December is upon us. As I look back on this last year, I see what we have done to register voters and to continue to educate and inform our membership. I reflect on our tireless efforts on redistricting here in Nassau County and how that work is now continuing with a second grant from the Hagedorn Foundation ($8,200 portion for League) as we work in 2014 in coalition with the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, La Fuente, and Common Cause/NY as well as with legislators, community organizations, and Nassau County residents to ensure an open and fair legislative redistricting process in Nassau County.
Our work will be towards changing the Nassau County Charter so that an independent, non-partisan commission draws the maps and the Legislature’s sole role is to approve or send it back to the commission for revision. This is a realistic goal as independent, non-partisan commissions for redistricting are established in several counties throughout New York State, including Suffolk.
The League’s part in the Coalition is to do the research on how these commissions were established in other counties so that we may ferret out the problems and successes in establishing and working with such a commission—and of course this means we are working with other League members throughout the state because League is always behind these efforts!
Vote411.org, League’s online Voters Guide, was very successful here in Nassau County. Of the 106 candidates running, all but three responded; the three that did not participate told us they were not actively campaigning. That is a 96.4 percent response rate, one of the best rates of those Leagues participating in New York.
That response rate is due to the efforts of many members who in addition to emails personally contacted candidates by phone to encourage them to be a part of League’s online Voters Guide. Vote411.org connects people with the information they need to vote and strengthens our democracy and ensures that Americans have a say in the issues that impact their lives and communities.
I hope many of you attend League’s Holiday Party on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on December 14th. We can toast our year’s work and together celebrate, as a past LWVUS president said that “as League members we together can have an impact when individually we might not.”