League of Women Voters of NYS


November 2012

President's Message

On behalf of the League of Women Voters of New York State, I rang the opening bell for NASDAQ on Election Day 2012, and was able to broadcast over Times Square the League's message about the importance of citizens exercising their right to vote, including these words:  


"I am more aware than ever of how treasured the right to choose our leaders is. In addition to the tragic loss of life in our area from Hurricane Sandy, many spent the week before the election dealing with the loss of homes, property and electricity. Yet the League had many calls asking how they can still vote. It is remarkable how people who have lost so much are so concerned that they be able to exercise their right to vote."


I hope all those of you who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy are well and recovering in spirit and property. The last few weeks have proved that unexpected things can impact Election Day and League schedules.   I want to thank all the league leaders in Westchester, New York City and Long Island who worked so hard before Election Day to make sure that our state League website had the latest information on last-minute changes in polling sites and ballot requirements. We were fortunate that our state office is in Albany and not in downtown Manhattan, like many of our good government colleagues, and this helped us prove yet again our important role in providing voting information.


Watch the video here of the event at NASDAQ.



Vote 411
Voter Services
2012 Election Survey
Issues and Advocacy
Youth Programs
Campaign Finance Reform Project
Local League News

LWVNYS 2013 State Convention

Save the Date: 2013 LWVNYS Convention

The state League has contracted with the Albany Hilton to host the 2013 state Convention on June 1-2, 2013. Be sure to mark your calendars now for this important event!

Please Support the LWVNYS Education Foundation
The annual direct mail appeal was mailed last week for the LWVNYS Education Foundation. Funds received from this mailing provide the vital support for the League's many educational programs.  Public education is a primary goal of the League's mission and we need your help to continue our efforts.
Please send your donations to LWVNYS Education Foundation, 62 Grand St, Albany, NY 12207 or donate online here.
Donations to LWVNYS Education Foundation are tax-deductible. Thanks for your help!
Vote 411

We can celebrate that Vote411 was well used for this election. Thanks to all of our local Leagues who helped implement the program and urge candidates to participate. In looking at the analytics, there were 39,886 different users on the site between Oct. 1 and Nov. 6, 2012 - that is a lot of educated voters. We are now evaluating the program and its implementation and will be offering training for local Leagues on Vote 411. With the elections being local elections next fall, the success of Vote 411 will be determined by the number of local Leagues who implement the program - the state League will not be able to cover the local races. So, watch for more information and start finding volunteers to help implement Vote 411 for your local League.

Voter Services: Susan Multer

 All of the local Leagues were very busy throughout the election season - between the primaries and the general election, we covered a lot of candidate forums and voter registration drives. Now is the time to boast about those efforts. Each League has been asked to complete a Voter Service Survey and attach photos, media articles and sample brochures - and send it to the State League office. We will compile the results and be amazed at all the good work that was done to educate our voters.


Thanks for your help!

elesurvey2012 Election Survey

2012 Survey of Voting Machines and Voting Process

Thanks to all of you who completed the survey on the voting machines and process. We received over 1,000 responses. This survey is an update to the 2010 survey when the new voting machines were first implemented. The results of this survey, similar to the 2010 results, will be used in testimony to the State Board of Elections and the legislature, with recommendations for an improved election system. Watch for the results soon!

Issues and Advocacy: Sally Robinson

Great Lakes Ecosystem Concurrence

Council 2012 approved an amendment of program to undertake a concurrence by the New York State LWV with the Great Lakes Ecosystem Position developed by the Michigan LWV. Click here for information on the LWV Michigan position. Local Leagues have been asked to schedule a meeting during the fall so that members can familiarize themselves with this position.  The meeting can be done in conjunction with a regularly scheduled board meeting, but it should be open to all members. Then, the local League must complete and return the form indicating approval or disapproval of the consensus position to the state League office; the deadline for submission of your local League report has been extended to February 1, 2013.


2013 Legislative Agenda

At its November meeting, the state Board adopted the 2013 Legislative Agenda. This brochure is free to local Leagues but supplies are often limited so make sure your League submits its order NOW!


2013 Legislative Agenda : Steps To A Better New York 

Campaign Finance Reform

Support lower contribution limits, increased disclosure and a system of small donor matching funds. In particular, support stronger and effective campaign finance enforcement with increased penalties for violations.


Election Reform

Improve election processes to extend, encourage and protect voting, including paperless and Election Day registration, early voting, better ballot design, improved polling place management/ poll worker training, a single June primary, and measures to ensure the integrity of all ballots.


Other Government Positions

Promote effective ethics enforcement and open and transparent government processes; protect individual liberties and reproductive choices; monitor impact of the property tax levy cap on localities and schools.


Natural Resources

Support protection and management of New York's natural resources in the public interest, including energy conservation and energy options from renewable sources.


Health Care

Support affordable and effective health care for all New Yorkers.


Other League Positions

The League also has positions on the Judiciary, State Finances, and Social Policy, including transportation policy, under which we can and do take action.

Membership: Georgia DeGregorio

Dare Thompson, MLD State Coordinator, and I met with a local league to discuss its concerns of having a small number of members and a need for new leadership.  We focused on the strengths that this League possesses.  They have a strong sense of League history in their area as well as  a community that supports them.  Given this we came up with a plan small enough not to overwhelm their small group, but has  a high probability of success.  Their goal is to increase their membership by 100%.   Currently they are implementing this plan with enthusiasm.  There are other small leagues that face similar challenges and we continue to try to meet with them.  If you are interested, give me a call.

Youth Programs: Judie Gorenstein

All but 2 of our local Leagues have responded to our requests for information about local youth programs. We are excited about many of the new programs Leagues are organizing. Watch on the Youth Page of the state League website for more information on the many programs. Maybe your local League would like to replicate one of the programs - give a call for help!


Students Inside Albany Conference (April 14-17, 2013)

SIA remains the youth program in which the majority of the local Leagues participate. Information with suggestions for recruitment of students for 2013 SIA (April 14-17) was emailed to all local leagues in late September. We have set a maximum limit this year of 60 students( 6 more than attended this year). A League cannot send more than two students; the first student is free (except for cost of transportation) and the 2nd student will cost $600. In addition however, each of the ILOs will be able to send a student if that youth comes from an area in which there is no local League. Each local League must tell the state League office (email katrina@lwvny.org or call 518-465-4162) if they are sending a student or two students (not names, just numbers for now) by Dec. 15 to reserve a spot. The forms to be completed by the student selected will be emailed next week and must be submitted to the state office by February 15, 2013.

Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance Reform Education Project

The program-ready materials on campaign finance reform have been mailed to each local League President or one of the Co-Presidents. The same materials were emailed to all local League leaders and posted on the state League website as well. These materials include a Power Point presentation and background paper to educate the public about New York's current campaign finance system, the problems of the current system and propose a series of reforms to remedy them, including public funding of elections. All local Leagues have been asked to schedule a community forum or membership meeting to present these materials as soon as possible and no later than March, 2013. We hope to educate the public on this issue NOW as we expect this issue to be debated in either a possible special legislative session prior to January 1 or early in the legislative session of 2013.


Some local Leagues have already presented the materials - thanks for responding quickly. And, we have over 25 presentations scheduled for the next 3 months. Please send the state office any media coverage of your forum as well as a report on the number in attendance, response from the audience, and any unanswered questions.

Local League News


 Congratulations to the LWV of Nassau County which just received a grant of $10,000 to educate and inform the public about redistricting in Nassau County. The money will be used for mailings, for meetings on redistricting with the public, and to get the League's website more available and accessible on this and other areas of interest .  


The Broome/Tioga Counties League held several Voter Registration and Naturalization ceremonies between July and October. They had over 135 individual contacts with the public, registered 25 new voters, distributed 11 absentee ballot applications, and recruited two new LWV members. The League also participated in two ceremonies at which 76 new citizens were naturalized.


The Chemung League registered 10 new voters and gave out several voter registration applications at their voter registration drive on Sept.22.  Tompkins County League registered over 500 new voters this past summer - the most ever! In an effort to get out the vote, the White Plains League ran a continuous advertisement on all 15 digital signs at the city-owned parking facilities from October 15 through November 6th. Saratoga County League registered over 300 people in Saratoga County.


 In western NY, the League of Buffalo-Niagara held 21 voter registration drives with over 40 volunteers participating.  The LWVBN attended citizenship ceremonies in September and October at which approximately 55-60 new citizens took the oath of allegiance to our country at each of the ceremonies. Members of the Wayne County (MAL) attended the first Naturalization Ceremony in Wayne County in over 50 years.

LWVBN members served as organizers, moderators and time keepers for four candidate forums and the Channels 17 and 2 debates between Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins, candidates for the 27th congressional district. These events offered voters a close look at candidates in their communities.


The LWV of East Nassau, the LWV of Central Nassau, and the Cultural Program of Nassau Community College co-sponsored a Candidates Forum for candidates for the new 4th Congressional District. The Saratoga League held a Meet the Candidates event for the candidates in the 4th Judicial District. LWV of Rye/Rye Brook/Port Chester organized candidate forums for the races of US Congress, NYS Senate and NYS Assembly.


The Voter Services group of Schenectady LWV was very active this fall. They registered 115 voters, and provided approximately 100 additional voter registration forms to be filled out by voters and mailed in, as well as several absentee ballot applications. At least 30 League members staffed registration tables at the voter registration drives.


Syracuse LWV will be held a meeting on the Great Lakes Ecosystem Concurrence in November at the CNY Philanthropy Center.  Rochester Metro Area League held their forum at Brighton Town Hall and guest speaker Professor Joseph Makarewicz of SUNY Brockport spoke on the impact this position would have on the Great Lakes system

The Rivertowns League and the Hamptons League each participated in the LWVUS Voter Registration Day Tuesday, September 25. The Hamptons League set up 15 voter registration tables, while the Rivertowns League passed out registration forms at train stations. 


The LWV of the Hamptons discussed NYS Campaign Finance Reform (CFR) at their general membership meeting in November.  The Scarsdale League also held their forum on NYS Campaign Finance Reform and Sally Robinson, LWVNYS President spoke at the forum. The Tompkins League held their Campaign Finance Reform Forum at which  LWVNYS Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti presented the state League's educational program. LWV of New Castle also held an educational forum using the state League's campaign finance reform materials. LWV of NYC is co-sponsoring an educational forum on CFR with the Brennan Center of NYU Law School and Demos on December 12; a panel of speakers including Barbara Bartoletti will discuss this important issue. Carol Mellor, LWVNYS Board Member, presented the CFR program for the LWV Utica/Rome; attendance at this forum was one of the highest for any of their programs.


 The Bedford Lewisboro and North Salem League held a viewing of the film "Patriocracy" at the White Plains Public. A post-film discussion was led by Evelyn Stock, former President of LWVNY.


In October,  LWV of Geneva held a movie night featuring the recent Bill Moyers documentary entitled: "The United States of ALEC". ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council comprised of corporations and conservative legislators from every state in the US who are wined, dined and advised by ALEC's corporate members.


LWV of Plattsburgh also held a movie night at which Gasland was shown. An award winning documentary, GASLAND, depicts problems with high volume hydrofracturing in the extraction of natural gas. Gary Henry, geologist and associate professor at Clinton Community College lead a question and answer program immediately following the film.


The Chemung League held a forum entitled What Happens Now? - Post Elections. The forum composed of Democratic local committee chair and Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore and Republican local committee chair and Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen along with one other member of their respective committees shared their views on what the consequences of the election results may be for all of us. 


Skidmore Professor Ronald Seyb will discuss the new congressional composition at the LWV of Albany County's annual holiday luncheon. At LWV of Cortland's annual holiday lunch, legislative priorities will be discussed. 


LWV of Chautauqua  held a luncheon with the program "How Many Kinds of Courts Goes New York State Need?"  LWV of Tompkins County also held a meeting to discuss court simplification. 
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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
Website: www.lwvny.org