League of Women Voters of NYS


August 2018

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

From the State President
I'm writing this at the State Fair - at the League's voter registration corner in the Art and Home Center. I'm surrounded by flyers, forms, stickers, and buttons that Laura and Jen set up earlier, and there's a big list of League people from all over who've signed up for shifts during the next twelve days.  Thanks to all of you on that list! (18 year old registering to vote in photo below)

I know that even if you don't register voters here you may well have been doing it somewhere else, so thanks for that too. Of course, the even more challenging job will come with candidate events and get out the vote (GOTV) efforts this fall. 
And that's got me thinking. With white people no longer the majority of Americans, what are we really doing to make sure we're serving all voters effectively? We know that we're more comfortable with America's changing demographics than many groups and in fact welcome the cultural diversity, but are we stretching ourselves out of our comfort zone to embrace this new reality?
As if reading my mind  ErinLeigh Darnley (Syracuse LWV) came by the table a couple hours ago and mentioned that besides working at the League's state fair table later this week, she's also working at the NAACP's voter registration table.  I asked how much they did together and she said there's an "Onondaga Votes" organization with lots of groups working together to get everyone voting. Could we all do something like this where we live? And what would the work entail? Candidate events too, I hope.

ErinLeigh had her husband and three kids with her and had to keep moving or I'd tell you more about the groups (many of which are non-white) and what else they do, but we can all start to imagine. Wouldn't this naturally lead to doing other events together - say, around issues? Ultimately might the League start to look like America?
I'd love to hear more from those of you already well down this road. Please share your successes, lessons, suggestions and whatever else you've got with me and I'll share with everyone next month (darethompson@gmail.com). Being relevant in the 21st century clearly means being diverse, and I think we all know we are capable of more. We have so much to learn from one another! Let's get to it.

Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
darethompson@gmail.comTel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
September Primary is THURSDAY, Sept 13
National Voter Registration Day  
Sept 25
Travel with the League
Click here  for trips and itineraries.
VotingNewYork.org is Live!
This new electronic guide includes information for all candidates running in the upcoming state and local primary. Each candidate has a profile that contains their social media and campaign websites, contact information, information about their position on issues related to health care, education, environment and others, as well as individual candidate responses to questions asked by the League. Voters who do not have a primary race in their area will be presented with an option to input their email address to be alerted when information for the general election is live. 

Share the website with your friends, family and co-workers!
State Fair - Aug. 22 - Sept. 3
The state League has once again secured an exhibit space at the New York State Fair to register voters and provide voting information! In 2016 we registered nearly 1,000 voters and assisted thousands more by distributing voter education materials and absentee ballot applications. This year we want to beat that record and help even more voters get registered!
The State Fair is held in Syracuse from August 22 through September 3 and is open every day from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Our exhibit is in a Art and Home Center building (with air-conditioning) - not outside. 

Come say hi - and encourage people to register to vote or get election information from us at our booth!  
Voter Services
Judie Gorenstein, Judiel728@aol.com
Leagues throughout New York are extremely busy preparing and running voter registration drives, candidate events, and hopefully working on ways to turn out the vote.  To help in this very challenging year, an edited and updated Road to the Voting Booth Part II and also Toolkit for running candidate events has been emailed to all voter service chairs and a hard copy has been mailed to the presidents.  Voter service chairs and presidents have also received a Toolkit for voter registration drives.  Much of the information that has been included comes from questions leagues have asked or ideas they have submitted. We all learn from one another. Leagues are looking for different venues and are encouraged to share their experiences. 
When the LWV of Mid-Hudson Region was asked to engage a group of adults with intellectual disabilities, they created and presented a voter issue educational game.  They chose an easy and fun issue "should we have dessert before dinner?"  After the group laughter subsided, they discussed pros and cons of eating dessert first, and then voted on ballots, which were then collected and counted. The "no dessert before dinner" won.  Would this have been the case if they had not discussed the pros and cons before voting?  How was this similar to a real election?  In both, there is more to an issue that first appears and it is important to educate self.  Although many in this group could not read well and some not at all, it was kept simple and colorful, while talking of ways to find out about candidates.  Those who had not yet been registered to vote, registered.  In the end, each participant was given a sticker "I Voted" and encouraged to be voters each Election Day.
What is your league doing to educate and engage voters?  How will your league turn out the vote?  What can you as an individual do?
Here is some information I think is important for our members to know and share:
  • The Reform Party allows voters who are not enrolled in any party to vote in the Reform Party Primary. They changed their by laws last year to allow this to happen.     
  • When a student goes away to college, if they chose to register in that state rather than vote absentee in NY, they will not meet residency requirements to run for a NYS  political office upon their return to our state. The requirements for running for NYS Senator or Assemblyman or Gov., LT Gov, AG,or Comptroller is being a resident of the state 5 years immediately preceding the election.   
As LWV members empower voters and defend our democracy. Our democracy works best when everyone participates.

In 2017/2018,  21 Leagues held approximately 109 voter registration drives where they registered approximately 3,665 voters. They participated in 123 naturalization ceremonies where they registered 10,026 new voters. Additionally, Leagues have been making major strides to engage with more high schools - Leagues visited approximately 28 high schools where they registered 713 new voters. These numbers total to 14,404 voters registered!!
Based on the Leagues we did not hear from and those who did not track, I estimate the actual total to be over 20,000 voter registrations - that is a HUGE deal! Congrats to all - and let's all track to boast about our great work!
Local League News
Most of our local Leagues are busy registering voters, organizing candidate events and gearing up for the f all elections! Most are not holding  programs or special events during the summer.

LWV of NYC is offering training to other organizations and the public on conducting voter registration drives. 

LWV of Albany County is busy with action alerts concerning a proposal to ban styrofoam by the County Legislature. 
LWV of Rochester proudly announced that they have their own YouTube
channel where you can view past forums.

And we ha ve to share a great photo from the LWVUS Convention of Paula Blum and Barbara Epstein, of LWV of East Nassau!

Enjoy your last days of summer!
League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162;  FAX: 518-465-0812
Website: www.lwvny.org
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
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