to Become a
You can start your own
autonomous LOHV chapter.
YES YOU CAN! It's
not difficult, and even a small group of concerned citizens
can make it happen. We provide, to new and prospective chapters,
lots of help to get you started – but
for now, here are a few of the basics - just click
a topic or scroll through:
Government 101 | What's
a PAC? | Getting Started | Things
First, as we recall from Civics class, there
are three branches of Government:
Most commonly in the US there are four levels
These branches and levels combine into a matrix
of twelve distinct governmental jurisdictions which we seek
to influence. The chart below does not show the only possible
configuration – but
it is a fairly common one. The green areas are segments where
new LOHV chapters can be effective immediately:
|State Legislature (State Senate, State House)
||City Council, Board of Supervisors
all states elect judges, so if yours does not, this
may not be an area the LOHV can impact in your state.
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What are Political Action Committees (PACs)?
For better of or for worse our government is, to a very large
degree, controlled by PACs – Political Action
PACs are groups formed to aid the campaigns of candidates likely
to advance the group's interests. Examples of very successful
NRA – the National Rifle Association
The Farm Bureau
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
To enact laws to protect animals from abuse we, too, have
to form a PAC and do what the other PACs do.
PACs do two things to influence office holders:
Electioneering - taking an active part in an
election campaign -- to try to sway public opinion in favor
of a candidate
Lobbying - communicating with office-holders,
such as members of a legislative body, with regard to legislation
with the objective of influencing their action.
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What is LOHV (the League of Humane Voters®)?
The LOHV is a PAC whose goal is to establish animal protective
legislation and ensure their enforcement.
LOHV is different from a 501(c)3
organization in that we concentrate on building voter support
for candidates who publicly commit to animal protective
legislation, and demonstrate that commitment. Further,
LOHV can do unlimited lobbying due to its PAC status. Each chapter focuses
on goals pertinent to its region – ranging from companion
animal issues to animals in entertainment to farm animals to
issues like canned hunting or lethal wildlife management
Steps to establish and run a successful local LOHV Chapter
Establish the legal, financial, and organizational basis
for your chapter:
- File a dba (doing-business-as) form in your state with
the name of your chapter. (e.g. “The League of
Humane Voters of Louisiana”). There are minor variations in state laws
on the precise method of doing this – and your state
may not require it – but a local CPA or attorney should
be able to advise you.
- Start a bank account using the National Organization’s
EIN (Employment Identification Number).
- Adopt a set of by-laws for your chapter (see model by-laws
in the manual).
Have an initial organizational meeting, at
which you should:
- Form a board of directors
- Elect officers
- Keep and file minutes of your meeting
Establish a database of animal protection Voters who
will vote for candidates that will sponsor, support and enforce
animal protective legislation. Some effective ways to do this:
- Work with existing animal protection
organizations in the area. These groups will usually be happy to invite the
local LOHV chapter to speak about the LOHV program to their
membership. The presenters can ask the attendees to sign-up
to be on LOHV database.
- The local LOHV chapter can attend
tabling events in the area and explain to the attendees that LOHV is – asking
them to sign-up to be in the database.
- Petitioning concerning a local animal protection
issue is another way to get voters into the database. On the petition
form have a check-off column captioned “please keep me
informed of candidates who will support animal protection.”
There are several seasons in each calendar year for LOHV:
Lobbying Season – when the local legislature
is in session - that's
usually from early January to late June.
Organizational Season – best time for building LOHV’s
database through petitioning and tabling: July and August.
Electioneering Season – pick your candidates and
actively electioneer for their election: Labor Day (or
Fundraising Season - anytime.
These seasons are not cast in concrete – sometimes you
have to get involved in a primary election; sometimes fund-raising
opportunities present themselves in spring or in summer; sometimes
the legislative session ends early or late – so be flexible
but don’t skip any of the activities mentioned above.
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What is Electioneering?
Electioneering is the process of helping
to get an animal-friendly candidate elected. Whether
he or she is the incumbent or a new candidate, your chapter
can help assure victory by volunteering at the campaign headquarters,
making calls, stuffing envelopes, or filling in as the candidate’s
staff can best use your people. The best way to help, though,
is to get “out
there,” going door-to-door on behalf of the candidate,
handing out informational packets (provided by the candidate)
to potential voters. Dress appropriately, and put both your
and the candidate’s best foot forward. Want to know more?
Call or email us to ask for our CD we created to help new chapters
More About Lobbying
Lobbying is the process of meeting with legislators
to discuss legislation that affects animals’ interests. There
are paid lobbyists, working for everything from the oil companies
to the NRA – but LOHV lobbyists are not paid. We make
appointments with candidates to ask for their support for
legislation that protects animals, and for their opposition
to legislation that will harm or allow harm to animals to continue.
Lobbyists should be dressed appropriately, be fully informed
on the legislation and its potential impact. Other tips for
successful lobbying are available on our CD, which you can
request by email or phone: