STATE VOTER

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy

June 2022

President's Message

Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@aol.com

I am now completing my first year as president of LWVNYS. I would like to thank each one of you for being members of this very important, non partisan political organization. Our members are our greatest asset. Without you we would not have accomplished what we did this past year. Without you we cannot accomplish all we need to do to empower voters and protect our democracy. We cannot stand still. We need to continue to grow. So I am asking each member to try to do a little more, whether it be joining a committee of your local League, sharing an idea, making a donation, or letting everyone you know that you are a member of the LWV, what we do, and asking them to join. Summer is a time when we all try to take off some time to relax and have fun with friends and family. Let them know that the LWV offers opportunities to meet new people, make new friends and have some fun while doing very important work. Soon we will all be celebrating July 4th,the birth of American Independence. Today our democracy is in peril.  Let's do all we can to protect it! .

NY State Fair

The state League will have a booth at the NYS Fair in Syracuse again this year! We are really excited to have a presence there and provide information to all voters in NYS. BUT we will need lots of volunteers to help staff the table. We will provide the admission ticket and parking ticket and only ask you to staff the table part of the day so you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the Fair. Think about helping and we’ll be sending out the exact schedule soon – but for now, the Fair is held in Syracuse from August 24 to September 5 and we have to staff the table from 10:00am to 9:00pm (Fri-Sun til 10:00 pm). Maybe you’d like to spend a day or two at the Fair? 

Voter Services

Nancy Rosenthal, VP for Voter Services, nancyrosenthal9@gmail.com

NY State has two primaries:

  • June 28 Primary: candidates in races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, NYS Assembly seats; and
  • August 23 Primary: candidates in races for US Congressional seats and NYS Senate seats

 

Up to date and accurate information on the primaries and deadlines for the primaries, and for the general election, can always be found on the state League website at: https://lwvny.org/voting/.

 

If voters have issues at the polls, two hotlines are available if they encounter any problems when trying to vote. They can call these hotlines for legal assistance and guidance to make their vote count.

 

One hotline is operated by the NYS Attorney General’s office:

Call - (866) 390-2992

June 18th through June 26th (9am to 6pm)

June 28th (6am to 9pm)

FAQs: https://ag.ny.gov/election-protection

Complaint Form: https://ag.ny.gov/election-hotline

 

The other hotline is from the NY Democratic Lawyers’ Committee:

Main line: 1-888-369-8683 (1-888-3NY-VOTE)

Spanish Line: 1-888-369-8682 (1-888-3NY-VOTA)

Helpline Hours

Mon - Fri: 9 am - 8 pm

Sat - Sun: 10 am - 7 pm


Vote 411

VOTE411.org is live for the June primary election! VOTE411.org provides election information and what will be on the ballot Election Day.  Using the QR Code on postings provides many with greater access to VOTE411.org. If candidates in your area have not yet responded on Vote 411, please nudge them to do it – contact their campaign and tell them it’s important for all voters to know their positions on issues. Let’s all get the word out on this valuable election tool, VOTE411.org.

 

Texting Service (text VoteNY to 474747)

Encourage members and voters to sign up for the League’s texting service (text VoteNY to 474747) to get timely reminders on voting. 

Important Upcoming Election Dates to Remember:

June 28 - Primary Election

June 18-26 - Early Voting

June 27 - last day to apply in person at BOE for Primary Election Absentee Ballot

June 28 - last day to postmark Primary Election Absentee Ballot or submit at BOE or polling location

Issues and Advocacy

Sally Robinson, VP for Issues and Advocacy, Sally.s.robinson@gmail.com

Erica Smitka, Deputy Director, Erica@lwvny.org

League Lawsuits to Consolidate State Primaries

As a result of the Court of Appeals landmark decision invalidating Congressional and state Senate maps drawn by the legislature, the legislative lines for Congress and state Senate were drawn by a special master appointed by the trial court and finalized on May 20, 2022. Primaries for Congress and state Senate were moved to August 23rd, but the state Legislature declined to move the statewide and Assembly races from their scheduled June 28th date.  The state League filed two pro bono lawsuits -- one in federal court and one in state court -- to get the primaries consolidated. The federal case claiming infringement of voters’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the Constitution was decided against the League, but the judge noted in his ruling that the case was “worth bringing and trying.” 

 

The state case was an Article 78 proceeding filed in Supreme Court in Albany to invalidate the Assembly lines that the Court of Appeals said were unconstitutionally drawn but could not be struck down in that case for procedural reasons.  This case was decided against the League, but in a separate and parallel state case an Appellate level judge ordered that the Assembly lines be redrawn for 2024. The rationale was that it was too late for 2022.

 

2022 Concurrences

The new position on the structure of election administration in New York state sent to local Leagues in January failed to gain the necessary 2/3 approval. Twenty-three Leagues and 11 individuals responded.  However, our current positions fully allow us to support needed reforms to election administration that fall short of eliminating the bipartisan constitutional requirement for “qualifying voters, or of distributing ballots to voters, or of receiving, recording or counting votes at elections.”

 

At the same time as the election administration study, Local Leagues and members were asked to support a new position allowing individuals in prison the right to vote while still incarcerated. Twenty-three Leagues and 11 individuals responded, and the new position was approved overwhelmingly. The Board adopted the following new position on June 7th. 

The League of Women Voters of New York State supports extending the right to vote to all currently incarcerated individuals.

 

Legislative Updates

Below is an overview of significant outcomes from the 2022 Legislative session.

The Governor is expected to sign the following three bills the League strongly supported this session.

  • 10-day Voter Registration: Passed in the Senate on May 31 and in the Assembly on the last day of the session. This will reduce the voter registration deadline to the constitutional minimum of ten days. It will be effective on January 1, 2023.
  • Wrong Church: This bill will be effective on January 1, 2023. This bill requires counting affidavit ballots of eligible voters if a voter appears at a polling place in the correct county and assembly district but in the incorrect election district.
  • NYVRA: This marks a monumental achievement for voting rights in the state of New York and will serve as an example to other states and Congress. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of NYS is a state-level Voting Rights Act would help prevent and redress acts of voter suppression, disenfranchisement, or intimidation; require certain localities to clear local changes to voter access that could infringe civil rights with the NYS Attorney General; designate SUNY as a transparent state steward of election data; and improve language assistance. This bill will be effective immediately, although some sections of the bill won’t be active until a year or three years after it’s signed into law. The Governor signed this bill on June 20, 2022 on Medgar Evans College campus and the League was there! Photo below from left: Kate Doran, LWVNYS Elections Specialist; Diane Burrows, LWVNYS Co-President; Cathy Gray, LWVNYS; and Bella Wang, LWVNYC. 

Gun Law Reform Package: The Senate and Assembly passed a broad package of 10-gun reform bills.

 

Reproductive Health Package: The Senate and Assembly passed six reproductive health bills that primarily focus on protecting abortion providers.

 

Cryptocurrency Mining Moratorium: This bill establishes a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions. It was passed the Assembly and Senate on June 3, 2022.

 

Wage Transparency Bill: Requires employers to disclose compensation or range of compensation to applicants and employees. It was passed the Assembly and Senate on June 3, 2022.

 

The following bills were not passed in this legislative session:

  • Bigger Better Bottle Bill: This bill was referred to Environmental Conservation in the Assembly on May 5th and in the Senate on May 11th. The bill was introduced by Englebright in early May and Senator May signed on to carry the bill for the Senate on May 10th. This bill was not passed this session.
  • NY Packaging Reduction Act (EPR): This bill was introduced by Englebright at the same time he introduced the revised BBBB. It was referred to Environmental Conservation on May 5th. Unfortunately, this bill did not receive a Senate sponsor and did not make it out of committee. Environmental advocates celebrated the fact that an opposing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) bill from Senator Kaminsky did not advance and expect the fight for EPR to continue in 2023.
  • Court Simplification: These bills were not passed this session but advocates will continue this long-standing effort.
  • Fair and Timely Parole and Elder Parole: These bills were not passed this session.
  • Medical Aid in Dying: This bill was not passed this session in either the Senate or Assembly.
  • Equality Amendment: This constitutional amendment would improve equal rights and protect against discrimination in the NYS constitution. This bill did not pass this session.
  • Voting Rights Constitutional Amendments: Amendments establishing same day voter registration and no-excuses absentee ballots were on the ballot in the fall of 2021, but were not passed by voters. Despite promises to try again, they were not passed in this legislative session and cannot be on the 2024 ballot (absent a special session). Constitutional amendments must pass the Assembly and Senate in two consecutively elected legislatures before they can make it on the ballot.


We will continue to advocate for these bills next session – and plans for success will be developed with coalition partners during the fall.

2022 LWVNYS Council

The State League Council meeting was held on June 7 by zoom. At the Council meeting, the delegates approved the LWVNYS 2022-23 Budget (thank you!) and heard reports from the state Board members and Committees. The link to the recording of Council is: https://youtu.be/MJLBlCEkLgo .

Local League Support Committee

Joy Rosenzweig, joyrose6@gmail.com, and Kathy Stein, kstein1@twcny.rr.com, Co-Chairs

Welcome to the new LWV of Great Neck MAL Unit!

The Local League Support Committee is happy to report that the LWVNYS Board approved the establishment of the LWV of Great Neck MAL Unit. Leaders of the new MAL Unit include Beth Friedmann, Marni Schlesinger, and Nancy Sherman – welcome! The Committee is continuing to provide support to them and to other Leagues. 

Local League News

LWV of Tompkins County 

The Tompkins County League joined Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, who organized rallies in Corning and Ithaca, for the Bans Off our Bodies rally. People gathered in opposition to the potential overturning of Roe Versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey on the Ithaca Commons at Bernie Milton Pavilion. LWVTC was well represented with Kelly Speiser who spoke eloquently on our behalf. Linda Duttweiler, Ann Warde and Nancy Skipper handed out flyers urging people to vote.


LWV of Buffalo/Niagara

On June 2nd, The Buffalo Niagara League met to discuss The Renewed Climate Change Agenda. The Foreign Policy Association, which sponsors this discussion group nationwide, describes the topic as “the ideological divide in the United States on the subject of climate change has impeded progress in curbing greenhouse emissions.” The discussion also touched on the rile the United States could play in future negotiations related to climate. 


LWV of New Rochelle

Recently, the New Rochelle League’s monthly WVOX radio show The Ballot Box hosted political scientist, author, and Director for Public Policy at Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies Carlos Vargas-Ramos for a discussion on redistricting. Vargos-Ramos explained that most Americans don’t know much about the redistricting process, how to get involved, or why getting involved is important. He advocates for the creation of a public education campaign and substantial public participation promotion. His theme - less energy spent on partisanship, more energy on public involvement from the outset. The Ballot Box, co-hosted by LWVNR members Tamar Tait and Nina Luban, maintains an ongoing, non-partisan conversation about the rights, responsibilities and issues facing our representative democracy.


LWV of Huntington 

This spring, the League of Women Voters of Huntington registered over 600 high school students at 7 high schools! Most students registered using the regular paper application, however a significant number utilized the NYSDMV online voter registration portal and registered right form their cell phones. 


LWV of Westchester Co ILO

The League of Women Voters of Westchester ended their year with a well-attended Convention at the Scarsdale Woman's Club. Members from all of the eight local leagues were in attendance to review and vote upon bylaws revisions, 2022-23 budgets, 2022-23 outlook for work, and the 2022-24 nominated slate. LWVNYS President, Judie Gorenstein, shared all that the state league has accomplished and Westchester County Executive, George Latimer provided a State of the County message to all members, with additional focus on gun control legislation; an airport update; a Playland update; economic development; and affordable housing, to name a few. Mr. Latimer closed with an impassioned plea that we all need to be involved for the sake of our democracy. He expressed concern that our democracy is under attack, and we the people, need to stand up for our rights. If our democracy falls, there is no turning back.


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League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street
Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162 FAX: 518-465--0812
Email: lwvny@lwvny.org
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