Making Democracy Work

President's Report

Messages from your LWV President

President's Letter October 2018

This is a busy time of year for the League and we're grateful to our many volunteers. Kay Ackerman, as Voter Services Chair, is undoubtedly the busiest of all and makes my job easy. Thank you, Kay!

We've held a number of voter registration events, thanks to Peg Foley, our Voter Registration Chair, and registered quite a few voters, some for the first time, others updating their registrations after moving or changing their party affiliation. Again, this wouldn't be possible without League members staffing the table, helping people fill out voter registration forms and handing out our helpful "Your Right to Vote" brochures for college students, the homeless, individuals with disabilities, mental disabilities or criminal convictions. Under Ann Hatke's leadership, the League has been present at every naturalization ceremony in Schenectady since March. We've registered many new citizens.

Candidate forums will be coming up soon and League members will be serving as moderators, question checkers, question collectors and timekeepers. And once again, we'll be collecting election results at the polls to be reported to the media, for which the League earns a sizable fee. If you'd like to help collect poll results, please contact Dick Shave.

The State League has started a new website, http://VotingNewYork.org to replace Vote411. It's a user- friendly site to help voters find their polling site and information on the candidates in New York State. On a national level, the League is using http://BallotReady.org which also provides information on candidates.

Cheryl Nechamen

President's Letter September 2018

The League has an impressive track record in registering people to vote, an essential first step. But now we need to focus our efforts on getting people to the polls.

An enthusiastic committee, chaired by Pauline Kinsella, is taking the lead on the League's Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts. The GOTV Committee decided to concentrate on the City of Schenectady because it has the lowest voter turnout of all the municipalities in Schenectady County.

If you'd like to help in these efforts, Pauline will be thrilled to hear from you; email Pauline.

Our September Kickoff Luncheon is coming soon, on Sept. 11, noon, at the Turf Tavern in Scotia. Our speakers will be the Schenectady County Board of Elections Commissioners Amy Hild and Darlene Harris. The Board had met with the Commissioners in April about voting reforms that were under consideration. Board members found the conversation so interesting that we thought we should open the discussion to our membership.

Ms.Hild and Ms. Harris will talk about electronic poll books (their ease of us vs. the potential for hacking), no excuse absentee voting and the rules for purging voters from the rolls. Here's your chance to ask questions about the practical details and the possible effects of these proposals.

Cheryl Nechamen

Letter supporting the work of the SCCC

The following letter was sent by LWV President Cheryl Nechamen on behalf of the League and in support of the work of SCCC.

Jennifer Miller, Director of Community College Support SUNY System Administration Office of Community Colleges and the Educational Pipeline SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway Albany, NY 12204 Dear Ms. Miller: The League of Women Voters of Schenectady County enthusiastically supports Schenectady County Community College's application to the SUNY Community College Community Schools (CCCS) grant. Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), in collaboration with an array of public, private and nonprofit partners, seeks to support high need students, and to build a network of accessible, on-campus, non-academic resources essential to successfully retaining and graduating these students.

The proposed SCCC Community Schools initiative, DESTINATION: SUCCESS, integrates college resources and community based services for students and their families through a centralized location on the College's campus. SCCC's DESTINATION: SUCCESS is aimed at increasing student retention rates of high-needs students by directly connecting them to multiple community resources available to support them through life's non-academic challenges. On-campus support will help students to navigate and address such issues as employment, food, housing, finances, childcare, primary care and mental health services, legal support, transportation, and other day-to-day needs than can negatively impact student success.

The League of Women Voters will partner with SCCC to develop and implement this important initiative. The League will hold voter registration drives on campus to increase the number of new voters. During the voter registration drives, pamphlets will be available that help students who may have felony convictions, disabilities or who are homeless which will enable them to exercise their right to vote.

The League distributes information on candidates and issues during election campaigns. In addition, the League has a long history of holding educational programs on local, state and national issues that will help students to become active and informed participants in our country.

The proposed DESTINATION: SUCCESS initiative is designed to improve SCCC's retention and graduation rates by significantly scaling up the College's ongoing efforts to provide support to its diverse and ever-changing student population. Providing on-campus access to crucial services will give SCCC students the support they need. This, in turn, will further strengthen student's families, our larger community, and our region. We enthusiastically support the College's application for SUNY Community Schools grant funding.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Nechamen

President

League of Women Voters of Schenectady County