Compiled and written by Nancy Rosenthal, Jane Colvin and Sheila Bernson (and Milly Czerwinski, staff)
Many thanks to the local Leagues that responded to the 2022 Voter Service Survey! To date, we have tallied the information from 31 Leagues that have responded (that’s 74% of the 42 Leagues!) and know that we will be receiving more shortly and will update these data. The State League will use this valuable information for grants and to identify and share with all local Leagues the best practices from your comments. Selected data gathered to date can be seen at the end of this report. If you would like to see how your local League efforts and activities compared to others, please contact me for a copy of the complete spreadsheet. (Warning: it’s enormous.)
Voter Registration and GOTV
While some increase in local League activities might be expected on a year over year basis, this year the increase seems to have been exceptional, especially in voter registration and GOTV areas.
Some of the more astonishing results from the 31 responses included:
- Almost 73,000 GOTV materials were distributed, including over 54,000 postcards, and almost 7,000 Palm Cards
- Social Media usage, barely registering last year, included 119 website posts, 297 Instagram posts, 497 Face Book posts and even 22 Twitter posts. Likes were numerous!
- 26 Leagues participated in Vote411, posting 112 races
- Leagues conducted 420 registration drives, registered over 3,500 new voters, and distributed 4,900 forms
Twenty local Leagues continued their outreach to underserved communities with minorities and with disabilities, partnering with a wide variety of organizations including community organizations like Disability Rights of NY, food pantries, community colleges, libraries and churches. One League sent out 730 postcards to targeted addresses with a 40-60% likelihood of voting. Naturalization
ceremonies were the focus of only 10 Leagues that conducted 33 registration drives, but the efforts paid off with the registration of 861 new voters and distribution of over 1,200 forms.
Perhaps stimulated and assisted by the League’s active Youth programs, voter registration efforts – and results – at high schools increased, with 13 Leagues conducting registration drives at 53 schools, resulting in 2,102 new voter registration and the distribution of over 1,300 forms.
As a sign of the times, more Leagues turned to social media (and/or to younger members who could assist them) to get their messages out. This year 24 Leagues used some form of social media to post their message and track the Likes received.
The state’s Voter Guide II in English and Spanish was well received by Leagues that ordered 7,865 English copies and 777 Spanish copies
The results from the 31 responses to the Voter Service Surveys are summarized below:
- 265 League members volunteered to work at candidate forums
- 151 joined the League as new members.
- 85 Candidate forums were held– 42 were virtual, 34 were in-person, and 9 were hybrid events. Attendance at in-person forums totaled 1,452; attendance virtually after-the-fact totaled 1,989. The grand total for all virtual views of candidate forums (virtually including hybrid events) was 20,438.
- Volunteers are essential to the smooth-functioning of candidate events. Leagues reported that 265 people volunteered for candidate forums.
- Forty-three Leagues collaborated with other organizations in facilitating (co-sponsoring) the live-stream or virtual forums. Examples of organizations include other Leagues, colleges, town halls, libraries, radio stations, tv stations, newspapers, faith-based organizations.
- 12 Leagues reported cancelling a candidate forum on account of the League’s “Empty Chair Policy.” Other reasons for cancellation included: lack of candidate response, lack of participation by one candidate in a two-candidate race; candidate scheduling issues.
- The races that were covered at League-sponsored candidate events included: State Senate, State Assembly, US Congressional Districts, City Council, City Mayor, Village (Town) Trustees, City Court Judge, Town Justice, Sheriffs, NYS Supreme Court Justices, Library Trustee, County Clerk, City Commissioner of Public Works.
Relationship with Local Boards of Elections
For many Leagues, a relationship with the local Board of Elections (BOE) facilitated their GOTV efforts and their accessing of candidate information. Most Leagues have a good relationship (“open cordial relationship”) with both local BOE commissioners, though a few said one commissioner was more accessible than the other commissioner. Continuing to build a relationship with the BOE will better serve League efforts.
The Voter Service Surveys point to steady and positive communication with County BOEs. Many Leagues sent “integrity” materials to their local BOE; most Leagues have on-going positive relations with their BOEs; some connect only during election season. One League took part in a “virtual Post Election Meeting” with their BOE. Other interactions with the BOE include formal sit-down meeting after Thanksgiving and before the end of the year; working together to respond to “issues raised;” one League delivered “I VOTED” stickers to their local BOE; informal meetings to discuss voting issues; volunteering to assist BOE as regular poll workers; post-election annual meeting with BOE; one League noted seeing their BOE on election night for AP reporting.
One League consulted “informally” with their local BOE to discuss voting rights for individual with federal felony conviction record, and whether a new citizen whose Naturalization Ceremony was held after the final day to register could go to their BOE that day to register to vote.
One League invited new BOE commissioners to speak at their annual meeting; one spoke.
One League, together with students from Vassar College, instituted legal action against their BOE about whether a polling site should be located on the Vassar College campus; the League prevailed and the polling site was set up on the college campus.
Leagues wrote about their most impactful activities this election season. There are so many impressive ones that it’s hard to choose which ones to write about. Set forth below is a list of some of the most impactful activities that Leagues reported.
- Went to Tops Grocery on the East Side of Buffalo following the May 14 mass shooting
- Held poster project competition with area BOCES Media Arts Students. LWVNYS grant paid to print 250 posters which were distributed to all [local] high schools and libraries, etc.
- Candidate Forum and Naturalization Ceremony held at National Women’s Rights Park in Seneca Falls
- Various voter registration drives at colleges “inspiring” “sustained engagement with students”
- Being out in the community for NVRD, Women’s Equality Day, Ithaca Festival Parade
- Created Flyer explaining the new Congressional Districts, and the special election on account of Rep Delgado’s new position as Lt Governor; was very helpful to voters
- “Tabling Events” resulted in five new members
- Collaborating with other community organizations included: Libraries, YMCA, Food Pantries, Fuerza Unida, Westchester Women’s Agenda, Disability on the Move, Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus
Data and numbers on the specific questions will be included in a later State Board Updates when we have received 100% of the local Leagues’ responses