League of Women Voters of NYS


April 2016  

From the President
Whew!  April 19th has come and gone (along with the presidential candidates) and now we're left with outrage about purged voters, poorly trained workers at many polling sites, and - on clear display this year - our very restrictive NY election laws. Finally everyone could see how wrong it is that if you want to change your party affiliation you had to think to do that last October!  And don't get us started on how tight a grip the two major parties have on every other aspect of our voting as well.
    But what an opportunity this presents to all of us to speak out in all media about these issues! We will be sending out a sample letter that you can use. We hope you're gathering local statistics you can use as well. Don't hesitate to send us stories from your polling places right away. They'll really help us round out our picture of what happened across the state.
    And while voters are frustrated, encourage them to join the League and work with you and us to make NY's elections more open and fair and to increase voter turn-out.
    The election happened only days after our last two regional meetings in Syracuse and Buffalo and we thank the local Leagues who helped make these a success. You came full of energy and many reported going home even more energized, and those of us from "State" loved seeing and hearing all of you. Hearing about Albany battles and from the Con Con and organ donation speakers and participating in the discussions on getting out the vote, the Centennial of the vote for women, and having FUN were highlights for many. 
    But best of all for all of us is just the opportunity to connect with one another and swap stories. We'll see what you all say when we send out a survey. Meanwhile you can click here to view the handouts we shared (link also available on the homepage of the state website).
     I hope to see many of you in Albany on May 10 for Lobby Day and at the LWVUS Convention in Washington, DC in mid-June

Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
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Twitter: @LWVNYS
Travel with the League
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1919 Society

The Elections Continue
Vote 411 is live with general election information. Specific info on races and candidates for the June primary will be posted later this spring. Go to www.vote411.org to get the information. 

  • Register in person by Friday, June 3rd
  • Register by mail: Postmarked by Friday, June 3rd and received by June 8th
  • Apply for absentee ballot in person by Monday, June 27th
  • Apply for absentee ballot by mail: postmarked by Tuesday, June 21st
  • Deliver ballot in person by Tuesday, June 28th
  • Deliver ballot by mail: postmarked by Monday, June 27th and received by Tuesday, July 5th
  • Register in person by Friday, August 19th
  • Register by mail: Postmarked by Friday, August 19th and received by August 24th
  • Apply for absentee ballot in person by Monday, September 12th
  • Apply for absentee ballot by mail: postmarked by Tuesday, September 6th
  • Deliver ballot in person by Tuesday, September 13th
  • Deliver ballot by mail: postmarked by Monday, September 12th and received by Tuesday, September 17th
  • Register in person by Friday, October 14th
  • Register by mail: Postmarked by Friday, October 14th and received by October 19th
  • Apply for absentee ballot in person by Monday, November 7th
  • Apply for absentee ballot by mail: postmarked by Tuesday, November 1st
  • Deliver ballot in person by Tuesday, November 8th
  • Deliver ballot by mail: postmarked by Monday, November 7th and received by Saturday, November 12th
Sally Robinson, robintwins@gmail.com
Advocacy Training/Lobby Day: May 10 in Albany
Come learn about our advocacy agenda, hear directly from the Issue Specialists about our expected action for the 2016 Legislative Session and lobby your own legislators!

10am - 1pm Presentations by Issue Specialists (election reform, women's issues,                                ethics, financing education, transportation, healthcare and more)
1 pm - 2:30 pm Members lobby own legislators
(appointments made by attendees in advance)
3 pm - 5 pm Observe Senate and Assembly in Session

Location: Cornerstone at the Plaza, Empire State Plaza (former Sign of the Tree Restaurant)
Click here for registration form or you can register online at:


Single Payer Healthcare
The Campaign for NY Health is organizing a day of lobbying for the Single Payer healthcare bill. Click here for more information or to register. 
Judie Gorenstein, Judiel728@aol.com
Primary Day was here and is over.  The regional workshops are over.  What have we learned?  What do we need to do?  What is it we want to accomplish this year in voter services throughout our state? 
The regional workshops on candidates nights and getting out the vote showed that our local Leagues are striving to have successful candidates nights and understand the importance of having a comprehensive written policy that can be publicized and sent to candidates.  Leagues are also looking at new ways to get out the vote and are willing to try out new ideas and think outside of the box.  Leading up to and on Primary Day, we learned from the many phone calls to the Leagues that many citizens were unaware or confused about our closed primary system.  We also learned that many wanted to vote for the very first time in a primary and were upset that they could not if they were not enrolled in a party. Surprisingly on Long Island, I learned that many people who called were upset that they had not received any information in the mail or on the phone about the primary.  I say surprisingly because in Suffolk County, many of us participated in making phone calls for the pilot project to inform people about the primary and our major concern was that they would have been inundated with calls. It is too early to learn the result of this pilot project, but we did find out that our League volunteers were up to the task and did call the entire list. The day after the primary, we learned that turn-out was higher than usual for a primary, but as our local newspaper stated, "The bar is very low."   
So what do we need to do? We certainly need to continue to educate voters.  We have the information on primaries as well as general elections.  It is on our state and local websites.  It is in our pamphlets and voters guide.  We include information in our local Voters and on palm cards, facebooks, etc.   Some of us have written letters to the editors.  What else can we do?  Any new ideas?  Share them.  Let's not lose this opportunity when so many people have shown interest.  If not now when?  Together we can accomplish!      
On March 15, as part of our celebration of Women's History Month, LWV of East Nassau honored District Court Judge Andrea Phoenix, for her dedicated work in the special, problem-solving Mental Health, Drug and Veterans Courts of the county. Judge Phoenix and several of her staff and associates discussed how these courts work to keep people with certain extenuating situations out of prison, and help them to get their lives back on track. These are among the most successful alternatives to incarceration.
If Susan B. Anthony were alive today... was presented by LWV of Rochester Metro on April 11th. Catherine Cerulli, Director of the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University of Rochester was invited to introduce Ms. Anthony in a whole new (activist) way. Dr. Cerulli shared her extensive knowledge of Susan B., including the issues and causes Susan B. might support today. LWV of Rochester strongly suggests browsing the Center's website for information on courageous suffragists of the past as well as research and advocacy activity on current social justice issues: http://www.rochester.edu/sba/.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will be the speaker at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the LWV of Chautauqua in May.
The League of Women Voters of Huntington in conjunction with Harborfields Public Library presented a very special program for Women's History Month, Madam Justice: The Women of the Supreme Court, on March 14 at the Harborfields Public Library. James Coll, a highly decorated NYC police detective, adjunct Associate Professor of American and Constitutional History at Nassau Community College and founder of the nonpartisan organization, ChangeNYS, which is dedicated to strengthening New York's citizens' knowledge of civics and political reform, presented a fascinating and informative program. He presented film clips where we heard the voices of Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as youngsters, young women and mature attorneys and judges as they traveled along the paths that led each of them to become Justices of our U.S. Supreme Court.
LWV of Suffolk County has been partnering with LICET (Long Island Civic Engagement Table) which seeks solutions for ways to increase civic engagement through education and grassroots organizing, since there are ethnic and racial gaps in the proportion of frequent voters compared to percent of population /percent of eligible registered voters.

LWV of Broome Tioga participated in the Earth Fest activities with a voter registration table. See them in the video from the media coverage: 
LWV of Buffalo/Niagara will present the program Increasing the Minimum Wage is Good Economics on April 27. Speakers, Fred Floss Jr., SUNY Buffalo State, Dept. of Economics & Finance and Sam Magavern, co-director, Partnership for the Public Good (PPG), will discuss how a boost in the minimum wage would affect the economy.
LWV of Scarsdale is busy educating young people about our political system. The League will organize and run Presidential Pursuit for 7th and 8th graders at Scarsdale Middle School. Presidential Pursuit is an absorbing trivia game designed to support the curriculum by teaching presidential and government topics in the context of current events. And, for the first time, League members were invited to teach a 5th-grade class at Fox Meadow Elementary about the Scarsdale nonpartisan political system.

League of Women Voters of Schenectady County and ECOS: The Environmental Clearinghouse presented a program about the water infrastructure in Schenectady County on April 14th. Jason Pelton, Schenectady County Groundwater Management Planner, spoke about the aquifer, its geologic history and what testing is done to ensure the quality of the groundwater. Paul LaFond, Director of Water and Wastewater for the City of Schenectady, discussed water infrastructure in the City of Schenectady.

LWV of White Plains presented the program, Vote 18, for the local Youth Bureau, and also registered high school seniors in multiple high schools. Finally, the League visited the Kensington Assisted Living Residence to provide information on the Presidential primary and to lead a discussion on the continuing struggle to protect voting rights. 
League of Women Voters of Brookhaven's annual luncheon is coming up on April 29th. With a special presentation by Stony Brook University Political Science Professor Helmut Norpeth: Trump Near Certain to Defeat Democrat in November. It is sure to be a lively discussion!
LWV of the Hamptons along with representatives from the Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) will meet to discuss Climate Change and the Carbon Tax. CCL is a non-partisan international grassroots environmental group that trains and supports volunteers to build relationships with their elected representatives in order to influence climate policy.
On Sunday, April 17 LWV of Shelter Island held their Ninth Annual State of the Town luncheon.  Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty was guest speaker.
A screening of the documentary, FIX IT, HEALTHCARE AT THE TIPPING POINT was presented by both the LWV of Syracuse and LWV of Tompkins County in April. The movie documents the current healthcare crisis in the United States. Despite recent reforms, Americans remain vulnerable to economic catastrophe with a serious illness or injury-insured and uninsured alike.  A panel discussion followed the screenings by both local Leagues.

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