League of Women Voters of NYS


May 2018

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

From the State President
    The 2018 Students Inside Albany program is now history and seems to have been the best one ever, including a particularly strong batch of eager students (was there a "Parkland effect"?), some unusual scheduling twists, and the chance to see a rare joint meeting of the Assembly and Senate to approve the appointment of Barbara Underwood as Attorney General - the first woman to hold this job. 
   Having been a chaperone many times - but not this year, darn it - I can imagine how exciting this was to the especially savvy ones and how the others will be finding out how lucky they were when they report back to their home Leagues. Click here to read a full summary of the conference  and photos are available on our state League Facebook page. There's much more about this great program elsewhere in this bulletin. Enjoy the additional details and the visuals!
    Our ever-resilient state office, its energy restored over the Memorial Day weekend, is now refocused on the June-and-beyond business of the organization which includes our state Council and the LWVUS Convention in Chicago.
     Having just experimented with Go To Meeting software, we will use it for the unofficial parts of state Council on June 7. This will include a report from (and Q & A with) Judie Gorenstein, our voter service chair. You can join us in person or by phone, but we hope many of you will join us by computer. Watch for more details here and by email.
    There's also some great tech news about the LWVUS Convention, whether you are headed to Chicago or not. The keynote speeches and more will be LIVE-STREAMED.  One speaker is Elaine Weiss, the author of the suffrage book, The Woman's Hour.  We will also be hearing from outstanding experts on redistricting, a very hot topic for the League in these next two years. We may even learn the Supreme Court's decision on Gill v. Whitford sometime during the Convention!
For more about the Convention schedule, go to
     One way or another, I hope to "see" you soon!  Laura and I will be in Chicago by late AM Thursday through Sunday afternoon.  Come find us there any time.

Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
darethompson@gmail.comTel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
Travel with the League
Click here  for trips and itineraries.
LWVUS Transformation Roadmap
2018 State Council
2018 State Council
The 2018 State Council Kit was mailed to every President or one Co-President of each local League. The Council meeting will be held on June 7, 2018, at 12 noon at the state office. Click here to view a copy of the Kit. The only required approval this year is the 2018-19 state League Budget. Local League delegates may attend and vote in person on June 7, or by proxy. To vote by proxy, click here for the form that must be completed and signed by the President and returned to the state office by June 4.
At the Council meeting on June 7 at 12 noon, members joining the webinar can talk with the state board, ask questions and give directions to the board. Members will also learn about important information relating to the upcoming election season and League voter service activities. To join, follow the instructions below - and share the link with other members:

LWVNYS Council Meeting 
Thu, Jun 7, 2018 12:01 PM - 1:01 PM EDT 

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 

You can also dial in using your phone. 
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212 

Access Code: 789-607-429 

2018 Students Inside Albany Conference
The 2018 Students Inside Albany Conference had 59 attendees representing 38 local Leagues, MAL Units and ILO's. The students came from all over New York State from Long Island to Buffalo and Plattsburgh to Binghamton. They ranged from sophomores to seniors in high school. They were energetic and enthusiastic to learn about New York State government. Because of the legislative calendar, this year's program was different than in years past.

Brief Overview of Program:
  • Mock Session and Debate on Repeal of the Safe Act
  • Lobby Training from
    • Jennifer Wilson, LWVNYS Legislative Director
    • Marina Marcou-O'Malley, Policy and Operations Director, from the Alliance for Quality Education
    • Liz Moran, Environmental Health Associate of Environmental Advocates of New York
  • Tour of Court of Appeals
  • Watched Assembly in Session
  • Watched Joint Session of Assembly and Senate to Appoint New Attorney General
  • Heard from a panel of media representatives:
    • Rachel Silberstein of the Times Union
    • Dan Clark of PolitiFact
    • Tim Williams of WCNY
  • Discussed the importance of voting and registered to vote

Read full summary here. More photos on Facebook page of League of Women Voters of NYS.


Legislative Updates
Sally Robinson, sally.s.robinson@gmail.com, and 
Jennifer Wilson, jennifer@lwvny.org
Current Legislative Action
Early in May, the newly united Senate Democrats released an expansive report on the state of voting in New York. The report was a result of a state-wide survey of 930 eligible voters on their voting habits and obstacles they face on Election Day. The report was released at a press conference held by the now 32 member Democratic Conference. The Senators outlined a revamped Voter Reform agenda which included early voting, automatic voter registration, primary consolidation, pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, and a change in the party enrollment deadline.
The following week, the Senate passed a comprehensive package of ethics reforms aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in government spending. The package included two of the League's priority ethics bills: The Procurement Integrity Act and the Database of Deals. Other reforms passed by the Senate included a pay-to-play bill that limits political donations from parties applying for grants, licenses, or doing business with public entities, a bill that requires appointees of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) to comply with financial disclosure requirements, and a bill to create an Independent Budget Office to provide non-partisan review of budget spending. You can read about the full package here. We were pleased to see the Senate pass this package of reforms. We hope to see the Assembly pass these bills before session ends.
The State League held a member-wide advocacy call to update members on current action and to explain the recent Executive Order on parolee voting rights. If you missed the call, you can read the call notes here and listen to the recording  here. On the call we went over the impact of the new executive order and our plans for advocacy efforts for the rest of session.
The League also participated in two coalition partners' lobby days and rallies related to voting. Early in May the NYC League participated in the New York City Campaign Finance Board lobby day related to early voting and the Voter Enfranchisement Modernization Act. The following week the League attended the LetNYVote rally and lobby day. The rally was well attended and several legislators stopped by to watch. Both lobby days were excellent opportunities to promote voting reforms and target legislators from all over the state.
We had quite a busy month and we anticipate June will be just as busy!

Youth Programs
Betty Ann King, bettyannking4@gmail.com
Wow! What a month! Throughout the state, leagues have been busy helping students run voter registration drives, engaging youth in civic activities, and helping them with information needed to facilitate first votes. Running and Winning programs continue to be robust and exciting.
Our Leagues are infused with energy and enthusiasm and most of all hope for the future.
I share with you this inspiring vignette by Deb Cosher.
"It's been a little over one year since I joined the Huntington League of Women Voters. It was a great decision. I've met inspiring, dedicated, civically motivated women that I have learned so much from.
As a member of Voter Services and the Youth Committee I have been very busy. It has been a very productive year. Most of the programs and events were a continuation of activities that had been done in the past.

Then, following the Parkland shooting came the youth created activist movement for gun safety, March for our Lives, MFOL. The Long Island branch, MFOLLI, reached out to us to teach them how to register their fellow students, friends and families to vote. They wanted to incorporate voter registrations at their various events and activities. We taught them how to do a non-partisan voter registration, League of Women Voters style. We even accompanied them to a nonpartisan event held in Huntington attended by about 1,000 people. We stayed in the background and let them do the work while being available for any questions. Members of our league have continued to train students at their request. It has been amazing working with these bright, civically engaged high school students. We have been so pleased to offer our assistance and to see that their intent is non-partisan registrations. It gives us great hope for the future. "
The Cortland League has been conducting voter registration in May with at least two local high schools and see below what they have been doing at the college level.

Two Cortland LWV board members underwent facilitator training by SUNY Cortland's Institute for Civic Engagement (ICE) and also participated in two Deliberative Dialogue's conducted by ICE for SUNY Cortland students:
1) Where have all the voters gone?
2) Mass shootings  (President Bitterbaum also attended this dialogue)
The Cortland League has added one college student to its board and will be welcoming a second its annual meeting in June.  They are pleased that US and state dues have been waived so that student members have full voting privileges.
And of course the highlighted youth program in May is Students Inside Albany. This four day conference is completely set up and designed by Laura and Jennifer and truly empowers these young men and women to influence and participate in government. Visit the NY State League of Women Voters of NYS's facebook page or photos and descriptions of this event. Our students witnessed history....a joint session of the NY assembly and senate electing the first woman (Barbara Underwood) to hold office as New York's Attorney General. Click here to read a full summary of the conference.
It will be interesting to see if with the increased activity our leagues are seeing in voter registrations, if the voters at the polls increase proportionately... and if these first time voters vote in a primary.. (June 26 is Federal Primary Day). Great job one and all! Keep on sharing!

LWVUS Convention, June 28-July 1, Chicago
National Convention 2018  
The 53rd National Convention is June 28-July 1 in Chicago, IL. All available information on the convention can be found here. Please contact membership@lwv.org with any Convention related questions or concerns.
Key Documents
Per our bylaws the following are now available on the League Management site for your review and will be included in the Convention Workbook:
Along with our previously announced speakers we are excited to announce the following who will be speaking during plenary:
Resolutions Committee Appointed
The Resolutions Committee for the 2018 LWVUS Convention has been appointed. Toni Larson (CO) will serve as chair with Sondra Cosgrove (NV), Helen Hutchison (CA), Amy Hjerstedt (LWVUS), and Jessica Lowe Minor (LWVUS). Please visit the League Management Site for additional details on the 2018 resolutions process. The resolutions submission form is live and resolutions must be submitted at least four weeks prior to convention.
Upcoming webinars
Navigating Convention : Join us on Wednesday, June 6 at 2pm ET. Our Convention Parliamentarian will guide us through parliamentary procedure and how to make the most of your plenary experience.
Vote on the 2018 Convention Awards
The "Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy." Awards reflect the League's vision for a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate.
Applications were reviewed by a panel of LWVUS staff and the finalists are listed. Voting on the winners is open through June 1.
Host a Viewing Party for our Thursday Evening Program
Not able to attend Convention but want to participate in our Thursday evening program, A Conversation on Redistricting with Nick Stephanopoulos and Ruth Greenwood? We will be live streaming this program so that all League members can participate in this timely and engaging discussion.
This event is a great opportunity to host a viewing party for your fellow League members and others who are interested in this topic. Interested members should fill out this survey to receive more information from us on planning and hosting your party.
Join Us For Trainings on Thursday and Saturday
We are excited to announce more information on our special training sessions that will allow convention attendees to learn skills related to their League and take home valuable tools to share with their fellow League members.
Developing and Mobilizing Skills to Win in 2018: Thursday, June 28: 2:00pm - 4:30pm
Training conducted by Wellstone Action. Participants will learn the fundamental differences between mobilizing and organizing and how mobilizing skills can increase our impact.
Using Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lens to Strengthen Social Impact and Collaboration: Saturday, June 30: 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Training conducted by Diversity Dimensions. This interactive training is designed to discuss the importance of self-awareness, intention and impact when applying a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to social impact work at the national, state and local level and to leadership and culture across LWV.
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