July 2020 Newsletter

JULY 2020 NEWSLETTER

GRANDPARENTS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE


Let’s Get Serious About the Upcoming Elections!

For what seems a very long time, we’ve been gearing up for the 2020 election knowing it’s one of the most important of our lifetimes. With just four months remaining, it’s vital to be informed and active. Those qualities already describe our members and supporters. In this and future newsletters, we’ll continue focusing on what we can all do to exert the most positive influence on local, state and federal races, and of course, the race for president. Following are some helpful steps to get started.


STEP ONE:
 Be an Informed Voter!

Lots of links to follow, but well worth it!

  • Confirm your registration is in order by checking it at vote.orgTo determine if you’re eligible for an absentee ballot, click here.
  • Read this short piece from the June 21 New York Times that gives a general overview of how to vote.
  • Find more information about national and local candidates who’ve received the Moms Demand Action “Gun Sense Candidate” distinction plus the endorsement of Everytown for Gun Safety. (As a 501(c)(3) organization, GAGV cannot make political endorsements.) You can research gun sense candidates here

As noted in the New York Times piece above, it’s important to know your state’s voting laws. Here’s what we know to date:

KANSAS

Click here for an excellent document regarding Kansans’ voting rights prepared by The Kansas Coalition for Citizen Participation.

MISSOURI

In early June, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed into law SB 691 which expands options for absentee and mail-in voting for the 2020 elections. The new law allows voters who have contracted or who are at risk for contracting COVID-19 to cast an absentee ballot without a notary. It also allows any Missouri voter to cast a ballot by mail without an excuse, though in that case a notary is required. In response to this, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, ACLU of Missouri and the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition on behalf of the NAACP and League of Women Voters, filed a lawsuit to ensure that ALL voters can cast a mail ballot without a notary requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, many voters still need to have their absentee or mail-in ballot request notarized. The Missouri Supreme Court returned the case to the trial court to assess the claims in light of the law’s recent changes. Stay tuned.

The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition has prepared the following excellent chart about absentee voting. 

FYI: GAGV is a member of both the Kansas Coalition for Citizen Participation and the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition.

STEP TWO: Be an Action Voter!

  • Support a local candidate with contributions of time, money or both. Your work can impact an election’s outcome.

  • Join with GAGV and MainStream Coalition in the Voter to Voter project to increase voter turnout in Kansas by identifying people you know who vote infrequently and need a little extra encouragement to get to the polls. Voter to Voter shares information including voter registration and mail-in ballot deadlines, how to find a sample ballot before heading to the polls plus dates/times/locations for early voting. That information makes it more likely those infrequent voters will actually vote, particularly when that information comes from someone they know and trust. The July 14 & 15 dates are getting close, so it’s important to register now for Voter to Voter using the GAGV tool. Over the next few weeks we’ll provide tips, tricks and instructions about how to get started.

    While this project is directed at Kansas voters, many Missouri GAGV members have Kansas contacts and can also participate. Missouri also plans a similar project and we will keep you posted as information becomes available.

  • Participate in The Big Send, a campaign to write and mail 10 million letters to potential voters. Sending a letter is one of the easiest things a volunteer can do to encourage voter turnout. All it takes is a few minutes plus a stamp to help increase the odds that 10 million more of our fellow citizens will vote in November. Click here to find out more.

Updates on Recent GAGV News

June 22 meeting: our first ever Zoom member meeting was a tremendous success. We had 71 participants hear updates on GAGV activities undertaken despite the pandemic. With so many wanting to safely participate, we’ll plan a few more Zoom meetings before the October 12 virtual Community Forum. If you missed the June meeting, read the minutes here.  

Vision Quilt: we continue encouraging members to create a panel for this virtual quilt.  Attached is a sampling of some of the most recent panels including Jodi Dinkins combining two GAGV activities: wearing the panel she made as she participated as a GAGV team member in MainStream’s June 13 “Walk the Vote.”

We have material for 50 new panels and are so ready to get you on your way, we’ll happily arrange delivery to you!  Vision Quilt’s founder, Cathy DeForest, produced a short video just for GAGV about Vision Quilt. It includes suggestions on how to prepare a panel. View it here.

 


Mark Your Calendar

Monday July 6: GAG SWAG DRIVE-THRU
3 – 6 pm
Colonial Church front circle drive
7039 Mission Road, Prairie Village

All GAGV spirit wear including hats, shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase at special discounted prices. We will be accepting cash or checks only, and all volunteers will be wearing gloves and masks.

We’re here to serve you from the safety of your car. Wave to your friends and receive a complimentary, ice-cold Orange Crush or sparkling water plus a free “I VOTE TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE” button to wear with your GAGV swag.

Monday July 6: THE VOTE”
8 pm on KCPT

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Vote tells the story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote. It was a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history.

Tuesday July 7: A conversation about gun policy with Parkland survivor Sari Kaufman
7 – 8 pm
Zoom Meeting Link
Meeting ID: 726 4761 2751  

Sari Kaufman, student activist and survivor of the February 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will discuss policy measures aimed at preventing gun violence, including her perspective on active-shooter drills in schools. GAGV president Judy Sherry will also participate and share her personal thoughts and vision for gun policy and safety. Sari will be familiar to those who heard her speak at the October 2019 Community Forum. The event will be moderated by Laura Loyacono, Democratic candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives, District 36 in south Kansas City.

Monday July 27: Zoom membership meeting & program: “Every Vote Counts!”
4 pm on Zoom
(Link will be emailed prior to the meeting)

Join us to hear Nadine Johnson, Executive Director of ACLU of Kansas, discuss their efforts to ensure equal and robust access to voters across the state. On a national level the ACLU is fighting to advance access to voting by mail, early voting and safe in-person voting options.

Ms. Johnson became Kansas’ ACLU executive director last July after leaving the Los Angeles office of Google as their Manager of Strategic Operations and Community Engagement. A graduate of Tulane University’s School of Law, she also served as a U.S. diplomat in West Africa and the Middle East and was a law professor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

Monday October 127th Annual (virtual) Heartland Coalition Community Forum
9 am – 12:30 pm, in the comfort of your own home or office

This year’s theme of Gun Violence: Going Beyond Thoughts and Prayers will feature three different panels of local leaders from business, government and the faith community discussing what steps they’re taking beyond thoughts and prayers to promote gun safety. The Forum agenda will provide flexibility for participants with breaks between panel presentations.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday, then it’s back to work to get out the vote!



Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

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