteer power were also noted.

You will no doubt receive email updates from LWVWA about the outcome of all votes, but stay tuned to The Voter for hot takes from our delegates. With both Program and Nominees for the Board on the voting agenda, it promises to be a lively Convention! Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates so the wildflowers and fruit trees bloom for our delegates.

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Yard Signs Available!

Meg Van Wyk, Development Chair

Show your neighborhood that you defend democracy with your very own LWVSKC “Women Power the Vote” yard sign. Each sign is 18" by 24" and comes with a metal stand. You can put it in your yard or in your window. For a suggested donation of $20 per sign, you can spread the word about all the League does! To order one or more yard signs, visit our ticket portal.
If you're coming to Voices of Democracy, we'll have them available for pick-up that night. Otherwise, we'll arrange to get your sign to you.

Orders need to be placed by May 10!

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LWVSKC Seeking Treasurer

Barbara Erickson, Secretary

The nominating committee has been working diligently for over 6 months to identify suitable candidates for the next Board of Directors. We are still looking for a C4 Treasurer. Please let us know if you are interested in this position or know someone who is. You can reach us at

Position Description:

The C-4 Treasurer is an officer of the C-4 Board of Directors and a member of the Executive Committee. Some of the duties referenced here are required by the bylaws, but all are needed to maintain the financial health of the organization. The Treasurer is responsible for paying bills for the C-4 organization and keeping accounts in QuickBooks as well as making bank deposits of checks received. The position also includes monthly reconciliation of the bank and Morgan Stanley accounts and reports to the LWVSKC Board. The Treasurer prepares a proposed budget for each year for adoption by the Board, after which it is submitted to the members for approval at the annual meeting. Knowledge of Microsoft Excel is needed.

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May 24 Is Coming Soon — Got Your Voices of Democracy Tickets Yet?

Barb Tengtio, 2nd Vice President

You don’t want to miss out! LWVSKC’s Voices of Democracy Celebration/Fundraiser is right around the corner on May 24 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a/Lation/a Culture at 9635 Des Moines Memorial Dr S, Seattle 98108.

This year’s celebration/fundraiser will focus on our youth and underserved communities and why it is so important to get them involved in civics and encourage their voter empowerment. Every citizen has a voice in our democracy, and that voice is their vote. Help LWVKSC to make all voices heard!

LWVSKC is intentionally holding Voices of Democracy at Sea Mar not only because of its lovely facility and easy access but also to promote awareness of their museum. You are welcome to come earlier (around 4:00 p.m. or so) for a free viewing of Sea Mar’s Museum of Chicano/a/Latino/a Culture, which showcases their history in the state of Washington from post-war immigration to the present time. The museum is a record of how Chicano/a and Latino/a voices have been stifled and amplified over time, making it the perfect venue for Voices of Democracy!

At 5:00 p.m., you can check in to the event and enjoy drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and canapés while listening to the Chief Sealth International High School jazz band. Our guest speakers from the Washington State Latino Community Fund, Aline Aguirre and Cristina Ortega, will speak on the need for civic engagement, especially with our youth and underserved communities. They will discuss what organizations like LWVSKC can do to fully enfranchise all voters. Learn what you can do! Then, Representative Pramila Jayapal will make a recorded appearance, and our Making Democracy Work Awards will be presented.

Join our Voices of Democracy Celebration/Fundraiser this May 24 to learn about the current and planned democracy work for youth and underserved communities. Gain great insights from Aline and Cristina, meet other community members involved in voter empowerment, enjoy some youth-led entertainment, celebrate with Voices of Democracy award winners, and support LWVKSC’s ongoing mission to empower voters and defend democracy.

We are also organizing carpooling resources for the event! If you need a ride or are able to offer one, please complete this form. We will put drivers and riders in touch without otherwise sharing your information.

Get your Voices of Democracy tickets here.

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April Forum Recap: The King County Crisis Care Centers Property Tax Levy

Kim Albert, Program Chair

On Thursday, Apr. 13, LWVSKC co-sponsored a virtual forum with The Seattle Times Mental Health Project.
The Subject:

The King County Crisis Care Centers Property Tax Levy. The proposed levy appears as Proposition 1 on the King County ballot in the Apr. 25 special election. Interest in the proposed levy is strong, as evidenced by the number of people in attendance; 290 people attended the forum live and submitted over 100 questions.

The Moderator:

Michelle Baruchman, engagement editor for the Seattle Times Mental Health Project.
The panelists:

  • Girmay Zahilay, King County Councilmember
  • Leo Flor, Director of King County Department of Community and Human Services
  • Michelle Connelly, REACH Director of Integrated Services
  • Maggie Hostnick, Director of Clinical Programs, Downtown Emergency Services Center

The forum offered a great overview of the Crisis Care Centers proposal, and panelists provided a detailed discussion of its needs and operational impacts. They noted that this levy would provide part, but not all, of the solution needed.
The Issues:

Crisis Care Centers would provide a critical part of an overall behavioral health program that is lacking in King County today. The centers would serve a diverse population throughout King County and offer walk-in behavioral health care, which includes care for mental health and substance use disorders. Crisis Care Centers would give people access to immediate treatment instead of forcing them to linger in expensive hospital emergency rooms and jails or to struggle at home or on the street. Treatment might also occur at an earlier stage of illness than what is available today, enabling more successful prognoses. The Crisis Care Center model exists in other locations and is considered a best practice for providing behavioral healthcare.

If approved, the program would increase funding, training, and certifications for the mental health care field, which is currently understaffed. The program would also restore lost residential long-term treatment beds.

The property tax increase will be significant, estimated at $10/month for the next nine years for the median home in King County. It was acknowledged that the trade-off between property tax increases and providing needed services is always a difficult challenge.
If you missed the forum or would like to see it again you can view it on YouTube.

The Result:

As of 4:00 p.m. on Apr. 27, the King County Crisis Care Centers Property Tax Levy is passing with 57% of votes in its favor.

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April Board Brief

Barbara Erickson, Secretary

The Board met via Zoom on Saturday, Apr. 15 with three board members absent.

We heard a new labor acknowledgment, which responded to the comment that the exploitation of workers is not just a past event but continues to undermine our labor force.

Review of and voting on the budget was the most significant portion of both the C4 and the C3 meetings. The unbalanced budget for C4 projects $125,000 in revenue and $129,379 in expenses, leaving a net revenue of -$4,279. The C3 budget will be finalized to reflect revenues of $103,500 and expenses of $109,250, leaving a net revenue of -$5,750. While these figures are not as we would hope, revenue from fundraising efforts has improved considerably. Please keep in mind that there are assets in both accounts which offset the deficits projected in these budgets.

On the subject of fundraising, the Board wishes to encourage each of you to purchase a ticket for the Voices of Democracy event on May 24 at the Sea Mar Museum of Chicago/a/Latino/a Culture. If you can’t attend, gift your ticket to another who cannot afford it. Better still, buy a ticket for yourself and others. Please cast your net wide to encourage your friends, family and co-workers to purchase a ticket. Information can be found here.

Several delegates from our League will be attending the State Convention in Pasco from May 4 to May 7. Discussion items at that convention might include access to reproductive healthcare and specific requests to the State League for manpower and money.

A DEI consultant is currently working with board members on how to create more actionable plans for DEI, which will be documented in a Strategic Plan.

Under discussion for programs this year is the expectation of some major modifications in the calendar. The Board may decide that it could curate programs from the State League, reduce the number of forums to three per year, and/or be mindful of the idea that forums should be event-driven. We may be able to generate action if we are invited to co-host a forum or galvanize volunteers to present a public-facing event using some hot-ticket item. However, at this time the logistics of presenting a monthly forum are so challenging that it no longer makes sense to attempt such aspirations.

The Board voted by email to endorse an ordinance relating to retail establishments that prohibits retailers in unincorporated King County from refusing to accept payment in cash and adds a new chapter to King County Code Title 12. The ordinance was amended to reduce the amount of cash to be accepted to $20 because of the greater risk of theft of small businesses.

In preparing for the Annual Meeting on Jun. 10, we are deciding on the content of the workbook. There will be small off-board meetings to review the appropriate language for the workbook so that it can be published in a timely fashion for the membership to review before the meeting.

Detailed minutes are posted on the website once they are approved by the Board. The March Minutes will be posted.

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DEI Four-Part Series: Part IV

Barb Tengtio, 2nd Vice President

In accordance with the League of Women Voters’ mission to empower voters and defend democracy, we commit to creating equity for all voters and recognizing that democracy is strengthened by the inclusion of all the diverse voices within the community.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are not buzzwords. They are commitments to our organizational mission.

In an effort to assist all members in embracing this commitment to DEI, the League wants to educate and enlighten by provoking discussion around this topic. LWVSKC is sharing LWVUS information in a four-part series. In February, we covered DEI Basics, and in March we learned how to commit to and understand DEI as individuals. In April, we provided tools and education on how to apply a DEI lens to our work and center DEI in that work. This month, we will conclude our series by looking beyond the basics of DEI understanding and work.

Below are supplemental resources for you to deepen your DEI education. LWVSKC looks to all its members to be a strong voice for diversity, equity and inclusion. To this end, we hope you will discuss some of the following material at a Unit meeting or friend gathering. Perhaps you could view a webinar together or agree to read one of the books and discuss it at a future Unit meeting.


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Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020
By Elizabeth Griffith

Review by Vicky Downs


“Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020” reminds us of the truly formidable women who fought for equality over the past one hundred years. Unlike many such histories that routinely focus on white women, Elizabeth Griffith ensures that women of color are equally included.

Griffith says, “American women had long sought equal legal rights, education, and economic opportunities. White women wanted the same rights as white men. Black women wanted the same rights as white citizens; theirs was never a women-only movement.” Unfortunately, equality for women and Black Americans was elusive, as sexism and racism have been deeply entrenched in our society.

Soon after women won the right to vote, other issues appeared. In Oregon, Emma Gotcher, who worked at a cleaners, sued the owner for requiring her to work longer hours than men because she was a woman. Meanwhile, the “legal terrorism of lynching, dismemberment, and burning in the Jim Crow South,” was the most important issue for Black women at that time.

In 1972, many put aside other issues in order to “pass a bill to grant women the same rights and privileges as men.” This became the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In following years, some states ratified it, and occasionally a state rescinded its decision. Finally, in 2020 the ERA was fully ratified, but the question of whether its protection of women’s rights would actually be added to the Constitution remained unanswered.
This book recalls decades of tension between Black and white women. Griffith reminds us that American history cannot be whitewashed. In the South, “slavery sanctioned the violent sexual assault upon Black women by white men,” and many men enslaved their own children who were born of the enslaved women they had raped.

In the past century, major anti-Black events have taken place. Students were tortured while sitting at lunch counters in drugstores, occupied buses and churches were bombed, white mobs spat on schoolchildren and Black activists were beaten.

Between the 1960s and 1990s, the women’s movement expanded and fractured. New organizations often focused on narrow issues such as food availability, maternal mortality, and women’s disabilities or on shared identity groups such as lesbians, Latinas, or women on welfare.

This was also the time when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade and Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that abortion was “central to a woman’s life, to her dignity […] And when the government controls that decision for her, [they treat her as] less than a fully adult human, responsible for her own choices.”

Griffith makes it clear that the struggles of the past one hundred years are ongoing. “Racial discrimination was still a factor in the 2020 election,” she writes. In fact, “polling indicates that race played a stronger role in voting than gender.”

She explains that soon after WWI, many Americans were “anxious about immigrants and alien ideas like Bolshevism.” A hundred years later, we’ve become anxious about COVID-19, police violence, racial reckoning, immigration, economic uncertainty, and most recently, reproductive rights.

Today many people are “no longer willing to settle for the customary inequities of sexism and racism.”

“We have not done enough,” Griffith says.

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We’d Like to Hear From You!

Not sure who to reach? You can always find us at or 206-329-4848!

Membership coordinator
Saunatina Sanchez is at and holds in-person and virtual office hours. Check our events calendar!

Want to stop by our office? We have office hours every Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  We’re located at: 

Melbourne Tower

1511 3rd Avenue

Suite 900

Seattle, WA 98101

Executive Committee of the Board of LWVSKC


Heather Kelly

First Vice-President

Mary Taylor

Second Vice-President

Barbara Tengtio


Barbara Erickson


Jennifer Pritchard

Directors of the Board of LWVSKC

Action Chair

Lev Elson-Schwab

Communications Chair


Development Chair

Meg Van Wyk


Pat Griffith

Membership Coordinator

Saunatina Sanchez

Program Chair

Kim Albert

Unit Liaison

Sarah Beth Miller

Voter Services Chair

Paula Barnes

Education Fund of LWVSKC

Board members listed above also serve as the Education Fund Board. 

Education Fund Treasurer

Joanna Cullen

Committee Chairs for LWVSKC

Economics and Taxation

Nora Leech


Joanna Cullen

City Climate Action

Callie Ridolfi, interim


Cindy Piennett

Observer Corps

Mary Taylor

Health Care

Mo Brinck-Lund

Nominating Committee for LWVSKC


Adele Reynolds


Ellen Barton


Cathy Dormaier

And if you’re looking for the editor of The Voter, reach out to!

Find us on the web at!

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