Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

Everything you need to know to be an informed voter.

Teaching High School Students About NYS Government

What: LWVNYS and the NYS Social Studies Supervisory Association have prepared seven lesson plans for teachers of the New York Grade 12 Participation in Government course. The lesson plans are designed to provide teachers and students with information specific to New York State, including how to engage in politics. Portions of the lesson plans can also be put to use for educating the public.

Program: The program will present an overview of the different lessons plans
Goal: Become familiar with course so LWVAC can assist Albany County high schools to utilize the lessons plans and explore leveraging them for use with the public.
When: Saturday, January 5, 10:30-12:00 Noon
Where: Guilderland Public Library, 2228 Western Ave., Guilderland, Normanskill Room
Presenters:

  • Lisa Kissinger, Social Studies Academic Administrator, Shenendehowa Central Schools, and President of the New York State Social Studies Supervisory Association;
  • Laura Ladd Bierman, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters New York
Are you looking for ways to improve basic knowledge of NYS government for present and future voters? Many of you were actively engaged in the LWVAC's voter registration projects in fall 2018. Take it to the next level as we reach out to high school Participation in Government teachers and to other groups in Albany County by offering this course.

Early Voting is Possible

The election is finally over! Thank you so much to everyone who worked on registering and educating voters this election cycle. Our members registered over 20,000 voters this election and educated thousands more through voter information drives and candidate forums. We are so grateful for all the work our Leagues have done and we hope that you feel a sense of pride when you reflect on 2018.

In New York State, we've truly had a landmark election. We had record breaking rates of voter participation statewide with nearly 50% of voters turning out to vote. And, we are excited to see so many young New Yorkers voting, but also being elected to local, state and national positions.

Now that the election is behind us, it's time to look ahead. The New York State Senate will now have a majority of Democrat members, many of whom have supported our voting reform efforts in the past. We are feeling confident that we will finally see passage of early voting and other voting reforms in New York State!

Last session we provided our members with weekly updates on legislative action, lobbying materials for in district lobby visits, a social media toolkit to help promote our early voting campaign, and access to member- wide phone calls to discuss what was happening at the Capitol. This year we want to be bigger and better than ever! You can help us expand our reach by donating to the Action Fund.

This election has proved that anything is possible and we are confident that after a nearly 20 year struggle we will FINALLY pass early voting in 2019.

Jennifer Wilson

League of Women Voters Gubernatorial Debate

The LWVNYS hosted a gubernatorial Debate on November 1, 2018. You can still see the debate on their Facebook page or on YouTube

Voter Services November 2018

Voter Services are winding down now that Election Day is just around the corner. We had a very busy fall and thanks to many volunteers we were able to make the following activities successful.

Three Candidate Forums involving 13 league volunteers were conducted for:

  • County Clerk candidates and Village of Scotia Mayor and Trustee candidates; and in coordination with LWV Saratoga County
  • Candidates for the 49th NYS Senate District; and in coordination with LWV of Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties
  • Candidates for the 20th Congressional District

Voter Registration events were conducted on 14 different occasions by 32 volunteers and coordinated by Peg Foley resulting in the collection of 193 completed voter registration forms. 44 were taken away to be (hopefully) completed and mailed. 8 absentee ballot applications were also collected. It should be noted that this was 55 more completed registrations collected than last year. In addition, the Citizen Mentoring Group attends Naturalization Ceremonies every month and offers voter registration opportunities to new citizens.

Thirteen volunteers assisted Get Out The Vote Coordinator Pauline Kinsella to focus on getting registered voters to the polls. This new focus for Voter Services led the committee to attempt new strategies to reach and influence residents to vote. Depending on when the Bulletin is delivered you will have seen or will soon see posters and lawn signs popping up around the county urging people to vote. In addition volunteers attended various community meetings to discuss the poor voter turnout percentages in many city of Schenectady neighborhoods and urging those attending to put more effort into reaching out to their members and neighborhoods to turn out the vote. Other volunteers are contacting people, who indicated to us when they registered to vote that they would like to be reminded to vote.

None of these important tasks could be completed without our league volunteers, many who took on several roles to "get the job done" Voter Services is only effective if our members step up and volunteer. Thank you, thank you, thank you, all who did.

Kay Ackerman Voter Services Chair

Do homeless people have the right to vote?

YES.

In 1984 a federal court in New York explicitly found that homeless persons could not be denied the right to vote just because they did not live in a traditional residence.

The Coalition for the Homeless filed a lawsuit that guaranteed the right to vote to homeless New Yorkers, whether they are living in shelters, in welfare hotels, or on the streets. The address of the homeless shelter or drop-in center can be used as a residential address.

Like everyone else, to be eligible to vote, the homeless person must:

  • be a United States citizen
  • be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which they register.
  • live at their present address at least 30 days before an election
  • have registered to vote.

Reasons the homeless should vote?

The candidate that is running will vote on many policy decisions that directly impact people who are economically disadvantaged e.g. raising the minimum wage and the funding of certain social welfare and housing programs and the allocations for public services, defense and taxes.

  • Medicaid and Medicare issues that determine health care benefits.
  • What job training is available, what health insurance is available through one's employer, and fair hiring practices.
  • Affordable housing is a major issue that may be considered by a legislator.
  • How much money is given to public assistance and services such as substance abuse, counseling, HIV and others.

What should the homeless person use as a home/mailing address on the registration form?

A homeless person can enter the location where the person stays at night, which can be a street corner, a park, a shelter, a bus station, or any other location. A mailing address may be that of a local advocacy organization, shelter, outreach center, or anywhere else willing to accept mail on a person's behalf. A mailing address does not have to be the same as the person's residential address.

What about identification requirements?

In order for the board of elections to verify a person's identity in advance of voting, he/she must provide a driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on the voter registration form. Lacking either of these, first-time mail-in registrants must provide another identification document and bring it with them to the polls. Acceptable identification for first-time mail-in registrants includes a current and valid photo ID, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Since first-time mail-in registrants may have to provide some sort of identifying documentation at the polls, homeless registrants without any of the documents listed above may want to register to vote in person at their local board of elections or other registration location, such as a state agency office (the Department of Motor Vehicles for example).

What if a person is not on the rolls at the polling place?

The poll worker should be asked for an affidavit ballot, and for instructions for how to follow up to make sure that the registration information is correctly on file.

Condensed from an LWVNYS pamphlet "Your Right to Vote in NYS-Homeless Individuals

Candidate Forum Policy

CANDIDATE FORUM POLICY 2018

Goal: To educate voters on the issues; to stimulate voter interest; to encourage voter participation in elections; to present programs in a nonpartisan manner.

Policies:

1. All candidates for office who meet New York State election law requirements to be on the ballot are eligible to take part in candidate forums. No substitutes will be permitted to take the place of a candidate.

2. Candidate for office who have no opponents can not take part in the formal candidate forum. Candidates with no opponents may attend the forum and be recognized and, although not allowed to speak at that time, can speak individually to the voters following the formal part of the event. These candidates will be recognized if they attend and the reason they are not speaking will be explained. The moderator will announce that the program has allowed time at the end of the forum for unopposed candidates to speak individually to those attending.

3. No video or audio taping of candidate debates, or parts thereof, is permitted except by those previously authorized by the League of Women Voters to officially tape the event.

4. Candidates' literature will be allowed to be distributed on tables placed near the entrance to the forum location.

5. The League reserves the right to cancel the forum if circumstances warrant.

6. Candidates will be sent copies of these policies when they are invited to participate in the forum. Any subsequent changes to the program format will be communicated to the candidates prior to the program.

Approved: 08/08/18

Local Boards of Elections

Schenectady County Board of Elections 2696 Hamburg Street Schenectady, NY 12303 518-377-2469

New York State Board of Elections 40 North Pearl St. Suite 5 Albany, NY 12207-2729 518-474-6220 Email: INFO@elections.ny.gov

City Council and Town Board Meetings

Schenectady City Council meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays at the City Hall, 7 p.m.

Glenville Town Board meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at the Municipal Center, 7:30 p.m.

Rotterdam Town Board meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at Assembly Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Niskayuna Town Board: Call 386-4592 for the schedule

Schenectady County Legislature Meetings

The Schenectady County Legislature meets the 2nd Tuesdays in the County Office Building at 7 p.m.

Local and State-Wide Political Information

Click here for political information about the City and County of Schenectady, the Capital District Area, and Statewide Politics.

The above is a web-site maintained by the SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE, a service of the Schenectady County Public Library.

The League of Women Voters Education Fund conducts voter service and citizen education activities. It is a nonpartisan nonprofit public policy educational organization, which:

  • Builds citizen participation in the democratic process.

  • Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.

  • Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.

Donations to the Education Fund, a 501(c)(3)corporation, are fully tax-deductible where allowed by law.