Making Democracy Work


Announcements and Breaking News

June 13--Annual Dinner Meeting

Join us for dinner, the annual meeting and a talk by speaker Zoe M. Oxley, Professor of Political Science, Director, American Studies, Union College. Professor Oxley will talk about "What The Election in 2016 Tells Us About America; a Look at Racial and Gender Equality in the USA. What it Means to Be Part of a Post Truth Society".
Turf Tavern
40 Mohawk Ave, Scotia, NY 12302
June 13, 2017 5:30pm

Dinner entrée choices are:
Chicken Florentine
Baked Scrod
Vegetarian Sauté over pasta or quinoa

Dinner will also include fresh fruit medley, house salad, entrée, carrot cake and coffee or tea.

The charge for dinner is $30. You must make your reservation by June 6th; contact Carol Furman by phone 518-346-2746 or e-mail. We are unable to cancel reservations after June 6th unless a replacement can be made.

Membership will be asked to approve the PROPOSED 2017-18 SLATE OF LEADERS, BUDGET, and LOCAL PROGRAM.

There's Something Funny About Voting in America

Electoral Dysfunction- the movie

According to the movie trailer, "Electoral Dysfunction" is a feature-length documentary created by a team of award-winning filmmakers. In this film comedian Mo Rocca takes us on a road trip to see how voting works ... and doesn't work... in America. Humor and wit are used to take an irreverent--but nonpartisan--look at voting in America. For starters, where is the Electoral College--and does it have a winning football team?"

Progressive Schenectady, in collaboration with the League of Women Voters will be screening "Electoral Dysfunction" on May 25th in the McChesney Room of the Schenectady County Library, 99 Clinton St.

Please join us for a meet-and-greet starting at 6 PM.

LWV Citizenship Mentoring Project

Martha Butler, Director of the Office for New Americans (ONA) in Albany, recently met with the Schenectady LWV Board about a possible mentoring and citizenship preparation program to be conducted in Schenectady by the League with the assistance and supervision of the ONA. The Office for New Americans is a NYS program that works with USCRI (US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) to assist those who are applying for US citizenship.

Preparation for the application process can be arduous for some depending on their age, language and writing skills, self-confidence, knowledge of US civics and history, and access to free citizenship preparation classes. We're still working out the parameters, but a citizenship preparation program could include one-on-one tutoring, citizenship preparation classes, language and writing assistance, and civics and history workshops. Materials for the program are readily available on the US Immigration website,

The program would be offered at no cost and would be held in an accessible public space such as a local library or college classroom. If you'd like to be involved in this exciting project, contact Ann Hatke at

Sample citizenship questions can be found below for interested persons.

A Look at Cherry Hill's Anti-Suffragette, Emily Rankin

O, Emily, How Could You?

A Look at Cherry Hill's Anti-Suffragette, Emily Rankin

You've heard about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the Women's Suffrage Movement. But did you know that there was a strong anti-suffrage movement, and that some of the loudest voices were those of women fighting against the right to vote? On Wedneday, May 24th, at 7 p.m., the Woman's Club of Albany (WCA) will host Deborah Emmons-Andarawis, curator at Historic Cherry Hill, who will make a special presentation on the topic. The anti-suffragettes even had their own soundtrack! A number of songs were written for both sides of the issue. As a special part of the evening's fare, we will hear a few of them performed by Tony Opalka and Mary Le Fleur. The event is free and open to the public.

Emily Rankin (1889-1963) lived at Cherry Hill and came of age as the suffrage debate was raging in New York. What made this anti-suffragette tick? The collection of photographs, letters, diaries, and oral histories at Historic Cherry Hill richly document Emily's life and shed light on the forces that helped form her opinions -- and the general socio-political climate in Albany. The lecture title is quoted from a letter written by a Smith College friend.

Suffrage for Women was a divisive issue for the Woman's Club, which was founded in 1910. A number of club members, like Emily Rankin, did not agree with universal suffrage + despite their direct involvement in a number of progressive civic issues. As a new civic and philanthropic organization a century ago, the WCA was instrumental in initiating a number of municipal health and safety projects, working to improve the lives of families and working women, and presenting a wide range of educational and cultural programs. WCA members continue the work today throughout the Capital Region.

Civilian Police Review Board

Dick Shave, Schenectady League representative to the Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB) announced that the brochure for the Board has now been distributed in Schenectady. Dick reports that he has gained a new respect for those people who train the police officers as well as for the Internal Affairs Office that investigates police infractions. There is interest in the Community about the CPRB which will, going forward, provide opportunities for more discussion and education. Dick looks forward to discussing these matters with anyone who has an interest.

"Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport"

You've heard that before. Especially if you find fault with what is happening in government be it local, state or federal. Not everybody has to hold office---or even run for office to be a participant. There are plenty of ways to be active and to get involved.
  • If you admire a candidate for office---actively support them. You can carry their petitions, campaign for them---go "door to door" with them---write endorsement letters to the Editor---financially support their campaigns.
  • Become involved in the community---volunteer for a commission or board in which you have an interest, especially if you have expertise or special knowledge that would benefit the work of that body.
  • Publicly support (or speak out against) issues that concern you and find allies to work with to see these issues resolved.
  • The League of Women Voters offers you many opportunities to participate in the business of democracy. Join us in registering voters, volunteer to help us conduct a candidate forum, collect returns at a polling place on election night.

The main thing is tp look for ways to be involved and then to get involved. Be a game player, not a spectator!

The League Speaks with One Voice

"League members must keep in mind that THE LEAGUE SPEAKS WITH ONE VOICE.

It is the prerogative of a member to take no action or to take contrary action as an individual. Thus, as individuals, we all have the right to contact our public officials about matters of concern. What we learn from League sources can always be used to inform a person's individual action. "


Carrie Chapman Catt

While we all know that Carrie Chapman Catt fought tirelessly for women's suffrage both here and abroad and that she founded the League of Women Voters, here are some facts about this remarkable woman of which we may not be aware:
  • Originally interested in practicing medicine, Catt received a Bachelor of Science degree in general science in 1880. She was the only woman in her class.
  • When her husband died in 1885, Catt made a living by becoming San Francisco's first female newspaper reporter.
  • By 1900, Catt succeeded the 80-year-old activist Susan B. Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the organizational predecessor to the League.
  • Catt returned to NAWSA as president in 1915. Catt's relentless campaigning is credited with helping win President Woodrow Wilson's respect and support -- which ultimately led to the passage of the 19th Amendment.
  • Catt was close friends with Eleanor Roosevelt, a fellow League leader and women's rights pioneer.
  • She supported efforts for both the League of Nations and the United Nations, the latter of which the League of Women Voters helped establish. Carrie Catt described the League as a "mighty experiment". Nearly 95 years later the League is still a mighty experiment in making democracy work through citizen education and engagement.
    Excerpted from LWVUS
  • A Few Civics Questions on the Naturalization Test

    As mentioned above prospective citizens must pass a Naturalization Test. There are 100 civics (history and government) questions that may be asked for the naturalization test taken by prospective citizens. The civics test is an oral test and the USCIS Officer will ask the applicant up to 10 of the 100 civics questions. An applicant must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test. Below are a few of the questions that could be asked.
    1. What is the supreme law of the land?
    2. What does the Constitution do?
    3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
    4. What is an amendment?
    5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
    6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*
    7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?