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Kristen’s Democracy Cookies (includes printable recipe!)

Kristen’s Democracy Cookies (includes printable recipe!)

By Kristen Harbeson, Political Director

I was asked to share the recipe that I used in the Democracy Kitchen segment of our Voter Registration Couch Party on September 2nd . Here it is! (Check out the downloadable link at the bottom to print)

Democracy Cookies (Adapted from Lil’ Luna’s 3 Ingredient Sugar Cookies)

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup softened salted butter

  • It may seem like a lot of butter, but can you ever have too much democracy? At latest count, there are 331,314,584 people in the United States, whose lives are shaped by the government we elect. The butter needs to be softened, so be sure to take out your butter well in advance. Think of it like applying for your absentee ballot – it may take some time, so you want to plan.

 2/3 Cup sugar

  • Elections are sweet, for sure! But it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of work went into making them possible. The sugar has to be harvested, washed, juiced, purified,  crystalized, dried, packaged, and shipped before you can use it. There is a brutal history of slavery, revolution, civil rights, and worker protections that is in each spoonful of your vote. Every time we cast our ballot, we are honoring the struggles that gave us our expectation of a free and fair election.

 2 Cups flour

  • Not the part of any recipe that gets the most attention, but flour is the constitution of the democracy – it is the skeleton that creates the framework for the other ingredients and flavors in your cookie. Bond measures and ballot questions are an important part of elections, where the electorate consents to changes in the kind of cookie you are baking, and whether or not it’s a cookie at all.

 1-1/2 tsp extract (to taste) 

  • You have as many options on how to vote as you do in what you vote for. You are free to choose whichever flavor of candidate you choose – or even use more than one! It’s a personal choice. I like to add both vanilla and orange, or sometimes lemon. You may want to do research into each of the flavors to see which is best for your cookies, since once you’ve cast your ballot you’ll have to wait for the next election to make a new choice.
INSTRUCTIONS — 5 easy steps!
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and make sure you are registered to vote. Mix the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until combined, and make a plan for how you will vote.
  2. Cover your mixing bowl and chill for 15 minutes to an hour while you research candidates and other election questions.
  3. Shape the dough into 1-1.5 inch balls as you fill in your ballot with a black pen. Roll the dough-balls in sugar and be sure to sign your name to the affidavit on the envelope.
  4. Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and be sure to mail your ballot (or use a drop box) before November 3rd.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden on the bottom. In addition to being too hot to eat immediately, the cookies will need to set for 10-15 minutes while the ballots are being counted, so don’t give in to temptation and try to eat your cookies before they’re cooled.

Attached recipe here

Tell us your story of why you vote here

Voter Question Factsheet here

Back to the campaign landing page here

By |2020-09-04T16:40:25-04:00September 4th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Electoral|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Voting by Mail in the Old Line State

By Kristen Harbeson, Political Director of Maryland LCV

The June Primary has come and gone but the 2020 Election has barely hit its stride. Even as we are facing the rise and fall and rise again of COVID-19 infections, Marylanders are preparing to go to the polls in November.

To pass strong environmental legislation, we must have the right elected officials in office. Nothing is more important to that goal than a robust election where voters’—all voters’— voices are heard and champions are elected that reflect their  conservation values over the interests of those who would pave over forests and eliminate environmental protections. 

To advocate for a fair, free, and safe election, Maryland League of Conservation Voters is part of a large and diverse coalition called “Everyone Votes Maryland.” We hope you will engage in our campaign — including spreading the word — to ensure its success. 

Looking forward through this public health crisis to a critical national election, it is essential that every registered voter make a plan on how they will have their vote heard.

Check your registration

All registered Maryland voters will be sent mail-in ballot applications in advance of the November 3rd election.  Since ballot and ballot applications will not be forwarded,  it’s important that everyone make sure that their registration is up to date. 

  1. Are you registered to vote in Maryland?
  2. Have you moved since the last election?

Check your status here: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch

Apply for an absentee ballot:

You don’t have to wait for your absentee ballot application to arrive in the mail.

Voting by mail is the best and safest way to make your voice heard. Not only is it secure, but it provides a guaranteed paper record of every vote in the case of a recount. In addition, it allows voters time to sit with their ballots and do research, which is especially important for voters with lower literacy levels, or whose first language is not English.

Visit: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1

  •         To receive a ballot in the mail, you must request a ballot by no later than Tuesday, October 27.
  •         Ballots can also be e-mailed if they are requested on or before Thursday, October 30.
  •         You will need to know:
  1. Your voter type (citizenship, military affiliation, etc.)
  2. Your name
  3. Your date of birth
  4. Your State ID number and issue date. This could be a drivers license or MVA-issued ID.
  5. Note that if you don’t already have one, the website will send you to a Maryland Voter Registration Application, which will require an original signature and can not be e-mailed or faxed.
  6. Your address
  7. Your political party (if any)
  8. A contact phone number and e-mail address

You will be asked how you would like to receive your ballot, and be required to swear or affirm that your information is correct: That you are a US Citizen, a Maryland resident, at least 16 years old, and you do not have a current conviction that prevents you from being eligible to vote.

  •   Note: previously convicted felons who have been released on parole or who have completed their time served are eligible to vote by Maryland state law.

Voting by Mail

Once you receive your ballot, you will be able to review the candidates for office and cast your vote safely and securely.

  •         Your ballot must be postmarked on or before November 3, 2020
  •         For ballots sent by mail, postage will be pre-paid. No additional postage will be required.
  •         For ballots received by e-mail, voters will be required to print and mail their ballots with the appropriate postage (2 stamps)
  •         Ballots should be signed and filled out with a black pen
  •         Ballots MUST be signed to be considered valid.

Voting in Person

Some people prefer to vote in person, or have disabilities which make it essential to have in-person voting options. Not to worry!  There will be opportunities for you to visit a voting center.

  •         Each jurisdiction will have voting centers open for early voting from October 22 – October 29th
  •         In-person voting options will also be available on November 3rd.
  •         Voting centers will require voters to wear a mask in order to enter the facility, and social-distancing will be maintained.
  •         Ballot marking devices will be available for voters with disabilities
  •         Same-day registration will be available during early voting and on election day
  •         Voters registering on-site may be required to fill out provisional ballots.

Important Dates:

  • Absentee ballots will begin being mailed out on September 19th
  • Last day to pre-register to vote is October 13th– you will still be able to register in person on election day at your polling location
  • Early Voting for the General Election – Thursday, October 22, 2020 through Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 8 am until 8 pm.
  • Last day to request an absentee ballot is October 29th
  • November 3 General Election – Your absentee ballot must be postmarked by this day

A great how-to video on absentee ballot request from Speaker Adrienne Jones can be found here.

We need to stay vigilant and focused on ensuring every Marylander has the necessary tools and resources to vote. Stay tuned to see updates from us and our partners in Everyone Votes Maryland about the November elections. With so much at stake, we need all Marylanders to exercise their right to vote.  It is one of the best actions you can take to protect and restore Maryland’s land, air, water and communities.

U.S. Congress Passes Great American Outdoors Act

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2020
Contact: Ben Alexandro, balexandro@mdlcv.org, 845-596-9634

U.S. Congress Passes Great American Outdoors Act

Landmark bill will protect open spaces in Maryland and throughout the United States

Washington, D.C. – By a bipartisan vote of 310-107, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a landmark environmental bill that will restore parks and public lands in Maryland and across the country and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Act (LWCF). The bill, which passed the Senate on June 17, now heads to the White House for President Trump’s signature.

“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a significant victory for Maryland,” said Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director, Kim Coble. “The bill guarantees that Marylanders will have access to clean, safe, and healthy parks for years to come.”

The Great American Outdoors Act will allow the National Park Service to restore resources that are deteriorating due to age and inconsistent funding. In Maryland alone, park sites that welcome nearly 7 million visitors and support more than 2,900 jobs each year require $244 million in repairs. The now-permanent LWCF funding is significant for Maryland: The state has received $231.8 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Assateague Island National Seashore, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Maryland also uses LWCF to leverage additional funds, such as state Program Open Space money that funds hundreds of facilities and creates access to local and state parks.

Coble lauded the role of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in shepherding the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress. “For decades, Marylanders have always known that Steny Hoyer would go to the mat for Maryland’s special places,” said Coble. “His tremendous leadership in moving the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress will provide lasting benefits to Marylanders and all Americans.”

The Maryland League of Conservation and its members weighed in heavily in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. Early in July, Maryland LCV organized 36 Maryland conservation groups to urge Rep. Hoyer’s continued leadership, and Maryland LCV reached hundreds of thousands of Marylanders through drive-time radio ads and extensive on-line advocacy in both English and Spanish. 

Here are quotes from other Maryland organizations that joined with us in advocating for the Great American Outdoors Act:

“Our parks are inundated with people — a great problem to have, but our parks need help so they can remain treasures that connect people to nature while preserving delicate ecosystems. The Great American Outdoors Act is that help,” said Emily Ranson, Clean Water Action, Maryland Director.

“The Alice Ferguson Foundation applauds Majority Leader Hoyer’s continuous leadership of environmental causes both locally and nationally. The Great American Outdoors Act will continue to ensure our national parks thrive for future generations,” said Theresa Cullen, Executive Director, Alice Ferguson Foundation.

“GAOA funding will support our Urban parks and recreational spaces that are used by millions of people close to home,” said  Jim Foster, President, Anacostia Watershed Society.

“This passage of the Great American Outdoors Act ensures that our irreplaceable Maryland parks and public lands will continue to be protected, and that all Marylanders will have access to nature. By continuing to provide funds for our parks we help cool our communities with green spaces as climate change heats up, and create opportunities to expand outdoor education programming,” said Denisse Guitarra, MD Conservation Advocate at Audubon Naturalist Society.

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 Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.

Maryland League of Conservation Voters
30 West Street, Suite C
Annapolis, MD 21401
www.mdlcv.org

Latino Conservation Week story opportunities

Tipsheet from Maryland League of Conservation Voters

To: Media
From: Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Chispa Program
Date: July 20,2020
Re: Latino Conservation Week story opportunities

If you are interested in exploring story opportunities around Latino Conservation Week, we wanted to make sure that the Chispa Maryland program is on your radar. Chispa, which means “spark” in Spanish, is a program launched by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2014. Chispa Maryland works with Latinx families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and elected officials to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latinx communities in Maryland.July 18-26 is Latino Conservation Week, or Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra. Latino Conservation Week, an initiative of Hispanic Access Foundation, was created to encourage and demonstrate the Latino community’s commitment to protecting our natural resources.

Chispa is also helping community partners overcome disproportional impacts associated with COVID-19; for example, Chispa recently raised more than $30,000 for the Langley Park MD community to help Latinx families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items. 

Beyond COVID, transportation issues are front-and-center for Chispa this year. Maryland’s Latino communities are burdened by transportation inequities, including unsafe streets, unstable walking and biking environments, and public transit that can be hard to access, unaffordable, and unreliable. This limits Latinos’ access to health-promoting assets ─ affordable housing, green spaces and physical activity, healthy food, medical care, good schools ─ and makes it harder for Latino families to lead healthy lives. Chispa will be working with Maryland’s Latinx communities in the coming year to ensure that their environmental, economic, and social equity goals receive attention from policymakers in transportation-planning decision making.

Chispa Maryland Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo is available for Latino Conservation Week interviews and can also connect you with Maryland partner groups and other Latino community leaders who are fighting for environmental justice in their communities. 

Contact:  Ramon Palencia-Calvo, 202.531.5091, rpcalvo@mdlcv.org

By |2020-07-20T12:50:08-04:00July 20th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Diversity, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Marylanders Support the Great American Outdoors Act

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2020
Contact: Ben Alexandro, balexandro@mdlcv.org , 845-596-9634

Marylanders Support the Great American Outdoors Act

Landmark bill will protect open spaces in Maryland and throughout the United States

Annapolis, MD – Marylanders have rallied in great numbers in support of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a landmark federal environmental bill that they hope will soon pass through the U.S. House of Representatives. Thirty-six conservation groups representing tens of thousands of members in Maryland organized by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters recently wrote to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in support of the bill and his leadership.

“Steny Hoyer has been a champion for America’s parks for decades, and the importance of his work to protect our most special places has never been more evident than it is now,” said Kim Coble, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Over the past few months, we’ve been reminded just how essential our parks and open space are to our physical and mental health. We greatly appreciate the tremendous leadership shown by Leader Hoyer as he has moved the Great American Outdoors Act through Congress.”  

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — which would be permanently funded through the Great American Outdoor Act — has played a crucial role in protecting Maryland’s natural treasures over the past five decades, including such places as the Assateague Island National Seashore, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Maryland has also used the LWCF to leverage even more Program Open Space money to fund hundreds of facilities and open up access at local and state parks. 

“The Great American Outdoors Act also addresses the incredibly important problem of the National Park Service maintenance backlog,” adds Coble. “Even before the economic slowdown caused by coronavirus, these resources were facing unprecedented pressures and threats.” Coble points out that in Maryland alone, national parks currently have a $244,457,125 backlog.

In addition to organizing 36 Maryland conservation groups to thank Leader Hoyer and urge his continued leadership, Maryland LCV has reached hundreds of thousands of Marylanders through drive-time radio ads and extensive on-line advocacy in both English and Spanish. The on-line ads reached thousands in support of the bill and generated hundreds of petition-signers.

“Our members and Marylanders throughout the state clearly consider this bill to be a top priority,” said Water Program Director Ben Alexandro, who has managed the GAOA legislative effort for Maryland LCV. “They know that great parks and open green spaces make stronger, healthier communities. And they appreciate Leader Hoyer’s leadership in moving this bill through Congress.”

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Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.

Maryland League of Conservation Voters
30 West Street, Suite C
Annapolis, MD 21401
www.mdlcv.org

By |2020-07-17T12:28:03-04:00July 17th, 2020|Categories: Clean Water and the Bay, Press|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Statement on Brown, Harris, Booker resolution

Kim Coble, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, issued the following statement today in support of a resolution by Senators Brown, Harris, and Booker to declare racism in the U.S. a public health crisis:

 “The Maryland League of Conservation Voters applauds this resolution from Senators Brown, Harris, and Booker and hopes it will be a first step in dismantling racial systemic policies that perpetuate health disparities and environmental degradation. Too many Marylanders of color suffer from mortality differences and a slew of other daily challenges, including environmental injustices. We need to commit to fighting these injustices and we must address public health problems that are exacerbated by racial disparities.”

By |2020-07-15T16:49:28-04:00July 15th, 2020|Categories: Blog, Equity, Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Langley Park Civic Association Receives $20,000 Grant from League of Conservation Voters for COVID-19 Community Efforts

Langley Park Civic Association Receives $20,000 Grant from League of Conservation Voters for COVID-19 Community Efforts 

Funds will support Langley Park residents who have been disproportionately harmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Annapolis, MD – The Langley Park Civic Association, a nonprofit Latinx led organization that serves individuals residing in Langley Park in Prince George’s County, Maryland has been awarded $20,000 by the League of Conservation Voters to bolster the Association’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Upwards of 80% of community residents are Latino.

“This grant from the League of Conservation Voters will provide a great relief to these families so that they are not left behind, and it will also help our community to move forward together,” said  Cándida Garcia, a board member of the Langley Park Civic Association. “The Civic Association will use these funds to provide direct financial relief to immigrant families that are experiencing hardships related to COVID-19 and increase the capacity of the Langley Park Civic Association to better assist residents of this community during the pandemic and beyond.”

The Langley Park community is a longtime partner of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. The Maryland LCV Ed Fund — through its Chispa Maryland program, and in partnership with community leaders, community members and the Langley park Civic Association — has delivered environmental education workshops, advocacy opportunities and leadership training that has produced  over  30 Environmental Justice and Action “Promotores” (advocacy leaders) from this community. 

“These Promotores and leaders have become the heart and soul of the Chispa Maryland program, and this community has been a key ally in advancing environmental legislation and policies that incorporate environmental justice in Maryland,” said Chispa Maryland Program Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo. “With many community members experiencing income loss due to lay-offs or significant reduction of work hours, and many unable to access federal assistance programs, we consider continued support for the community to be an urgent priority.”

Last May, Maryland LCV Education Fund and Chispa Maryland partnered with the Langley Park Civic Association to also assist its immigrant residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Jointly, the two raised over $10,000 through a 10 day GoFundMe campaign to help families with emergency assistance for rent, food, medicine, and other essential items. 

“During that same May period, we applied for the $20,000 grant for the community from the national League of Conservation Voters’ COVID-19 Fund,” said Palencia-Calvo. “We are thrilled that the funds have now been awarded, because the community of Langley Park continues to experience hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.” 

Those who are interested in supporting Chispa’s COVID-19 community relief efforts should contact Maryland LCV at rpcalvo@mdlcv.org 

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The Maryland LCV Education Fund, a non-profit, non partisan organization, works to strengthen the Maryland environmental community by growing a base of conservation-minded voters across the state. A leading environmental organization in Annapolis, we have advocated for smart environmental policies working to make Maryland a healthy and prosperous place for families and communities. Maryland LCV Ed Fund protects public health by fighting for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and local waters, preserving green spaces, promoting smarter growth and increasing Maryland’s investment in clean energy.

Chispa, meaning “spark” in Spanish, is a program of Maryland League of Conservation Voters Ed Fund launched in 2014. Chispa Maryland has been working to ensure that Maryland Latino families and community leaders are a powerful voice for protecting the environment, our health, and our future. Chispa works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and legislators to identify and address unique environmental issues facing Latino communities in Maryland

By |2020-07-15T13:26:03-04:00July 15th, 2020|Categories: Press|Tags: , , |0 Comments