STATE VOTER
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy
April 2021
STATE CONVENTION!!!! June 7-12, 2021 Virtual
Convention is Coming!! Are you ready?
 
Plans for the 59th LWVNYS State Convention are being developed. Have you registered yet? If not, you can register online at: https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/sZpfeEihvqiA-AOCUoRKMQ
Register by May 1 (this Saturday!) to receive the early bird special rate of $50! After Sat, the rate will be $75. 

You can see the full Registration Kit here:
 
The Pre Convention Kit is also now available. View and download it by clicking here: Pre Convention Kit. In the Kit is all the information that will be voted on during the plenary sessions at Convention: Nominating Committee Report of 2021-2023 Board, Proposed 2021-2022 LWVNYS Budget, Proposed 2021-2023 Program, and Proposed Bylaw Amendments.
 
The Agenda for Convention is as follows:
Monday, June 7
5:30-7:30 pm          DEI training: Shay Stewart-Bouley
Beginning Our Journey Toward a More Equitable and
Inclusive Organization
 
Tuesday, June 8-Thursday, June 10
5:30-9:00 pm          Workshops and Caucuses
 
Friday, June 11
5:30 pm                   Opening Plenary Session            
6:00 pm                   Speaker: Dr. Deborah Turner, LWVUS President
6:30-9:00 pm           Plenary Session (continues)
 
Saturday, June 8
9:30 – 10:30            Workshops and Caucuses
10:45 -12:00            Workshops and Caucuses
1:00 - 5:00               Plenary Session
 
The tentative list of workshops and speakers are also in the Pre Convention Kit. After your register, you will be emailed a chart of all the workshops with links to register for the specific ones you choose; these registration links will be available by April 30. But, read about all the great workshops planned:
Monday, June 7, 5:30-7:30 pm
  • DEI Speaker: Ms. Shay Stewart-Bouley
Beginning Our Journey Toward a More Equitable and Inclusive Organization
 
Tuesday, June 8, 5:30-7:00 pm
  • Virtual and Hybrid Candidate Events
  • People Powered Fair Maps: Redistricting in NYS
  • Media: Fact or Fake
Tuesday, June 8, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Concurrence with LWV of California’s Position on Criminal Justice
  • Nonpartisanship: How to Lift Up Our Voices in Hyper-partisan Times
 
Wednesday, June 9, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Proposed Climate Change Resolution
  • Modernization of Election Systems
  • Social Media and Websites for Local Leagues
Wednesday, June 9, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Healthcare Through a DEI Lens
  • Ranked Choice Voting
  • GOTV: Building Effective Programs
 
Thursday, June 10, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Rural Places Matter: the LWV and the Other New York
  • Changes in our Election Administration System
Thursday, June 10, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Carbon’s Big Foot and You
  • NYYCI: Engaging Youth in Our Communities
  • Stand Up, Speak Out: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights
 
Saturday, June 12, 9:30 – 10:30 am
  • LWVNYS Proposed 2021-2022 Budget
  • LWVNYS Proposed Bylaw Amendments
Saturday, June 12, 10:45 – 11:45 am
  • Program Planning
  • Meet the Nominated Slate of Officers and Board Members
  • Proposed Climate Change Resolution
 
REGISTER NOW SO YOU DON'T MISS OUT! Click on the link: https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/sZpfeEihvqiA-AOCUoRKMQ
People's Hearing on New York State Redistricting
Thursday, April 29th
6:30 pm -8:00 pm

Join us for the League of Women Voter's first ever virtual People's Hearing on New York State Redistricting! Our virtual hearing will allow New Yorkers from around the state to present testimony on why redistricting matters to them and their community of interest.
 
Click here to register via Zoom for this event:
 
We are excited to announce LatinoJustice PRLDEF and APA Voice have signed on to co-sponsor our virtual hearing on why redistricting matters to communities of interest throughout New York State. Other expert testifiers include:
  • The Center for Law and Social Justice
  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Disability Rights New York
  • New York Immigration Coalition
  • Chinese-American Planning Council
  • NALEO Educational Fund
  • Hispanic Federation
  • New York Law School
 
The hearing will take place on April 29th, from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm and will be available via Zoom webinar and Facebook live.
Legislative Update
Jennifer Wilson, Jennifer@lwvny.org

2021 State Budget Wins!
The state budget officially passed on Thursday, April 8th. We are pleased that this year many of the League's budget priorities were included in the final budget proposal. Through our lobbying efforts the League was able to secure:
  • $4 million for the state’s first ever Independent Redistricting Commission;
  • $2 million for early voting expansions;
  • $5 million for the State Board of Elections to implement new election programs;
  • $20 million for county board of elections to reimburse the cost of technology and equipment upgrades;
  • And full phase-in of Foundation Aid owed to New York’s schools.
 
Thank you to our members who helped advocate for these critical funding needs! This successful budget outcome would not have been possible without your grassroots support.
 
The state budget is only one part of the League’s extensive legislative agenda. Now that the budget has been passed our efforts will focus on ensuring an open and transparent redistricting process, expansion of early voting and absentee voting options, reforming the state’s ethics enforcement agency, a New York State Voting Rights Act, a New York Health Act, medical aid in dying, and many other comprehensive good government reforms.
 
Assembly Passes Restoration of Voting Rights for People on Parole
On April 21st, the Assembly passed legislation to restore voting rights to all formerly incarcerated individuals including those on parole. This legislation will codify and improve an Executive Order put forward by Governor Cuomo in 2019 that allowed partial pardons to those who were on parole to allow them to re-register and vote. The Executive Order was limited in that each person would have to be regranted their voting rights by the Governor's office and would have to re-register themselves without assistance from the Board of Elections or another agency.
 
This legislation will automatically restore voting rights to all justice-involved individuals after they complete their sentencing. The legislation also ensures that there is adequate notice to each individual when their voting right is restored and provides an opportunity for them to easily re-register as a voter. The bill passed in the Senate in February and is now headed to the Governor to be signed into law.
 
League Signs Joint Letter on Legislative Transparency During COVID
Although COVID restrictions are beginning to lessen throughout the state, the Capitol and Legislative Office Building remain closed to the public. Both houses have moved their committee meetings and legislative sessions to a remote format but the Assembly has offered far less accommodations than the Senate.
 
The State Senate has webcast all meetings since 2009; the Assembly announced its intention to webcast in 2016, but has not fulfilled this promise.
 
The Assembly has recently used video conferencing to hold committee meetings, including the recent March 23rd meeting of the Judiciary Committee at which the Assembly’s impeachment investigation was discussed. Yet despite this meeting being held via Zoom for Assembly Members and its lawyers, the public was only able to listen to the meeting through an audio feed. While audio for this meeting is archived on the Judiciary Committee website, audio for other committee meetings are not currently archived.
 
It is extremely difficult for the public to monitor committee meetings and understand members’ votes and views on important legislation. The League and six of our good government partners sent a letter this week to NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie asking that the Assembly fully webcast all its committee meetings and archive committee videos on its website. You can find a copy of our joint letter here.

Post Budget Advocacy Packet and Training: Wednesday, May 12th @ 7:00 pm
Now that the state budget has passed, the League is focusing its advocacy efforts on voting, good government, health care, and pay equity reforms. The League has created a post-budget advocacy packet to help local Leagues in their advocacy efforts for the remainder of the legislative session.

We will hold a remote training via Zoom on May 12th at 7:00 pm to discuss these legislative initiatives and answer questions members may have.


And click here to view our post-budget advocacy packet. 
Voter Services
Judie Gorenstein, JudieL728@aol.com

The LWVNYS Voter Service Committee remains committed to working together with the local Leagues to fulfill our mission of registering and educating voters and GOTV. In March the three new toolkits had been completed, put on our website and emailed.

On April 15, LWVNYS held a voter service zoom meeting to help Leagues prepare for the 2021 election season when they could probably hold both in-person and virtual activities and events. The importance of planning, reaching out to underserved communities and groups with low voter turnout was highlighted, as well as gathering data to see the impact of your efforts. Four Leagues from different geographic areas and targeting four different communities agreed to share what their Leagues had done and or were going to do this year. Presidents and voter service chairs of all local Leagues, MALS and ILOs were invited. (They were also encouraged to invite other members who were actively involved with voter service.) Over 80 people attended this April 15 meeting. They were able to hear excellent presentations and get some answers to some difficult questions!
 
How Do We Reach Out to Low Voter Turnout Districts and Know If We Are Making An Impact?
 
How Do We Reach Out to Hispanic Speaking Communities And Know If They Are Listening?
 
How Do We Reach Out To Our Youth And Know If We Are Making An Impact?
 
How Do We Reach Out to People With Disabilities And Know If We Are Making An Impact On Registering And GOTV
 
To view the full report and summary of each of these presentations, click here. Everyone was very impressed with what Leagues had accomplished. 
 
Do you have new ideas or questions about virtual candidate events and GOTV? Contact your local League to help participate in their activities.

Attend our workshops at Convention!
New State League Website
The State League is excited to present its new website to the public! It is still at www.lwvny.org but it has a new modern look with the same wealth of information. But, your computer may not realize that you want it to go to the new website and keep taking you to the old site. If this happens, you need to delete your browsing history. See below with the different browsers (it's not as difficult as it sounds):

In Chrome
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More .
  3. Click More tools. Clear browsing data.
  4. At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select All time.
  5. Next to "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files," check the boxes.
  6. Click Clear data.

In Firefox
Clear all cookies, site data and cache
  1. In the Menu bar at the top of the screen, click Firefox and select Preferences. Click the menu button. and select Options. ...
  2. Select the Privacy & Security panel and go to the Cookies and Site Data section.
  3. Click the Clear Data… button. The Clear Data dialog will appear. ...
  4. Click Clear.

How to Delete Browsing History on Yahoo!
  1. Click on the "History" button, located on the top section of the Yahoo! browser. ...
  2. Click on the ">>" (double arrow) button on the top of the History panel and select "Clear" from the drop-down menu options.
  3. Click "Yes" when prompted to confirm deletion. You have cleared the browsing history in the Yahoo! web browser.

Internet Explorer Delete your browsing history
  1. In Internet Explorer, select the Tools button, point to Safety, and then select Delete browsing history.
  2. Choose the types of data or files you want to remove from your PC, and then select Delete.
Local League News
Though the national elections are behind us, local elections will occur in the not to distant future. Please join us for a lively discussion about myths and facts about voting, what happens to your ballot once it is cast, voter suppression, voter access and the importance of voting. LWV of Buffalo/Niagara is hosting a panel discussion on May 13 at 7:00 pm with the following speakers:
  • L. Nathan Hare, President and CEO, Community Action Organization of Western New York
  • BJ Stasio, President, SANYS (Self Advocacy of New York State)
  • Jeremy Zellner and Ralph Mohr, Commissioners, Erie County Board of Elections
  • Barbara Gunderson, LWVBN Voter Services Chair
The moderator will be Buffalo City Court Judge Lenora Foote-Beavers, former Chair, Diversity Committee, Women’s Bar Association of Western New York. All are welcome – register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_plVk7D0WT0SJmBivo5swWA

At the LWV of Utica/Rome Annual Meeting, Sarah Bormann and Nichole Shortell, the newly appointed Commissioners at the Oneida County Board of Elections, will be our guests to introduce themselves to us and to discuss ways in which we can partner.

LWV of Huntington has organized a real-time panel discussion with an esteemed panel of legislators, advocates, and environmentalists to find out what you can do about plastics pollution and what our legislatures can do. The panel discussion, moderated by Brian Langloss of Oceana, will be held this Wednesday. Attendees are encouraged to watch the film, “The Story of Plastics” prior to the panel discussion. Panelists include:
  • Congressman Tom Suozzi, U.S. Congress
  • Susan Berland, Majority Leader, Suffolk County Legislature
  • Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment

The League of Women Voters of Westchester Youth Corps was formed in 2020 to encourage youth to become active and informed participants in government and to ensure that young adult voices are heard. The Youth Corps is inviting young adults and high school students to participate in its new 2021 Action Plan. The Youth Corp Outlook for Work includes: 
  • Run Voter Registration drives at local college campuses and high schools 
  • Promote Get Out the Vote educational and other drives 
  • Organize LWVW chapters on local college campuses 
  • Boost social media messaging on important and emerging issues
  • Join other LWVW committees: County Government; Environment; and Voter Service 
  • Coordinate with other youth groups across NY on relevant opportunities in the burgeoning NYYCI program

The Ballot Box is the monthly radio show of the League of Women Voters of New Rochelle. The March 31st show featured historian Liette Gidlow, Associate Professor at Wayne State University, an author and lecturer who takes a long view of 20thand 21st century American voting rights, turn out, and suppression. All Ballot Box broadcasts are recorded and can be replayed without commercials on our website, www.lwvnewro.org.

Professor Joshua Tucker, the Co-Director of NYU’s Center for Social Media and Democracy, and co-editor of the recently published Social Media and Democracy: The State of the Field and Prospects for Reform joined the LWV of Rochester and LWV of NYC for a presentation on social media and democracy, focusing on the threat to democracy caused by fake news, foreign influence campaigns, hate speech on Twitter, and the impact of Facebook on ethnic polarization. 

LWV of Mid-Hudson Region hosted an all-female panel discussion featuring a multi-partisan group of local elected officials and candidates currently seeking office. This conversation on Women in Politics in the Hudson Valley was moderated by the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region. Women in Politics in the Hudson Valley.

LWV of NYC hosted a Virtual Gala with noted speaker NYS Attorney General Letitia James and honorees Leecia Eve, Vice President of Public Policy at Verizon; Julia Iyasere, M.D., Executive Director of the Dalio Center for Health Justice at NewYork-Presbyterian; and Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic.

At their Annual Meeting, LWV of Tompkins County is inviting some longtime members to tell us about the history of our local League and some of the significant things that our League has accomplished locally. Following this they plan to share thoughts and ideas about why you and other members joined the League and what you would like to see us doing in the future.

LWV of White Plains organized a meeting of the White Plains Commissioner of Planning Chris Gomez, along with Mary Cavallero, former member of the White Plains Planning Board, and urban planner David Schiff to consider the future of city planning here in White Plains.

In exploring opportunities for depolarization, the League of Women Voters of Albany County and the Capital Area Council of Churches hosted an online screening and discussion of the documentary “Braver Angels: Reuniting America.” Following the fifty minute film, there were breakout groups to discuss the issue and ways to implement the principles of constructive communication, to forge positive political and social actions.