The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. The League does not support or oppose any candidate or political party. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
The LWVUS Board of Directors has voted unanimously to participate officially in the Women's March on Washington.
From LWVNYState and LWVNYC we have learned that the LWV will be in the 12:30 group marching in NYC. The start point is Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues but we can join at any point along the parade route (South on Second Avenue to Fifth and up Fifth to Trump Tower).
We each need to sign up so that the organizers will have an idea of how many will participate but you do not need a ticket.
It was important for us to take the time to confirm that this peaceful protest is in line with the League's principles. We know this event will bring together many organizations with a variety of priorities and messages for the incoming administration, not all of which we will agree with. But as women and defenders of our democracy, there is more that unites us than divides us.
This is an opportunity for the League to make our voice heard on our priorities. We march for voting rights. We march to reform money in politics. We march for health care. We march for the environment. These are our core issues and we want to ensure they are front and center.
Visit the Women's March on NYC Facebook page.
In a passionate speech at our holiday luncheon on December 9th, he described the two systems of justice in both criminal and civil courts, one for those with the financial resources to obtain quality legal counsel and another, harsher one for the have-nots. He has strategies for changing that.
County Property Tax Increase Essential for Balanced Budget
Making its annual critique of the proposed County Budget, the League of Women Voters of Westchester, pointing out that staffing of County departments has been cut to the bone following six years without any increase in County property taxes, recommends an increase now rather than reliance on the sort of "one-time revenue infusions" that have been used in the past.
The proposed 2017 budget is not balanced, the League said. The group criticized the Administration's inclusion in its proposed budget of income from a thus-far unapproved contract with a private firm to operate the County airport. The LWV noted that the complex airport contract had reached the Board of Legislators for its approval only on the same day that the 2017 County budget was submitted.
The County property tax is roughly 20 percent of a property owner's tax burden. An increase "well under the two percent tax cap," said the League, "could provide monies that would close the budget imbalance and allow many aspects of the proposed 2017 County budget to remain in place."
The entire League of Women Voters statement sent to the County Executive and to the Board of Legislators and to be read at the Legislature's December 7 public hearing, is as follows:
"The League of Women Voters of Westchester (LWVW) thanks the Board of Legislators for this opportunity to express our views on the proposed 2017 County Budget. The adopted changes in the Charter that mandated an October release of the Capital Projects budget and a November 10 release of the Operations Budget have been extremely helpful. We thank Budget Director Larry Soule for having met with us both informally and then at a public meeting the League held at the Scarsdale Public Library on November 17th, when he provided needed information and insights.
"Of paramount concern to us is the fact that the budget as submitted is not balanced. It relies on revenues from a proposed contract for management of the County airport that may or may not be approved. The League has studied and reached consensus on the County budget for many years; never before have we had to study and reach consensus on an unbalanced budget.
"In January 2016 the County Executive announced that for the seventh year in a row a property tax increase would not be an option for the 2017 budget. However, new revenues are essential. Not only have previous budgets resulted in expenses and staffing for most county departments being cut to the bone, but income from sales tax revenues for several years has not met goals set in adopted budgets. The sales tax gap in the 2015 budget was filled by a one-time revenue infusion from the sale of the Austin Avenue property, yet the 2016 budget again is in deficit, in part because of lagging sales tax receipts. Hence, we presume, the public/private partnership announced to both the public and to the Board of Legislators on the same day as the release of the proposed 2017 County Budget.
"The League of Women Voters repeats the recommendation we made in December 2015. Raise the property tax. The County could remain well under the two percent cap and still provide extra monies that would close the budget imbalance and allow many aspects of the proposed budget to remain in place, including keeping flat the funding of non-profit agencies, so many of which complement the work of County departments and contribute to Westchester's quality of life.
"We worry about managing the budget by not filling vacancies, as has been done to a certain extent in the Department of Public Safety. This department increasingly has been asked to handle municipal police duties and has been forced to shift personnel from one place to another to meet emergency situations. The Department should be fully staffed.
"One department that has had an increase in staff is the Board of Elections. That is appropriate. This Board now is responsible for conducting municipal elections and for the provision and maintenance of voting machines for all elections, including those for school boards and budgets. There has been an increase in the number of elections held as well, as more primaries have been conducted.
"We note that all County personnel now are working out of contract. However, the proposed budget contains not even one expense line that might cover raises and benefits resulting from upcoming contract negotiations. If negotiated raises are covered by drawing down the fund balance, this might affect the County's credit rating.
"One item proposed in the capital projects budget is an outdoor ice rink at the Kensico Dam. We believe County resources, both financial and human capital, are better directed toward improvement and maintenance of the County's existing infrastructure, with attention specifically to roads, bridges, and flood mitigation.
"We are pleased to see in the budget a decrease in tax certiori expenses. We note that these could be reduced even further if more municipalities would conduct property revaluations and then keep them up to date. Although revaluation is a local matter, the county could help facilitate both this and flood mitigation projects that cross municipal lines.
·The budget is not balanced.
·We propose increasing property tax to balance the budget."
Marylou Green, President
Betsy Shaw Weiner, Co-Chair, County Budget Committee
Learn the Facts
When: Thursday, November 17, 2017; 3:00 to 6:00 pm
Where: Scarsdale Public Library, 54 Olmsted Road, Scarsdale NY
Sponsored by: League of Women Voters of Westchester
What: In a meeting open to the public, County Budget Director Lawrence Soule will present salient facts about both the proposed 2017 Operating Budget and the proposed 2017 Capital Projects Budget. A Q&A session will follow. After closing the meeting to the public, LWV members will discuss and reach consensus about the LWV statement to be made to County Legislators at a subsequent public hearing.
Copies are available in your library, at the Board of Elections, and in many community organization sites.
Copies are also available at the LWV of Westchester Office: 570 Taxter Road Suite565, Elmsford, New York 10523. Office hours are 10am to 2pm Monday, Wednesday,Thursday. Telephone: 914-949-0507
$6 per copy if picked up at the LWVW Office, 570 Taxter Road, Suite 565, Elmsford, New York.
$7 per copy if mailed.
Make checks payable to : LWVW Education Foundation
Send check to : LWVW Education Foundation, 570 Taxter Road, Suite 565, Elmsford, NY 10523
Note: Multiple Directory discount for order of 50 or more at $5 per Directory. Large orders must be picked up a the LWVW office.
Printing of this directory was made possible through a generous contribution from Con Edison.
This registrant became interested after watching the debate the night before. Iris Freed, the soup kitchen director, encouraged participants to register and a volunteer was on hand to help fill out the form.
Hope Community Services plans to transport area participants to 50 Sickles Place to vote on November 8th. The League of New Rochelle will assist that day as well.
Michael Waldman and President Marylou Green at the LWV of Westchester 2016 Annual Luncheon.
The League of Women Voters of Westchester and several local Leagues are participating in National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 27. It is part of a massive national effort to make sure that no one misses out on voting November 8 because he or she didn't register by the October 14 deadline.
See more at http://www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org/about. Look for volunteers at strategic spots throughout Westchester: Or download a voter registration form or an absentee ballot form at http://www.elections.ny.gov and mail it, drop it off, or pick up a form at the Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains.
REMEMBER TO REGISTER TO VOTE BEFORE THE DEADLINERegister in person by Friday, October 14th
Register by mail: Postmarked by Friday, October 14th and received by October 19th
WILL YOU NEED AN ABSENTEE BALLOT?Apply for absentee ballot in person by Monday, November 7th
Apply for absentee ballot by mail: postmarked by Tuesday, November 1st
Deliver ballot in person by Tuesday, November 8th at the Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains
Deliver ballot by mail: postmarked by Monday, November 7th and received by Saturday, November 12th
On August 31, 2016, the League won the final battle in our long legal campaign to overturn North Carolina's voter discrimination law when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid to revive the outrageous measure.
It's the end of the road for one of the worst anti-voter laws in the entire country. It's a tremendous victory for hundreds of thousands of voters in North Carolina who could have otherwise been blocked from the polls.
And it's the latest contribution you and other League supporters have made in our ongoing campaign to protect the right of all Americans to vote. Thank you for standing with us!
Wednesday's ruling lets stand a lower court's order barring North Carolina from requiring photo IDs and ordering the state to restore a week of early voting and maintain same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. In a blistering opinion, the lower court found that North Carolina's law targeted communities of color "with almost surgical precision."
The North Carolina law was one of many passed in states across the country shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act back in 2013. Wednesday's decision follows a string of other recent victories for voters' rights in states including Texas and Kansas.
I hope you are as encouraged by this latest news as everyone here at the League is--and I hope you feel a well-deserved sense of pride in contributing to it!
Thanks again for doing your part in Making Democracy Work®!
Lloyd Leonard Senior Director of Advocacy
P.S. For information about the upcoming election in your state, be sure to check out VOTE411.org, the League's one-stop voter information resource.
League of Women Voters 1730 M Street NW, Suite 1000
On Friday, a federal appeals court sided with the League in our lawsuit against the state of North Carolina and overturned one of the worst voter-discrimination laws in the entire country. This is an overwhelming victory--not just for the League but, far more important, the hundreds of thousands of voters in North Carolina whose right to vote had been imperiled by the new law.
And it's a measure of the tremendous impact committed supporters like you are having in our ongoing campaign to protect voters' rights. Thank you for standing with us! The court barred North Carolina from requiring photo IDs and ordered the state to restore a week of early voting and pre-registration and maintain same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting.
In finding that the new law would disproportionately impact communities of color, the judges noted in their decision that "we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent."
Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters applauded that statement: "We are grateful to the Court of Appeals for seeing this bill for what it was: a race-based, chilling attempt to silence the voices of eligible voters." The North Carolina law was one of many passed in states across the country shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act back in 2013. Friday's decision was the third major victory for voters' rights in recent weeks, following similar decisions against anti-voter laws in Wisconsin and Texas.
I hope you are as heartened by this news as all of us here at the League were when we heard it on Friday--and I hope you feel a real sense of pride in contributing to this victory for democracy!
Thanks again for all that you do!
Sincerely, Jeanette Senecal Senior Director, Elections and e-Democracy
P.S. To learn more about elections in your state, please visit VOTE411.org.
League of Women Voters North Carolina, voter id, HB 589
by Jessica Jones
Politicians have no business standing in the way of our right to vote
Raleigh, NC: The League of Women Voters has just won a major federal voting rights case, reinstating significant rights for North Carolina voters in time for Election Day. The League has been fighting HB 589, an omnibus voter suppression bill designed to limit the rights of voters, especially communities of color, since 2013.
"Democracy wins today. Voters win today. This decision is the latest in a string of major federal rulings that send a clear message: Politicians have no business standing in the way of our right to vote," said Mary Klenz, co-president of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, a plaintiff in the case.
"We are grateful to the Court of Appeals for seeing this bill for what it was: a race-based, chilling attempt to silence the voices of eligible voters," said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States.
"As we've seen in Wisconsin and Texas, and now North Carolina, federal courts are calling foul on post-Shelby attempts to suppress voters' rights. Their rulings are loud and clear. Politicians do not control our democracy; voters do," Carson said.
"With this ruling, League volunteers will be able to get back to what we do best: equipping voters with the information they need to cast a vote this year," continued Klenz. "We have a lot of work to do to make sure North Carolinians understand how this ruling affects them, and we stand ready to help millions of North Carolinians exercise their most fundamental right to vote."
The League of Women Voters was represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union, and was joined by North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, Onestop Unifour Collaborative, Common Cause North Carolina, and five individuals as plaintiffs on this lawsuit.
Contact: Maggie Bush, 202-429-1965
NYS Voter Registration Forms will be available in all Westchester County departments.
Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice and our keynote speaker; Marylou Green, President, LWVW
"The annual convention and spring luncheon was a great success. Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, gave an erudite and rousing history of the expansion of the right to vote in the US. - from the initial suffrage only afforded to white men of property to the 15th and 19th Amendment expansions of the right to African Americans and women, the battle to eliminate the requirements of property ownership (and the expansion of suffrage beyond the ruling elite), the imposition of Jim Crow laws and the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was used to dismantle Jim Crow to today's battles over early voting, specific id requirements and the right of felons to vote.
Luncheon crowd at Scarsdale Woman's Club
Gail Lane, Debbie and Jennifer Tomassino (LWVW's 2016 Student Inside Albany) , Bryan Costa, Guidance Counselor at Tuckahoe High school
Edith Szoldz, Susan Schwarz and Karen Schatzel of LWVW
Marcia McCraw, Steve Meyers and Janet Jaidi of LWVW.
Michael Waldmans' latest book, The Fight to Vote.
From the left:
Sponsored by the LWV of Rivertowns: Robert Epstein, Ardsley High, 11th Grade; Amanda Prechtl, Montessori Academy, 11 Grade.
Sponsored by the LWV of Larchmont/Mamaroneck: Katie Lawless, Mamaroneck High, 12th Grade; Victoria Patti, Mamaroneck High, 12th Grade.
LWV of Westchester (ILO): Jennifer Tommmasino, Tuckahoe High, 11th Grade.
Below is a link to the first of the 6 part series of one-hour programs on the issue of a possible constitutional convention in NYS. The LWV of NY is a partner in these programs through the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany.
The LWV of Westchester thanks the Westchester Community Foundation for its significant grant to finance Running and Winning 2016. Generous support was also received from the American Association of University Women."
Women Elected Officials Offer Teen Girls Advice on Community Involvement and on "Running and Winning". Fourteen women elected officials from Westchester County came to the White Plains YWCA recently [April 14] to share their stories once again with a new group of bright young women from Westchester schools for the Fifth Annual "Running and Winning" workshop held at the White Plains YWCA; co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Westchester, the American Association of University Women, and the White Plains YWCA; and funded by the Westchester Community Foundation.
Learn more about the Westchester Community Foundation: http://www.wcf-ny.org
and the American Association of University Women: http://westchester-ny.aauw.net
Read more about Running and Winning 2016: http://www.lwvnet.org/lwv/easyweb/preview/Youth-Programs.html
The Senator has distributed a letter to all Senators asking them to become co-sponsors. Currently the bill has 26 co-sponsors but it needs more support in order to pass in the Senate.
Call your Senator and ask them if they are co-sponsoring S.60B. If they are, thank them! If they aren't explain to them the importance of the bill and the effect it will have on all public officials.
Your State Senator and phone number is listed as: Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (518) 455-2585
Hello, I'd like to leave a message for Senator_________. My name is ____________ and I am a constituent who lives in [your neighborhood or town]. I support Senator Squadron's bill,S.60B, which would help close the LLC loophole. I hope that Senator ________ will co-sponsor this important legislation which would cap campaign finance contributions from unidentified donors and require that the members of the LLCs identify themselves. Without these provisions, LLCs who represent special interests will continue to be able to contribute millions of dollars to candidates without having to disclose the source of the contributions. Talking Points:
Under current law a single individual is able to exceed the contribution limits to a candidate or committee by using multiple LLCs. This both circumvents the limit on what individuals can contribute and makes it difficult to see who is funding a candidate.
S.60B will increase transparency by requiring LLC's to disclose the identity of all members, attribute LLC contributions to each LLC member, and cap LLC contributions at $5,000.
Without these provisions, LLCs who represent special interests will continue to be able to contribute millions of dollars to candidates without having to disclose the source of the contributions
Your call can make the difference! Thanks for your help on this important issue!
League of Women Voters of New York State® 62 Grand Street, Albany, New York
Read the NY Times Article - The Voter Support Agency Accused of Suppressing Votes:
Women are not new to leadership; think of Cleopatra or Queen Elizabeth. Think of the women who led the civil rights and education reform movements. But women are still outnumbered by men in the most prestigious positions, from Capitol Hill to the board room. Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership examines the causes of women's underrepresentation in leadership roles in business, politics, and education and suggests what we can do to change the status quo. Use #leadHERship to follow the discussion.
Read the LWVW Letter:
Click here to view interview:
Click here to watch this very informative video. http://www.vimeo.com/152005404