We thank all those local Leagues who voted on our annual budget and sent directions to the board in advance of our June 7th Council. 23 local Leagues participated. A total of 170 proxy votes would be available if all Leagues participated, with 17 (10%) needed to constitute a quorum. The 84 qualified proxy votes submitted provided the quorum amount, and since all proxy votes supported approval of the 2018-19 budget, that budget is now approved. It will go into effect on July 1. Much appreciated!
Besides counting the votes on June 7, we also held an informal online Council while board members were still present following a two-day board meeting. Thirteen local League members coming in online and one Albany member there in-person helped us try out new GoToMeeting software. We heard further directions to the board (to be discussed by the board in July), took questions, and had Judie Gorenstein update attendees on voter service issues. We look forward to using this software to make conference calls more less confusing and more effective.
The rest of this document is a look-back from several of us on the year that is just ending. It provides a helpful annual report for our historical records and we hope it is immediately useful to you as well. Others will talk about what happened politically so I will skip right past a topic full of bad behavior, investigations and trials, a remarkable lack of shame, and a state senate that ground to a year-end halt with 31 on each side of the aisle. And then there’s what’s going on in D.C. All in all, we are frustrated and deeply concerned.
Therefore, on a happier note, I remind you that 2017 was the year we celebrated women in NY getting the vote 100 years ago, which means 2018 is the year we celebrate NY women actually going to the polls. We ended the last fiscal year with the successful April 2017 women’s conference in Hyde Park and New Paltz and our state convention in central NY where many of us visited the National Women’s Right Historical Park in Seneca Falls and Waterloo. In this fiscal year we continued celebrating suffrage by helping organize workshops at a one-day women’s conference on November 4 in Albany. It took place at the State Museum where the inspiring Votes for Women exhibit was just opening, and at the end of the conference we held a very successful reception there that filled the galleries and the auditorium.
Three days later League members helped the NY Women’s Suffrage Commission chair, Kathy Hochul, celebrated Election Day by putting “I VOTED” stickers on suffragists’ graves in Buffalo (Mary Burnett Talbert), Rochester (Susan B. Anthony), and Fayetteville (Matilda Joslyn Gage). At that last stop, we and the Gage House hosted a happy reception attended by Kathy, me, Sally Roesch Wagner, and many Gage volunteers and Syracuse LWV members.
Now as we get ready to leave for the LWVUS convention, we are stepping up our work with Leagues across the country to celebrate the national suffrage victory in 2020. As we do so, our organization at all three levels is undergoing a transformation to meet the needs of newly energized activists who want things done quickly, online, and soon (no doubt) in whole new ways we can’t yet imagine. Our purpose is what it was 100 years ago, though it’s now simply stated as “Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.” But now we need to have the determination and imagination of our fore mothers to continue to re-invent the way we work to achieve that purpose. Fortunately, here in New York the suffragists’ voices echo loudly.