League of Women Voters of NYS


October 2019

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

From the State President
Three cheers! please, for the state office staff and volunteers for their tremendous efforts to produce and distribute the Early Voting materials and launch our Early Voting website. The League is providing updated information for all of New York counties. Please share our website on Early Voting with your friends that live in counties that are not connected to a local League and tell them how to access VOTE411.
And three cheers for the LWVNYS! Celebrate our 100th birthday with us in Buffalo on November 16, or raise a glass together at your local League on November 19 for the next 100 years.
To complete the Early Voting project, that was largely funded by a  LWVUS Making Democracy Work grant, surveys of voters and polling places during Early Voting are being collected to GIVE US THE DATA to tell the stories, mission impact, about  Early Voting and the information we provided and how the BOE plans worked. 
Another component of our LWVUS grant includes fundraising. LWVUS has created some fundraising training modules to help all of us become better at telling our stories and building our donor base. You can access the Fundraising Modules on the LWVUS League Management website. You could get together with your fundraising team, or put together a fundraising team, and have a coffee, tea, wine and watch the first 3 modules.   We are entering the final phase of fundraising for the year with annual appeals and year end appeals. Don't be afraid to ask a friend to support your work as you probably support theirs. 

Suzanne Stassevitch, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
smstass@mac.com;  Tel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
League Day at the United Nations  
December 4
2020 SIA
Vote 411 in the Times!
Travel with the League
Click here  for trips and itineraries.
What will YOU and  your League be doing on November 19, 2019 ? We encourage Leagues across the state to raise a glass, cut the cake or celebrate together 100 years of activism of the League of Women Voters of the state of New York.
Local Leagues are the heart of our grassroots tradition and we celebrate our Leagues across the state and all they have accomplished in the last 100 years. On this day 100 years ago the LWVNYS began its tenure as a leading advocate for universal suffrage and building a community in New York state of an informed and engaged population in their government.

Support the League's EF with your purchases
Join us to Celebrate our Centennial
On November 16, 2019, the League of Women Voters of NYS will be 100 years old and the League's Education Foundation is hosting our 100 th Anniversary Celebration at The Buffalo History Museum! The Buffalo History Museum is a generous co-sponsor of our event and will have a suffrage exhibit at this time. We invite you to join the Honorary Committee to celebrate our centennial and recognize influential leaders in our communities.
At the celebration, we are thrilled to be honoring:
        • Kathy Hochul, Lt. Governor of New York State, 
        • William Hochul, Jr., Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary to Delaware North Companies,
        • Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner, President, SUNY Buffalo State, 
        • Alice Jacobs, President, Board of Directors of Albright-Knox , and
        • Ariel Palitz, Senior Executive Director, Office of Nightlife,
          The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, NYC 
All are distinguished trailblazers in their fields!

Tickets to the Celebration will be available online here or by calling the state office at 518-465-4162! 

Thanks to our supportive Honorary Committee:
Carrie Chapman Catt Supporters
Joan Bozer
LWV of Buffalo/Niagara
Sally and Eric Robinson
Nancy Rosenthal
Suzanne Stassevitch
Dare and Douglas Thompson
Narcissa Cox Vanderlip Supporters
Mary Berry
Rebecca Costanzo
Mary Croxton and Dr. Jack Croxton
Georgia T. DeGregorio
David Giese
GOTB (Girls on the Block) East Aurora- Urban Design- Barre Centric-Beauty Organix 
Barbara Gunderson
Mark, Julie, & Carrie Hadley
Elizabeth Hubbard
John Kowalski and Paula Fisher Kowalski
Helene Kramer
LWV of Cattaraugus & Allegany MAL Unit
Carol Mellor
Marcia & James Merrins
Judith and James Metzger
Terri Parks
Lori Robinson
Kristina Rogers
St. Bonaventure University
Lyle and Phil Toohey
Kay Wallace

And thanks to our great Planning Committee:
Joan Bozer (LWV of Buffalo/Niagara)
Rebecca Costanzo (LWV of Buffalo/Niagara)
Mary Croxton (LWV of Chautauqua)
Mary Hussong-Kallen (LWV of Rochester)
Margie McIntosh  (LWV of Cattaraugus/Allegany MAL Unit)
Lori Robinson (LWV of Buffalo/Niagara)
Janet Zehr (LWV of Buffalo/Niagara)
Laura Ladd Bierman (LWVNYS)

Hope to see many of you in Buffalo on Nov. 16!
Early Voting Education Project
Early voting has begun - and all is going smoothly so far at least from what we have heard. Please share the early voting survey widely with friends, co-workers, family and other organizations you belong to : http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07egobxmlpk1w7p2wx/start . We want as many completed surveys as possible. We have over 800 responses so far! We have received lots of media coverage of our efforts to educate the public about early voting. Please share with us any articles, links to TV or radio, etc, from your area. 

Here's a sampling of some of the media coverage from local Leagues and the state League:
State media coverage:
Capitol Pressroom (radio across the state): https://www.wcny.org/september-3-2019-early-voting-toolkit/

Great work by all! And, we hope to have lots of data on how it all worked with responses from the survey. Please share the survey link widely: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07egobxmlpk1w7p2wx/start. Or print off the survey and stand outside of an early voting poll site and ask people to respond - then send us the completed surveys! Thanks!

LWV of St. Lawrence MAL Unit had an announcement posted on the theater marquee (see below)! The St. Lawrence MAL Unit also donated "I Voted" stickers to the County Board of Elections to hand out to voters for early voting from Oct. 26-Nov. 3 and for Election Day Nov. 5.  And LWV of Saratoga was busy checking out the early voting poll sites (below on right). Share your photos!

Issues and Advocacy
Sally Robinson, sally.s.robinson@gmail.com and Jennifer Wilson, jennifer@lwvny.org
Consitutional Convention Position Update
At the State Convention in June, the delegates approved an update to the State League's position on a Constitutional Convention. The purpose of this update is to determine whether there is member agreement on deleting the first sentence of the League's 1993 Constitutional Convention position, as revised June 2015.
The first sentence to be deleted is below:
"The League of Women Voters of New York State does not support or oppose the holding of a constitutional convention."
Click here to find the materials for consideration by your local League of this update:
  • Current Constitutional Convention Position
  • Background and Other Information
  • Update Form to be Returned to the State League office by March 1, 2020
Campaign Finance Reform
The League has been working with the Fair Elections coalition and our good government partners to ensure that the Public Campaign Financing Commission proposes comprehensive reforms that will get dark money out of elections. This month, we signed onto a letter to the Commissioners asking them to release their interim recommendations in the first week of December. We asked that they uphold a minimum standard in their recommendations and ensure a 6 to 1 match, a reduction in contribution limits, and the creation of an independent oversight agency to oversee the program. You can read our full letter here. On October 22nd , Michelle Lamberti of LWV of Port Washington/Manhasset testified in the hearing on Long Island (Lisa Scott also submitted testimony) and on October 29th Janet Massaro of the LWV of Buffalo testified in Buffalo. Videos from all of the hearings are posted on the Commission's website: https://campaignfinancereform.ny.gov/. The Commission's recommendations are due on December 1st.
The League is continuing to work with our partners in the New York Counts 2020 coalition on educating citizens about the importance of completing their census survey. The Governor's Complete Count Commission has released its report but have not made any firm recommendations on how to use the state's $20 million in funding to reach hard to count communities. We are continuing to advocate for the release of this funding to community groups throughout the state. We will soon be sharing with Local Leagues educational materials to use for their own census outreach.
Medical Aid in Dying
One reform that was not passed in 2019 was allowing for physician assisted suicide for those dying from terminal diseases. The State League adopted its medical aid in dying position in 2018 and began advocating for the reform that same year. This month, the League sent a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to make the reform a priority in 2020. The Wall Street Journal covered the topic and the League's letter is mentioned in the column attached. We will continue to advocate for medical aid in dying in the coming legislative session.

Court Reform
Following New York's Chief Judge Janet DiFiore's proposal to restructure New York's court system, the League has joined the Campaign for Court Simplification working to consolidate the eleven separate trial courts into a single court. The League will be testifying at a Joint Legislative Hearing on Court Simplification in November. More information on our efforts within this coalition will be available soon. You can learn more about the coalition here.

One of the most exciting projects the League is working on is our joint campaign with LWVUS on redistricting reform. This month, Jennifer traveled to DC for a training conference on National's People Powered Fair Maps campaign. This brand-new campaign will be kicked off in New York later this month. Stay tuned for updates.
Voter Services
Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@aol.com
Early Voting began this last weekend for the first time in NY and with Election Day Nov. 5, 2019 less than a week away, LWVNYS and local Leagues, MALS, and ILOs throughout the state are continuing to do whatever they can to engage and educate voters to Get Out The Vote.
Congratulations to local leagues, who over the past months:
  • Organized and ran successful voter registration drives and hopefully have gathered contact information on voters to follow up with reminders to vote.
  • Collected information and then distributed Early Voting brochures - with one League requesting 17,000 brochures to distribute to over 200 sites,
  • Contacted local candidates to provide answers for Vote 411.
  • Organized and ran successful candidate forums and when necessary publicized when and why they were cancelled.
  • Participated in Voter Service teleconference on Oct.19 where Early Voting and GOTV were major topics.
Over the past months, LWVNYS has been busy too:
  • Created and distributed over 100,000 Early Voting brochures to local Leagues, MALS and ILOs. Created a page on the website where voters can find information and their own early voting poll site.
  • Coordinated efforts with LWVUS and local leagues to get VOTE 411 up and running.
  • Created/updated the following materials that were emailed to all leagues and can be downloaded from the LWVNYS website's homepage (scroll down to 'League Communication'):
    • NEW: Get Out The Vote Toolkit (Samples and Examples)
    • Toolkit for Candidate Events (Samples and Examples)
    • Toolkit for Voter Registration Drives (Samples and Examples)
    • 2019 Guidelines for Candidate Events
    • First Vote, A Guide for New Voters in NYS
    • Your Right to Vote in New York - series of brochures (soon to be on the Website)
  • Made significant additions and improvements to LWVNYS website.
  • Held Voter Service teleconference where 25 participants shared more good ideas.
  • Created and distributed surveys for both Early Voting - to be completed by those voters who do vote early - and the 2019 Voter Service Survey to be completed by all local leagues, ILOs and MALS.
With less than a week until Election Day, there is still work to be done:
  • Local leagues can ask volunteers to go to Early Voting poll sites to ask voters to complete the brief survey, attached.
  • Local leagues can follow through on any Get Out The Vote events or contacts they have planned. Leagues can also try any new ideas they may have to GOTV.
  • Lastly, leagues, ILOs and MALs need to complete and return the 2019 Voter Service Survey which is also attached. These surveys will give us quantifiable information and data which will be used in measuring our efforts and effectiveness over the next five years.
LWVNYS will compile information from both the Early Voting Survey and Voter Service Survey and, as always, share information collected and incorporate into improvements for 2020.  

Don't forget to tell people to go to www.vote411.org to find out who is on their ballot!

Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI)
Regina Tillman, rmt370@gmail.com
While the local League Presidents begin to consider who they will nominate to be their representative on our State-wide Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), we can begin to get clarity on what we are referring to when we use these terms. There is a sizeable body of information and research available to tap into in order to define your local DEI status, and to create your local DEI Action Plans.
A place to begin? The LWVUS has done an admirable job in gathering references from those with experience in defining and acting upon the subject of DEI. I recommend that those interested in creating a more diverse league begin with the definitions posted on the LWVUS/Diversity webpage: https://www.lwv.org/league-management/diversity-equity-inclusion/diversity-equity-and-inclusion
Then, as time allows, begin to listen the webinars archived at: https://www.lwv.org/league-management/leadership-development/lwv-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-webinars A "listening party" could bring in other interested members and only requires scheduling in a facility with wifi. Within a group, regardless of its size, it is likely that members will discuss the webinar content together and thus, jointly broaden their perspectives and share new ideas.
When describing what characteristics your local league wishes to change about its membership base in order to put the diversity policy into practice, it's good to have points of reference so your efforts are directed in the most effective direction. For example, what do you mean when saying you want a more diverse league? As cited in an article entitled, Effective Diversity Management Initiatives (International Review of Management and Marketing, Vol. 3. No. 2., 2013): "Generally, researchers define diversity characteristics into four areas; personality (e.g., traits, skills, and abilities), internal characteristics (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, intelligence, sexual orientation), external characteristics(e.g., culture, nationality, religion, marital or parental status), and organizational characteristics (e.g., [profession], position, department, union/nonunion)."
Beginning with the end in mind and considering your surrounding community, what will your league membership look like, in both visible and invisible characteristics, when your DEI plan is realized? Imagine. Then, discuss with your Board and in other relevant committees as your own first step toward helping your league to develop its local DEI Action Plan.
Helga Schroeter
Remembering Helga Schroeter
September 21, 1942-August 20, 2019

Helga Schroeter was a  past president of the League of Women Voters of Schenectady County and served on the board of the Committee for Modern Courts  and regional director for court monitoring projects in the Capital Region.  She was a volunteer and activist for many community organizations and received many honors for her activism.  Her passions included the League, the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission, Girls Inc. (president), Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson.  She directed judicial advocacy at the state level for the League and served on a statewide committee that evaluated candidates running for judicial office.  Her gentleness and respect for all human beings characterized her life as she pursued action based on principles of equality and justice in her community and state.  Helga was very active in promoting the LWVNYS' judicial advocacy for many years and it would be a great tribute to her to direct donations in her memory to the State League to continue that advocacy.
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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