Judie Gorenstein, judieL728@ aol.com
I would like to thank all those Leagues, ILOs and MAL that completed voter service surveys. We have 27 responses are from 23 local Leagues, 2 MALS and 2 ILOs. Here is a summary of what the surveys revealed.
All but two Leagues hold voter registration drives. Most deliver them to the BOE by mail or in person.
Number of drives Leagues held ranged from 1 to 109.
Only 3 Leagues collected information which they used for follow up. One League plans to next year.
All Leagues but one distributed the state voter guide.
One League published their own local guide and one League provided theirs on line.
Most Leagues were please with appearance of state VG, welcomed changed next year of different appearances between part I and II.
Some Leagues expressed desire for VG to come out earlier, bolder titles, larger logo, etc. One asked that both parts be combined.
Only 2 Leagues did not schedule; one because races were not contested and other held conversations with candidates that were aired.
Number of events they held ranged from 1 to 8.
The majority followed the No Empty Chair completely and two did not. There were two others that partially followed it, one of them indicating that next year would follow it totally.
There was a total of four events cancelled because of no empty chair policy. Leagues used pressed releases, candidates’ guides, and social media; ie, facebook, web page to educate public about cancellations.
There were three events cancelled for reasons other than No Empty Chair.
The majority of Leagues used used questions from the audience that were written and screened.
Five Leagues did not have their candidate forums videotaped and aired. One had it taped by
their cosponsor. Five Leagues do not have a videotaping policy
There were only five issues that Leagues had recording. (This is less than in past) One League was live streaming it and fire wall at venue prevented it. One League had to ask a person to stop recording and person did. One host had to stop a young woman from recording; she was with someone who was supporting a candidate. By far, biggest issue was when attendee in audience live streamed event and refused to take it down from Facebook. There was also complaint from a candidate who wanted to record event.
Most events were covered by the media.
17 Leagues would like “Candidate Forum Kits.
16 Leagues would like training workshops for moderators.
Four Leagues do not have a debate policy.
14 Leagues participated in Organ Donation awareness program
16 Leagues participated in Vote 411
Number of races posted ranged from 4 to 99.
While Nassau county ILO had a 98% response from candidates and Rye Rye- Brook had 90%, most of the Leagues participating had a much lower response. Saratoga differentiated between races that were contested when they had 60% response from over all races when there was 31%.
No Leagues included write in candidates
GET OUT VOTE EFFORTS
Most Leagues did not use TV, Radio, letters to editors or PSAs to get out the vote.
Eight Leagues did have follow up calls or emails reminding people to vote collected at VR drives
but not necessarily off voter forms.
Congratulations to LWV of Saratoga that distributed 1300 Voter Guides Part II. There were some suggestions for improving the guides which will be considered which ranged from enlarging LWV logo, renaming it to Voting in NYS, bolder titles, and more. Congratulations also goes to the Nassau ILO which had 98% response from candidates and to Rye, Rye-Brook and Port Chester that had 90% response from candidates in Vote 411.
No Empty Chair Policy
There are several local Leagues that have requested the state board reconsider our No Empty Chair Policy applying to all candidate debate/events. At our November board meeting, we did review this policy. We discussed your concerns in great detail and, although we do understand your concerns and some of the criticisms your Leagues have faced, we as a board are in agreement that the No Empty Chair Policy needs to remain. We believe it is the LWVNYS’s priority to not only be nonpartisan but to be perceived as nonpartisan.
The LWVNY board wants to help all our Leagues implement and follow through on the No Empty Chair Policy. The vast majority of the 25 Leagues who returned a completed voter service survey did comply with policy and handled the few difficulties when they did arise. We are pleased that Leagues have shared their concerns and especially grateful to those who implemented the policy in spite of concerns.
We plan on developing a full toolkit to assist the local Leagues in implementing this policy, including many suggestions for procedures, media work, etc. We are also planning a conference call for all so you can discuss with us how to proceed with this policy. Finally, during regional training workshops, we will provide time to discuss this with other Leagues in your area to share successes. We look forward to hearing how we can help you with this whether it be through workshops, templates, conference calls, etc. We can accomplish so much when we all work together.