League of Women Voters of NYS


October 2014 

From the State League Office

Dear League friends,

The election is 11 days away. We are all getting weary and if you're like me, you're tired of all the political ads on TV and the computerized phone calls. But, we can't stop now. Actually, we need to become even more vocal and active to engage voters for these last few days.


Based on a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, voters have become LESS interested in the election since June. This is the first time this has happened, according to the pollsters. In the 2006 election, voter interest rose from 55% to 61% from June to October; in 2010, it rose from 51% to 61%. Yet, this year, interest has declined from 51% to 50% since June. (See charts and article at http://graphics.wsj.com/wsjnbcpoll/) In the articles they speculate that the public is less interested because of a dissatisfaction with leaders in Washington and elsewhere.


For the next 11 days, then, the League needs to be even more visible. Talk with your neighbors, friends, co-worker and family and make sure that they are going to vote. Post Vote 411 flyers in businesses, libraries, town halls and anywhere to get people looking at the races and candidates. Contact your local league officers or board and see what you can do to help. New York ranked 48th in voter participation in the 2010 election - we have to improve that number and get the public voting! 


Then, for a treat after the election, join League friends at the United Nations on November 13. It's a fun and educational day. You can tour the UN building, have a wonderful lunch buffet in the gorgeous Delegates' Dining Room (overlooking the East River and possibly with some UN delegates) and then hear a briefing on the important global issue of water; come hear how water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for families across the world. Space is limited so call the state office or send in your registration form now!


Hang in there - we're almost there! Countdown to election day has begun. Thanks for all that you do to help encourage and educate our voters. Our democracy depends on it.


Laura Bierman, Executive Director
League of Women Voters of NYS
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS


Judicial Candidate Guide
In New York State certain judgeships are filled by election, while others are filled by appointment. The Judicial Candidate Voter Guide, prepared by the NY Unified Court System, provides information about judges who are candidates in the 2014 General Election. The Voter Guide  covers all judgeships except Town and Village Courts. This page also provides basic information about the different courts in the NY State Court System. To view the Voter Guide and for more information about the courts, go to www.nycourts.gov/vote.


Judicial Candidate Guide
Amazon Smile
Issues and Advocacy
League Day at the UN
Grassroots Director
Vote 411
Local League News
Have you "liked" the League on Facebook? Click here.

Have you donated to the League or the League's Education Foundation? We need your support to maintain our strength, visibility and programs. Click on the "DONATE" buttons here

Amazon Smile
The State League has just joined a new program to help raise funds. AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the State League every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a 0.5% of the purchase price to the State League's Education Foundation. To shop at Amazon Smile, simply go to smile.amazon.com instead of just amazon.com and search for the League of Women Voters of NYS as your selected charitable organization.


Vote 411
Go to www.vote411.org NOW to get all the info on races and candidates on the your ballot. Also review the pros and cons of the three proposals on the ballot in November, too. Share the link with friends and family.
Sally Robinson, President, robintwins@gmail.com

The busiest League time of the year is wrapping up with less than two weeks until Election Day. Our efforts to pass Proposal 1 reforming the state's redistricting process continue.


The state office or our partner Citizens Union has sent copies of the Vote Yes For Progress palm card to local leagues. Please distribute them as widely as possible-take to public buildings, including the library, set out at your meetings and other organizations' meetings in your community. Have local volunteers give them out on Election Day. Thank you for all your efforts. If you have any questions, please contact the state office.   Vote Yes For Progress also has a great video out that that you can access from www.voteyesforprogress.org, or on our website www.lwvny.org. Please share it with everyone you know. You can also download a toolkit, http://www.voteyes4progress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Final-Vote-Yes-Campaign-Toolkit1.pdf and sign up as a campaign ambassador.


You can see links to several debates or forums on Proposal 1 on the League website. They have been intense, interesting and a wonderful reminder of how the League can get out there and argue for what we believe in. Both Elisabeth McNamara, LWVUS President and Deirdre Mcnab, Florida state President, are supporters of Proposal 1 and how we are trying to accomplish in New York what Florida has already accomplished, banning partisan gerrymandering in our state constitution.


League Day at the United Nations

 The annual League Day at the United Nations will be held on Thursday, November 13. All members, family and friends are invited to join us for a fun and educational day. The day includes a tour of the UN building, lunch in the Delegates Dining Room and a briefing by key UN experts. The topic this year is "Water for Life" the UN International Decade for Action 2005-2015.



From the "Water for Life" website:   

Water is essential for life. No living being on planet Earth can survive without it. It is a prerequisite for human health and well-being as well as for the preservation of the environment. However, four of every ten people in the world do not have access to even a simple pit latrine; and nearly two in ten have no source of safe drinking water. Every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. According to the World Health Organization, each and every day some 3,900 children die because of dirty water or poor hygiene; diseases transmitted through water or human excrement are the second-leading cause of death among children worldwide, after respiratory diseases. Water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Water-related natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and tsunamis exert a heavy toll in human life and suffering. And all too regularly, drought afflicts some of the world's poorest countries, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.


Beyond meeting basic human needs, water supply and sanitation services, as well as water as a resource, are critical to sustainable development. It is a major source of energy in some parts of the world, while in others its potential as an energy source remains largely untapped. Water is also necessary for agriculture and for many industrial processes. And in more than a few countries, it makes up an integral part of transport systems. With improved scientific understanding, the international community has also come to appreciate more fully the valuable services provided by water-related ecosystems, from flood control to storm protection and water purification.


Click here for the registration form; it is also posted on the state League website. Encourage all to join us on November 13 at the United Nations. Space is limited so call the state office now (518-465-4162) or email or fax your registration from NOW! 

Carol Mellor, camellor@aol.com

Update on Issues Conference Call

Earlier this month, approximately 40 members participated in the Update on Issues Conference Call on the redistricting proposition. Sally Robinson provided expert analysis and answered questions ranging from analysis of the proposal to the applicability of the Florida experience on our state.


A follow-up call is planned on the process by which the state League determines its position with respect to pending legislation and constitutional amendments. If anyone wishes to participate in such a call please let Carol Mellor know at camellor@aol.com.

Vote 411
Marianna Stout, marianna.stout@att.net
Victoria Melillo-Jordan, victoria@lwvny.org

As we near the end of election season, we want to extend our sincere thanks to all of our local Leagues for all your help with Vote411! Thanks to your hard-work, we now have 395 races live on Vote411, including 142 Assembly races, 55 Senate races, all 27 Congressional races and over 150 local races.


Please remember to advertise Vote411 in your communities! Please let us know if you need us to re-send you a copy of the Vote411 flyer. Thanks again for all over your help! This would not have been possible without you!


Dare Thompson, darethompson@gmail.com

MLD: The Membership and Leadership Development Program (MLD), a collaboration among all three levels of the LWV, recently welcomed three more NY Leagues into the program - Larchmont/Mamaroneck, Rivertowns, and Rye, RyeBrook, Port Chester. Their coaches include Donna Dardaris, Carole Torok-Huxtable and me, with Lisa Scott and Susan Schwarz assisting.  Continuing MLD Leagues and their coaches are Buffalo/Niagara, Rochester Wayne County MAL (now coached by Kathleen Stein), and Syracuse with me, Lisa Scott, and Carole Torok-Huxtable also coaching.


We're coming to ELMIRA! We are bringing together the Southern Tier Leagues and any others who are interested on JANUARY 10 (a Saturday, from 10:30 - 3 at the Elmira Library, with a snowdate of January 24) to talk about whatever issues you're having with membership and leadership development as well as advocacy and education efforts. ALL League members are welcome, not just board members.


Terri Parks and I from the LWVNYS board and Laura Ladd Bierman and Victoria Melillo-Jordan, state office staff, will be braving whatever Mother Nature offers to get there from the Hudson Valley, Buffalo and Albany so please come out and greet them in with lots of smiling faces! This is a great chance to share concerns, questions, and successful ideas and possibly find ways to work across local league lines on studies, advocacy and other activities. 


We thank Barb Luther in the Chemung County LWV for all her help with this. More details will be coming out soon, but if you have questions now, contact me at darethompson@gmail.com or Barb at bluther@stny.rr.com.


Kate Jankowski, kate@lwvny.org

As you contemplate your year-end giving, we hope you will keep the LWVNYS Education Foundation at the top of your list. Gifts to the Foundation are tax deductible and help run a variety of educational programs and services like Vote411.org and Students Inside Albany.


Of course, we welcome traditional cash gifts but we also can accept gifts of appreciated securities or donations from your IRA minimum distribution. Both types of gifts offer additional tax benefits beyond the charitable deduction from a cash gift.


The League also offers a monthly giving option where a set amount per month can be charged to your credit card. Giving monthly is a great way to maximize your gift to the League while staying on your budget.


And, as you are considering your holiday shopping list, please remember that an honorary gift to the League is a great way to show someone that you are thinking of them. Just provide us with the name and address of the person you'd like to honor, along with your donation, and we will send them a card alerting them to your thoughtful gift.


Finally, have you included the League in your will?  You do not need to tell us an amount, just let us know of your intentions and we will add you to our 1919 Society.  If you have not yet included the League in your estate plans but would like to, you should know that bequests are the most popular way donors make deferred gifts. By making a bequest to the League, you can maintain control of your assets during your lifetime and still support the League for the next generation of members. You can make a bequest that is a percentage of your estate or stipulate a specific dollar amount.

For more information on any of these giving options, please contact Kate Jankowski, Communications and Development Coordinator, at (518) 465-4162 or kate@lwvny.org.


Local League News

All of our local Leagues continue to be very busy with voter registration drives, distributing voter guides, hosting candidate forums/debates and community forums on Prop 1, the redistricting amendment on the ballot in November. Thanks to all of our local Leagues and members for working so hard to educate voters this election season.


The Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Rensselaer Leagues have cooperated on the purchase of an ad promoting Vote411 on the sides of twelve CDTA buses throughout the Capital District.          


LWV Buffalo-Niagara provided a timekeeper at the one gubernatorial debate held this year - in Buffalo on October 22nd.

LWV of Brookhaven held a meeting to discuss the Common Core Standards and Curriculum with Dr. Julie Davis Lutz, Chief Operations Officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES.


LWV of Port Washington-Manhasset invited Vishal Agraharkar, J.D., Counsel at the Brennan Center's Democracy Program of the NYU Law School to speak on the topic of voting rights' restrictions.


On the first Friday of each month, between 11:00 and 1:00, the LWV of Rochester Metro Area meets informally to discuss important issues. Topics are decided by those who attend.  


LWV of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester will be hosting a Fireside Chat in November with David L Auerbach presenting "The Enigma of Richard M. Nixon: Prelude to Watergate."


LWV of Scarsdale hosted a candidate's forum and will be holding a discussion on the proposed Scarsdale Schools bond referendum next month.


In Cortland County, the League's new Good Government Committee has asked County Legislators to work toward a more open government that respects and responds to concerns of constituents.  In an August 8 letter, the Committee submitted several recommendations to the Solid Waste Committee to improve compliance with state environmental requirements ("SEQR" law and regulation).  This was followed by an August 26 editorial in the Cortland Standard.  


LWV of Utica Rome will be welcoming new citizens at naturalization ceremonies and distributing Voter Registration Forms next month.


LWV of Tompkins County will be hosting a discussion "Responding to Climate Change Can't Wait: Two Examples," which will focus on the problems affecting agriculture as the climate changes.



League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162;  FAX: 518-465-0812
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS