STATE VOTER

Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy

September 2022

President's Message

Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@aol.com

 Election Day, November 8, 2022 is about 6 weeks away, with Early Voting less than 5. Most everyone is registered to vote, but people have until October 14th to register. Now is the time to make sure you have you done everything you could to be knowledgeable, ready to vote yourself and get out the vote.


  • Do you know anyone who is just turning 18 or has recently moved and needs to register? Now is the time!
  • Do you know how and when to apply for an absentee ballot? Now is the time!
  • Have you gone to VOTE411 (the LWV On line Voter Guide) and checked out the candidates on your ballot? Have you told your friends about VOTE411? Now is the time!
  • Do you know when the league is holding candidate events for your election districts and made plans to attend?  Now is the time! 
  • Have you signed up for LWVNY texting service? If not text VOTENY to 47474 to get alerts and reminders. Now is the time!
  • Have you made your plan for voting and asked friends or family to come with you? Now is the time!
  • Do you have any ideas or strategies to Get Out The Vote and shared them? Now is the time!
  •  And of course if you have not already renewed your 2022-2023 LWV membership , now is the time! 


You, our members, are our most important asset. Thank you for being a member, for your contributions, and your time! 

Take Action on the NYS Environmental Bond Act!

We are thrilled to be a part of the NYS Bond Act Coalition (https://voteyescleanwaterandjobs.com/). We will be hosting a webinar presentation and panel on October 11th at 6:30pm that will be open to League members and the public. Register for the webinar here: https://bit.ly/3rd2eiA. The webinar will talk about details of the bond act, the effect it will have on labor rights and job creation in NYS, and impact it will have on NYS from the lens of environmental justice. 


Below are a few important campaign updates:




Toolkits 

Here is the link for two toolkits and another folder with easy to use materials:

Toolkit 1:  https://bit.ly/3LXMR7d

Toolkit 2: https://bit.ly/3CcAeAX

Materials: https://bit.ly/3dRonjw 


Videos, Social Media, and News Coverage

Share and post information from the bond act social media platforms:


You can view & share the video spots “C- grade” and "100 years” on YouTube.


Read and share news coverage.


Get Involved in the Coalition

To sign up for the Bond Act coalition email list, visit https://cleanwaterandjobs.org/email-sign-up.

Future Meetings

  • Wednesday, October 5, 3-3:30 PM
  • Wednesday, October 19, 3-3:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 2, 3-3:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 16, 3-3:30 PM (Post election wrap up)


Zoom information for all meetings: 

https://tnc.zoom.us/j/7599098933?pwd=NXhscmhLOGtMSGYzelBrbzJ3YjNFdz09 

Meeting ID: 759 909 8933

Passcode: 5678123


Please reach out to Erica at erica@lwvny.org if you or your League has spent substantial funds to advertise this campaign (ex. printing). 


Feel free to circulate the above information to members of your League and please let me know if you have any questions! 

Upcoming Programs

Civic Education Series: District Attorneys, October 5th, 6:30 - 8 PM

Register HERE

Presented by the New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior League (NYSPAC), this educational event highlights the importance of local elections and local offices. This month, join LWVNYS and NYSPAC to discuss the role that Districts Attorneys play in local government. 

 

Women and The Vote Film Screening, October 6th, 7 PM

In-Person at the New York State Museum (Albany)

Filmed on Election Day 2020 in five cemeteries across New York State, Women and the Vote is a mosaic-style documentary on the past 100 years of women’s political equality, the present moment, and the possibilities for the future. Interviews and verité footage of visitors in the Bronx, Sleepy Hollow, Auburn, Rochester, and Buffalo intertwine with rich historical elements to generate connections between New York’s rich suffragist legacy and contemporary voters. The screening will be followed by a brief Q&A with the filmmaker, Linda Moroney. Click HERE for more information.

 

NYS Environmental Bond Act, October 11th, 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Register HERE

Learn more about the Environmental Bond Act that will be on the ballot in November! The League of Women Voters will be joined by speakers from The Nature Conservancy, WeAct, and the NYS Conference of Operating Engineers to learn how the Bond Act will impact the environment, the labor market, and environmental justice in NYS.

 

LWVNYS Youth Committee Back-to-School Event, October 12th, 6 - 7:30 PM

Register HERE

This summer, LWVNYS' Youth Committee used all the input from this year’s regional training to craft a resource page on our website. Our task force members are working on three areas of focus for fresh directives to engage our youth: social media literacy, challenges in the traditional classroom post-pandemic, and using more college campuses as election poll sites including how to organize campus partners for continued support.

 

Come and join us on October 12th with feedback on any summer projects that your local League has found to be successful and other ideas that can help us better serve the thoughts, judgments, and impressions our young voters have on the sustained civic engagement process. 

 

2022 PowHer New York Equality Summit, October 13th, 3 - 6 PM

Register HERE

Join LWVNYS and PowHer New York for a conversation focusing on the urgent change that is needed to build an equitable, just, and inclusive economy. This unique gathering of advocates and thought leaders in business, non-profit, union, and government will inspire attendees to think and act boldly during this unprecedented moment created by the pandemic and escalating threats to women’s rights.

 

Dear White Woman: Workshop & Book Discussion, October 18th

Watch for the Zoom Link in the coming weeks!

Book author Kimberlee Yolanda Williams and NYT Best Selling Author Debby Irving's workshop on getting past biases into a real sisterhood. Dear White Woman, Please Come Home is Kimberlee Yolanda Williams’ invitation to white women longing for authentic friendship with Black and brown women, the kind of friendship with no place for secrets, the kind of relationship where truth-telling is welcome... even when it hurts.

 

This workshop is brought to you by the LWVNYS in its continuing effort to support our collective journey toward policy and practice changes that will ensure an inclusive and equitable organization.

 

Voter Services

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

Now is the time for Leagues to execute what we do so well: registering new voters by October 14th, handling absentee ballot requests timely, GOTV during early voting October 29th –November 6th, and having candidate forums where we collaborate with neighboring Leagues and other organizations! National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a bigger event each year! And many of our Leagues participated again this year! Thanks for all of your hard work. Below are a few photos from the day - send yours to milly@lwvny.org.


NVRD Photos (LWVs of Albany County, St. Lawrence MAL Unit, NYC, Saratoga County and Rockland County)

State Fair

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped register voters and provide educational information to the public at the NY State Fair! We couldn't have done it without you all! The data from the Fair is as follows:

  • 272 People completed voter registration forms (which we mailed to their county BOEs)
  • 230 People took voter registration forms to complete later
  • 23 People completed absentee ballot applications (which we mailed to their county BOEs)
  • 118 People took absentee ballot applications to complete later
  • 171 People had questions answered or comments received

People who registered included:

  • a 72-year-old man who had never voted before
  • a formerly incarcerated person who didn't know that he could vote again
  • a high school teacher who took forms and brochures for his students
  • a woman who was excited to be able to complete an absentee ballot application because in the past, she couldn't get to her poll site
  • a 17-year-old who was excited to learn that he could pre-register to vote - and even went and brought his friends over to the booth to also pre-register


The League's presence made a difference for these people - and all voters in NYS!

Vote 411

Vote411.org goes live October 1st. Please urge candidates in your League’s area to respond so that voters can be educated and informed on all candidates running for office. The state League will email all members a flyer on Oct. 3 - we ask you all to print it out and post it in your neighborhood or community.

Issues and Advocacy

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

Erica Smitka, Deputy Director, Erica@lwvny.org

As we head into the fall, many of our state committees have been meeting to discuss priorities for the next legislative session. If you would like to get involved with any of the following committees, please reach out to the committee leads listed below:

  • Criminal Justice Committee, Co-Chairs

            Vivione Marshal (LWV of the City of New York)- vivione@lwvnyc.org

            Richard Rifkin (LWV of Albany County)- richardrifkin54@gmail.com

  • Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment Committee

            Beth Radow (LWV of Larchmont/Mamaroneck)- enradow@gmail.com

  • Healthcare Committee

            Judy Esterquest (LWV of Port Washington/Manhasset)- esterquest@gmail.com


Ethics Reform

The new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (the “Commission” or CELG) is coming together and the League along with several other good government groups has been monitoring the nominations and their progress. In early September, we encouraged them to get to work as the New York State Independent Review Committee (composed of the state’s law school deans) had approved seven out of eleven commissioners, enough commissioners appointed for a quorum – the legal minimum required to conduct business.

 

More recently, the League and good government groups wrote a letter encouraging the new commission to take part in the following practices. We identified the creation of the new Commission as an opportunity to “reset” public and state officers and employees’ expectations about state ethics oversight.

 

We’ve asked the Commissioners to do the following:

  1. Clearly firewall Commissioners from the elected officials (or their representatives) who appointed them (prohibit ex parte communications).
  2. Fully use the Commission’s powers under state law to fulfill the Commission’s mission of restoring public trust in state government.
  3. Pursue enforcement matters promptly, including previous Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) matters.
  4. Reexamine current protocols and procedures regarding advisory opinions to avoid abuse of authority (such as by requiring Commission approval of all opinions regarding agency heads and statewide elected officials).
  5. Appoint an Executive Director after a nationwide search.
  6. Ensure state workers feel confident in reporting allegations of misconduct.
  7. Require trauma-informed harassment training for all Commissioners and senior staff.
  8. Increase transparency and access to public information through use of open data for financial disclosure reports, improving the lobbying database, collaborating with the Attorney General’s New York Open Government portal, and developing clear guidelines regarding disclosing the status of investigations.
  9. Hold an annual hearing starting in 2022.

Youth Committee

Crystal Joseph, campus@lwvnyc.org, and Nick Doran, ndoran33@gmail.com

Welcome back to another school year and great opportunities on the horizon with our Leagues. This summer our youth steering committee used all the input from this year’s regional training to craft a resource page on our state website. In many cases, you will notice that all of the successful programs which serve students well, across the state, were included in our toolkit which can be adaptable for a variety of student learners, leaders and used for outreach or training events. If your local League is like most, the challenge is always understanding the audience, abilities and discerning which program model will work best. Over the past few months, we posed as many questions to our League leaders, student members and received as much input as possible to help continue to answer the call to civic readiness and election preparedness. With much thought, this toolkit illustrates the common areas that schools, community groups and campuses have found to be helpful training practices from our organization. Our hope is that you will have the opportunity to review the toolkit and join us in early October when we host our back-to-school webinar. Presently, our task force members are working on three areas of focus for fresh directives to engage our youth: social media literacy, challenges in the traditional classroom post pandemic and using more college campuses as election poll-sites including how to organize campus partners for continued support. Come and join us this October with feedback on any summer projects that your local League has found to be successful and other ideas that can help us better serve the thoughts, judgements, and impressions our young voters have on the sustained civic engagement process.


LWVNYS Youth Committee Back-to-School Event, October 12th, 6 - 7:30 PM

Register HERE

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) 

Regina Tillman, 3rd Vice President for DEI, rmt370@gmail.com, and Crystal Joseph, DEI Task Force Co-Chair, campus@lwvnyc.org

Good fortune smiled upon us and we easily scored a rescheduling of the workshop that had originally been planned for April. Remarkably, both Kimberlee Yolanda Williams and Debby Irving - as featured co-presenters - were available on a date in October!

 

So, please do make plans to join us and “SAVE THE DATE” of October 18th at 5:00pm – 7:00pm. The current agenda begins with the discussion of Ms. William’s inaugural entry as an author with her book, “Dear White Woman – Please Come Home”, before proceeding into the workshop portion. Look for registration info shortly as well as more information on how to obtain a copy of the book (maybe even signed), which includes a foreword written by Debby Irving.

 

We can sense it in the air… so many citizens of this country, our members included, want to do something more than eat turkey for Thanksgiving (November 24th) and turkey leftovers on Native American Heritage Day (November 25th)!

 

Join us for another amazing 21 Day Challenge; this one entitled the “Racial Equity Indigenous Challenge” and it begins on November 6th. With that Challenge, we will conduct a virtual DEI Drop-In Session during November to discuss your experiences with it. Plus, we will distribute a new one pager on “Land Acknowledgements” that month, developed by one of your DEI Task Force members, Linda McKenney. 


With this activity undertaken during November, we are pretty sure that you will be provided the stimulation for connecting the information with your family and friends, or your local League, or engaging another organization you are connected with in new conversations about the Indigenous People of the Americas. If any questions as you go along, or miss any of the online registration forms for accessing these activities, please feel free to connect with me at my email: rmt370@gmail.com .

LWVNYS Nominating Committee

Kate Willower Jankowski, Chair, kwillower@hotmail.com

Every other year, the State League Board Nominations Committee undertakes the task of nominating Board members that will help responsibly carry out the mission of the state League. As with all nominating committees, we endeavor to nominate a diverse group of people who will bring experience and passion to the Board. Thankfully, the state League has very clear by-laws governing the nominating committee’s work so our task is clearly defined and transparent.

 

“The board shall consist of the officers of the LWVNYS, up to five but not less than three elected directors, and up to four appointed directors. 

 

The officers of the LWVNYS shall be a president, a first vice-president, with up to but no more than three additional vice-presidents, and either a secretary and a treasurer or a combined position of secretary/treasurer. The number and order of vice-presidents and whether the offices of secretary and treasurer shall be combined shall be recommended by the Nominating Committee. Any of those offices may not be eliminated or combined until the term of an elected officer is concluded. The Officers shall be elected by the convention and hold office until the conclusion of the next convention or until their successors have been elected and qualified.”

 

The Nominating Committee is made up of three elected League members and two Board members nominated by the President of the state League Board. Every other Fall, we begin the process of building the slate by having the nominating chair attend a state League Board meeting. We then interview each current Board member asking a series of standard questions that include:

  • Tell me about your experience as a LWVNYS Board member so far.
  • What do you think are the strengths of the current Board?
  • What do you think would help make it stronger?
  • Are you interested in continuing your service? If so, in what capacity? If not, why not?
  • Do you know any prospective Board candidates that you would recommend we consider? In what capacity/Why?

 

The answers to these questions inform our process as we build the slate. They allow us to know which Board members would like to continue serving, what areas of expertise are represented on the Board and what areas we might need to cover with new members, and give us some leads on others Board members have worked with who might be ready and willing to step into a leadership role. It is important to note that, just because someone is willing to continue service on the Board, that does not mean they are guaranteed a renewal of membership. Because the Board is relatively small, the nominating committee may choose to nominate new candidates to give others a chance at a leadership position and/or increase expertise or diversity on the Board.

 

After we interview all the current Board members, we put a notice in the SBU and Voter to ask if anyone would like to nominate (or self-nominate) any candidates for the Board. We then begin outreach to those potential candidates. Through calls and interviews, we determine if these potential candidates are interested and would fill needs identified on the Board. As we conduct this outreach, we are ever aware of our goal to build diversity on the Board. We consider diversity in many areas–race, gender, geography, expertise, age, and experience as a League member. We consider the best slate to include people of diverse backgrounds who can offer multiple perspectives as the state League moves into the future.

 

We often look to local League representatives and Board members to nominate leaders in their ranks as the best way to identify our next state Board members. We are beginning our process to create the next slate now and would love to hear from you if you, or anyone you know, would be interested in serving. You can contact me at kwillower@hotmail.com to self-nominate or nominate someone you know.

 

In March of every other year, we present our proposed slate to the current Board. That slate is then voted on by delegates during the state Convention and our new Board members begin their two-year terms leading this exciting and dynamic organization.

LWV and the United Nations

Jane Colvin (LWVNYS Board Member), janecolvin914@aol.com

Hello! My name is Jane Colvin and I’m one of five members of the 2022 LWVUS UN Observer Team appointed by President Deborah Turner. I am delighted and honored to be a part of the League’s long and distinguished history with the UN which began in 1945 when President Truman invited the League to serve as consultant to the US Delegation at the UN Charter Conference. Since that time, the League has continued its presence at the United Nations through its UN Observers team; in 1997 the League was granted Special Consultative Status by the ECOSOC which allows it to make formal oral or written statements to the UN and be consulted by the UN in areas in which the League has expertise.

 

Each member of the LWVUS UN Observer Team focuses on working on a particular issue or with a UN group. On behalf of the Team, I chose to work with and become a member of the New York NGO Commission on the Status of Women (NGO CSW/NY), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It provides an important forum for the dissemination of information, discussion and exchange of ideas on United Nations’ initiatives to advance the status of women and girls.

 

It is one of many the civil society organizations that works along with the official UN CSW, created in 1946, whose members are appointed from UN member states. Each year, the UN CSW focuses on a priority theme for discussion and in the Spring holds a two-week session at the UN Headquarters; it invites accredited organizations like the NGOCSW/NY to contribute by holding educational events and meetings that run parallel to its official UN session. This year’s priority theme is “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” During the two weeks of the UN CSW, NGO CSW/NY organizes hundreds of events that inform, engage, and inspire grassroots efforts and advocacy needed to empower women and girls. The LWVUS UN Observer Team will be conducting a panel discussion in March to which you all will be invited.

 

In the meantime, I would like to draw your attention to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are at the core of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that member states adopted in 2015. The 17 goals aim to bring about a more just and equitable world, including through ending extreme poverty, achieving gender equality, and spurring economic growth, while also tackling climate change and preserving the natural environment. In short, they are a sweeping vision for improving the lives of the world's people. by 2030.

 

The SDGs and its distinctive wheel have become well-known, but for many of us here in New York and across the United States they may exist on a purely conceptual level: we don’t often think about how they apply to our own lives. In succeeding SBUs, I will explore different Goals and how we, in League and as individuals, can contribute to their implementation.

 

In the meantime, to get a head start about the goals and how you can contribute, I invite you to click on the following: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/news/communications-material/ 

 

From LWV of Colorado on Immigration Reform

All members are invited to join Google Group to work on this issue.

At the LWVUS Convention in Denver, the topic of Immigration Reform and LWVUS Advocacy was the focus of both a caucus and a resolution. 


The Immigration Reform and LWVUS Advocacy resolution was sponsored by a broad group of LWV members from across the country. It received a strong YES vote of 767-32. The goals of the motion were to encourage active advocacy by LWVUS and also support for state and local advocacy on immigration. The motion read as follows:


    Whereas the League of Women Voters has had a long-standing immigration position since 2008 and a strong commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI),

    Be it resolved that LWVUS actively advocates and supports Immigration Reform at all levels of LWV.  


 A caucus entitled “Immigration Reform and League Advocacy” was attended by about 60 people in person as well as many virtually. The steering committee for the caucus now wants to take the momentum from the Convention and build a broader group of Leaguers dedicated to taking action.

A LWV Immigration Google Group connects members interested in immigration for the sharing of ideas for education, announcements of events and strategies for action. 


To join send your name, league affiliation and email to Jane Andrews, a member in San Diego jmlandrews@gmail.com.  Additionally there will be Zoom meetings and webinars to learn what is happening in states and collaborate on legislative action.


For those working on healthcare reform, we see the intersectionality of the issue of immigration with promoting universal healthcare. Our public health depends on everyone having access to affordable, quality healthcare.

 

Linda Mahan

LWV Larimer County, CO

Local League News

Albany County

The Albany County League recently visited Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site at Val-Kill in Hyde Park, New York. Members toured the site and listened to a presentation by Supervisory Park Ranger Franceska Macsali Urbinon on Eleanor Roosevelt’s development as a crusader for social reform through her friendships with women activists of the 1920s and '30s, including her association with the League of Women Voters.


Syracuse Metro

The Syracuse Metro League’s most recent 1st Wednesday Lunch was on the topic of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Attendees heard from guest speaker Kristi Andersen, a Professor Emeritus at SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, who discussed the long history of the fight for the ERA, and the likely outcome of the amendment’s future.


NYC

The New York City League recently celebrated the return of their “Lunch with the League” event! League members enjoyed a conversation with District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who discussed his vision for safety and justice in Manhattan, and shared steps that his office has taken to fulfill that vision.


The Buffalo/Niagara League

The Buffalo/Niagara, Buffalo NAACP, and Voice Buffalo hosted a Luncheon program titled “The Harder We Run: The State of Black Buffalo in 1990 and the Present.” The guest speaker Henry Louis Taylor Jr., a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Director of University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies. Using the report of a study done in 1990, Dr. Taylor told attendees what happened to Black Buffalo over the past 32 years, why it happened, and what members of the public can do about it.


St. Lawrence MAL Unit

Volunteers from the St. Lawrence County League registered new voters for National Voter Registration Day! Tabling events were held at SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University as well as the Watertown Community Health Center where League members handed out voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications. In addition, the League volunteers answered questions about early voting, absentee voting and what officers are up for election in 2022, including state-wide officers, the entire NYS Assembly and NY Senate, as well as local county and town races.


Utica-Rome

On National Voter Registration Day, the Utica-Rome Metro Area League worked with teachers and 40 students in the New Visions Program of the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES to present on the history and importance of voting. The League was aided by a PowerPoint presentation, constructed by First Vice President Dianne DiMeo and adapted from the LWVNY “Youth Toolkit.” The presentation outlined also included instructions on how to fill out the voter registration form and what to expect when casting one’s ballot at the polls.


Chautauqua County

Over the course of the previous semester and into the current semester, the Chautauqua County League has collaborated with SUNY Fredonia’s American Democracy Project (ADP) Committee. The ADP Committee was formed with the goal of educating students to become engaged in civic issues through participatory democracy, as well as to encourage students to become well-informed voters and to appreciate the impact that voter participation can have. The League, ADP, and ADP’s student representative to create a series of weekly blog posts that are geared to the student audience. Topics have included: Reliable Media Sources and Media Bias; Polarization; Redistricting; Gerrymandering; Political Gatekeeping and Gaslighting, Primary Elections; and the Importance of Voting to Students.


Nassau County

The Nassau County League member Michele Lamberti advertised the County’s redistricting hearings through an Letter to the Editor in Newsday (see letter here). The Letter advertised when the proposed mapping plan will be released, how to send statements to the redistricting commission, and the dates of the in-person hearings. The Letter also emphasized the importance of submitting statements, and encouraged the public to attend the in-person hearings.

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