Making Democracy Work

Elections and Voter Information

We make voting easier through voter education programs.

Candidate Forums/Voter Resources

Candidate Forums: The LWV of Schenectady County and the AAUW partnered in moderating Candidate Forums. All forums were taped; if you missed a forum or would like to see it again you can see it on YouTube or Open Stage Media.

  • City of Schenectady - held Wednesday September 27 at 6 PM in McChesney Room, County Library Downtown Branch
  • On YouTube

    On Open Stage Media

  • Town of Niskayuna - held Thursday October 19 at Niskayuna Town Hall starting at 7 PM
    • Invited to speak are candidates for:
      Schenectady County Legislature District 3 (3 seats)
      Town Supervisor
      Town Board (2 seats)

      On YouTube

      On Open Stage Media

  • Town of of Glenville - held Wednesday October 25 at Glenville Municipal Center at 7 PM
    • Invited to speak are candidates for:
      Schenectady County Legislature District 3 (3 seats)
      Town Board (2 seats)

    On YouTube

  • Town of Rotterdam - held Thursday October 26 at 7PM at Rotterdam Senior Center 2639 Hamburg St., Rotterdam
    • Invited to speak are candidates for:
      Schenectady County Legislature District 4 (2 seats)
      Town Supervisor
      Town Board (2 seats)
      Receiver of Taxes

      On YouTube

      On Open Stage Media

Voter Resources:

  • http://www.Vote411.org - Candidates for National, state and local offices have been invited to submit responses about their backgrounds and positions. You will find brief biographical information along with photos, experience and qualifications of each candidate running in your voting district. In addition, candidates will reply to pertinent questions in their own words.
  • For general information about registering, elections and voting you can contact:

    LWV Schenectady County.

    Schenectady County Board of Elections 518-377-2469

    New York State Board of Elections 518-473-5086

    2017 Election Ballot Proposals

    PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE: Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?

    WHAT WILL THIS AMENDMENT DO IF APPROVED? The New York State Constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a Constitutional Convention should be held to consider amendments to the State Constitution. The purpose of this Ballot Question is to allow the voters of New York State to determine whether a Constitutional Convention will be held according to the procedure provided by the State Constitution. If a majority voting on this Question votes NO, there will be no Constitutional Convention.

    PROPOSAL NUMBER TWO: Allowing the Complete or Partial Forfeiture of a Public Officer's Pension if He or She is Convicted of a Certain Type of Felony The proposed amendment to section 7 of Article 2 of the State Constitution would allow a court to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer's duties. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

    WHAT WILL THIS AMENDMENT DO IF APPROVED? New York's Constitution now provides that the benefits of a public pension or retirement system cannot be reduced or impaired. The purpose of the proposed amendment is to allow a court to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer's duties. A court would determine, after notice to the public officer and a hearing, if a public office

    Voter Services Report October 2017

    Thank You's to:
    • Peg Foley and Connie Young for organizing the Voter Registration efforts and the 38 people (many who did multiple assignments) who helped us register 138 (24 donor/transplant enrolled) voters on 15 occasions this past summer and fall. Not as many registered as last year which was a presidential election year but still a respectable achievement.
    • The coordinators of this year's local Candidate Forums: Connie Young and Pauline Kinsella (Schenectady); Maxine Borom and Roberta Richardson (Niskayuna); IngeLise Pangburn (Glenville); Marsha Mortimore (Rotterdam) and the many volunteers who assisted in conducting the forums.
    • Pat Lambert and MaryJane Shave for coordinating our Vote411 on line Voters Guide for all local elections throughout Schenectady County. This was a very labor intensive assignment because the many candidates running needed to be contacted, and in most cases re-contacted to remind them to respond.
    • Dick Shave and Maxine Borom and the volunteers they recruited to collect election results to report to local media at as many election districts as we can cover. For this we receive a payment for each polling place we give a report and the proceeds are used to help pay the cost of taping the candidate forums.

    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

    Voter Information Publications

    Candidate Forum Policy

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

    All candidates for office who meet New York State election law requirements to be on the ballot and are involved in contested races are eligible to take part in candidate forums.

    New Policy Prohibiting Open Chair Candidate Events

    Our past policy on prohibiting open chair debates or forums for federal races was in accordance with FEC regulations which stipulate that providing a platform for a federal candidate to address the public is considered to be a contribution of "something of value" and subject to contributions or expenditures limitations and prohibitions of federal election laws. However, a non-profit 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 can stage a debate or forum without triggering the finance campaign limitations provided that the debate includes at least two candidate

    These regulations according to FEC as well as FCC and IRS regulations are not limited to just candidate debates but all candidate meetings where candidates are making appearances.

    Having different rules for federal and nonfederal races leads to confusion among the candidates who did not understand why some debates could be held with one candidate and others could not.

    The rationale that underlies the FCC prohibition on empty chair debates--that such practice is tantamount to a contribution to the candidate who appears, applies as strongly to the state, county or local level as it does to federal elections. As we all can agree, it is in blatant violation of the League's non-partisan policy to make a financial contribution to a candidate.

    In certain areas of the state, where candidates from one party often run unopposed, the League can be perceived as being partisan by providing a forum for that candidate and party to speak.

    The state board has considered the many questions and concerns before adopting the new policy. The goal of this new policy is to have consistency across the state for all League events, and even more importantly, to confirm our nonpartisanship publicly. Remember that as long as you have at least 2 candidates for a race, you can hold the event, you don't need to have all, or even 2 from the major parties any, 2 candidates for a race is allowed.

    We understand the view that the public has a right to hear from candidates and prohibiting an open chair event gives a candidate, often an incumbent, the power to control whether the event is held or not, thus preventing the other candidate from being heard. Although the debate cannot be held, the following steps can be taken to avoid this result and still conform to the new policy.

    If a candidate forum/event is being held for multiple races on the same evening (e.g. town supervisor and town board), and only one candidate is present for one of those races (notified in advance or not), the forum/debate for that race cannot be held. The moderator can and should make a statement in the beginning of the event explaining why the specific forum was cancelled citing a lack of response or a negative response by the non-appearing candidates. The moderator can then introduce the candidates in the audience whose forums were cancelled, The candidates can stand 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. They should be encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

    Explanation of the Primary Process in NYS

    Presidential Primaries in New York State

    The Democratic and Republican primaries in New York State are different in important ways, but have similarities. Both are "closed" primaries; participation is limited to the voters who have registered in the party that is sponsoring the election. While delegates are not bound by any law to vote for any particular candidate at the party's national convention, both parties have "pledged" candidates who vote for the candidate to whom they are "pledged". Both parties also have "un-pledged" and/or "super" delegates, who are not committed to a particular candidate. A certain number of delegates in each party participate because they occupy a particular elective or party position. Before the primary, candidates submit to the board of elections a list of delegates from each congressional district that are committed to them. These delegates actually appear on the ballot in the Democratic primary, along with a statewide presidential democratic candidate, but do not appear on the ballot in the Republican primary.

    Details of the Nominating Process

    Democrats: "Proportional" Primary, 281 delegates at stake New York Democrats have a total of 281 delegates, 151 of whom are "pledged" and will be elected proportionally based on the results of the February 5th primary within each congressional district. In addition, 45 are automatic and/or chosen from party leaders. The remaining 85 delegates are selected at a state Democratic committee meeting in May.

    The Democratic Party in New York always uses a proportional method for awarding delegates. The percentage of delegates each candidate is awarded (or the number of undecided delegates) is representative of the number of primary votes for the candidate.

    The Democratic Party primary in New York is really a "dual primary." Candidates for president appear on the ballot and run against each other in a statewide primary, and delegates and alternate delegates run in each congressional district. Delegates and alternates are either committed to a presidential candidate or uncommitted, and males and females are equally represented among the delegate choices for a candidate.

    Republicans: "Winner-take-all" Primary, 101 delegates at stake

    The National Republican Party, unlike the Democratic Party, allows each state to decide whether to use a "winner-take-all method" or the "proportional" method. In the winner-take-all method, the candidate whom the majority of caucus participants or voters support receives all the delegates for the state. New York is a "winner take all" state.

    In New York, the selection of delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention is determined by a statewide primary of candidates for the office of President. Unlike the Democratic primary ballot, the names of the delegates and alternate delegates do no appear. Based on the results of the February 5th presidential primary, 87 of the state's 101 Republican delegates are allocated to the presidential candidate with the most votes statewide. At a Republican state committee meeting, the remaining 14 unpledged delegates are selected from party leaders.

    Local Boards of Elections

    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.