Primary Day was here and is over. The regional workshops are over. What have we learned? What do we need to do? What is it we want to accomplish this year in voter services throughout our state?
The regional workshops on candidates nights and getting out the vote showed that our local Leagues are striving to have successful candidates nights and understand the importance of having a comprehensive written policy that can be publicized and sent to candidates. Leagues are also looking at new ways to get out the vote and are willing to try out new ideas and think outside of the box. Leading up to and on Primary Day, we learned from the many phone calls to the Leagues that many citizens were unaware or confused about our closed primary system. We also learned that many wanted to vote for the very first time in a primary and were upset that they could not if they were not enrolled in a party. Surprisingly on Long Island, I learned that many people who called were upset that they had not received any information in the mail or on the phone about the primary. I say surprisingly because in Suffolk County, many of us participated in making phone calls for the pilot project to inform people about the primary and our major concern was that they would have been inundated with calls. It is too early to learn the result of this pilot project, but we did find out that our League volunteers were up to the task and did call the entire list. The day after the primary, we learned that turn-out was higher than usual for a primary, but as our local newspaper stated, “The bar is very low.”
So what do we need to do? We certainly need to continue to educate voters. We have the information on primaries as well as general elections. It is on our state and local websites. It is in our pamphlets and voters guide. We include information in our local Voters and on palm cards, facebooks, etc. Some of us have written letters to the editors. What else can we do? Any new ideas? Share them. Let’s not lose this opportunity when so many people have shown interest. If not now when? Together we can accomplish!