The state League received a grant as part of the Making Democracy Work sponsored by The League of Women Voters of US Education Fund. Our project is to educate citizens throughout New York State on all of the new voting laws and also to evaluate the implementation of the new laws during the election.
The new election laws provide new procedures and locations for the public to vote early, but without the specific knowledge of their county’s implementation of the new laws, the impact of increasing voter participation may not be realized. As part of this education campaign, we plan the following:
- A website which will educate all New Yorkers especially those in under-served areas on the impact of the new voting laws. This online presence will reach across the state to inform citizens of new polling locations, hours and instructions specific to each county across the state;
- A brochure on the changes, with an insert of the specific implementation for each county and distribution focused for each county (available in the summer);
- Local Leagues will be asked to meet with other organizations serving under-represented populations to provide training and ensure understanding of the new procedures;
- PSAs, template Letters to the Editor, sample Facebook and Twitter posts, and other communication tools provided to local Leagues for their own media outreach;
- Connection, link or marketing of Vote 411 on this new page and of this information on Vote 411 page;
- A survey of voters after the fall election to evaluate the implementation of the new procedures and determine issues for future advocacy.
Data is being gathered by Sarah Bracken (former SIA student and this summer’s intern) who is in contact with all local Leagues and counties officials where there is no local League. The local Leagues have been asked to meet with their county Board of Election officials to obtain the county-specific information, but also to determine what issues or problems the officials are having in implementing the new laws. Sarah will collate and standardize all the information from each county to create a template of the specific implementation procedures. A page on the state League’s website will be created, which will also have its own direct URL, with all of the necessary voter information specific to each county (locations, hours of polling sites, info on absentee balloting, etc) and links to the county Board of Elections.
A separate brochure just on the new laws, with specifics for each county as an insert, will be distributed throughout the state. Communication tools will also be created and shared with local Leagues and other organizations serving diverse populations.
A survey will also be developed and widely distributed to ask voters about their voting experiences with the new procedures. From the results of the survey, the input from the meetings of the local League members with their county Board of Elections officials, and the communication with the other community organizations, the state League will make recommendations to the State Board of Elections and appropriate legislative committees and staff about changes to further improve the election systems.
It is a huge project and we will need the assistance and support from many local Leagues and many, many members to make it successful! But, an educated public is always our goal and hopefully this will help to increase voter turnout in NYS. Stay tuned as we progress.