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Annual Meeting June 2013

Annual Meeting 2013
The Annual Meeting was held June 10th at the Salt Creek Grille. The thirty guests were given LWV pins and tote bags and encouraged to increase League visibility and thus membership. Sandy Smith welcomed everyone and introduced new members. Sheila Berkelhammer thanked the League for its continuing support of Princeton Community Housing, the largest provider of affordable housing in Princeton. Sheila stated that PCH has close to 500 units for families and the elderly, which house close to 950 people, and has 900 names on its waiting list. Sandy then summarized the year's many, exciting activities.

Last October, we celebrated our 80th anniversary with a party and performance by an actress portraying Alice Paul. In December, we were honored to welcome Toni Zimmer, President of the LWV-NJ, and Kerry Butch, LWV-NJ Executive Director, to our monthly meeting. They discussed the important role of the League in advocacy and in the November election during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. After completing our responses on the League’s state positions early in 2013, we began preparing for Communiversity and State Convention.

We joined the League’s Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) Program. Sandy introduced our MLD coach, Sally Madden, who joined us for the evening with her husband. Sally has been an invaluable guide to understanding how the MLD program can strengthen our Princeton League. Through our participation in MLD, we have re-organized from the Committee of the Whole to the Leadership Committee.

Other activities over the past year included Lobby Corp training, moderator training, and a visit to the LWVNJ state office for a discussion of advocacy, followed by observation of a New Jersey legislative session.

Plans for 2013-14
Guests were given a handout describing next year's new meeting times and places, events already planned, and new activities such as the Action Committee, Lobby Corps and Observer Corps. Click here for an online list of Plans for 2013-14. For a pdf version, click here.

LWVNJ Convention Highlights
Lee Forbes described the thrill of meeting Elizabeth McNamara, LWVUS President, celebrating the Hurricane Heroes, who coordinated voting after Sandy, and winning the Communications Award. She reported that a new study, Human Trafficking, was approved, as was an update to League's position on charter schools. Lee's other remarks were taken from the report already online, LWVNJ Convention 2013. Click here to read the full report.

Voter Service Report
Chrystal Schivell summarized the year's events and urged members to initiate their own voter registrations and debates – and to keep thinking of questions for candidates for the Voters' Guides. 

Finance Report and Voting
Ellen Kemp submitted a budget for 2013-14 that, with an increase in dues, would be balanced. Members voted to increase dues to $60 per individual and $90 per household, with student membership remaining at $22. Members also voted to accept the Leadership Committee and to reaffirm all Princeton League positions except the consolidation of Princeton Borough and Township, which has been accomplished.
Click for links to:
Finance Report
Princeton League Positions
LWV Princeton Area Leadership Committee

Keynote Speech
Penny Venetis
Penny Venetis, Clinical Professor of Law at Rutgers, Director of the International Human Rights Clinic, and Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise Scholar, spoke about voting rights. Calling the League a “beacon of integrity and ethics,” Ms. Venetis urged us to stay vigilant regardless of whether or not Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act survives in the Supreme Court's upcoming decision. The areas in which legislative actions could still infringe on voting rights include: voter ID laws, voter fraud laws, and restrictions on early voting and on voter registration that make it difficult for organizations like the League to register voters.

Felony disenfranchisement is another concern. Ms. Venetis urged the League to work to amend the NJ constitution to end felony disenfranchisement. (LWV-Princeton Area is hoping to start an Action Committee to restore voting rights to all parolees and probationers who are U.S. Citizens, an LWVNJ position. See Plans for 2013-14.)

After telling several chilling stories about the ease with which voting machines can be hacked, Ms. Venetis complimented the New Jersey legislature for having passed laws in 2007 that make paper ballots count as votes. She said that the League should insist that the executive branch implement these laws and incorporate a voter-verified paper ballot. Ms. Venetis warned against Internet voting as even less secure than voting machines.

In conclusion, Ms. Venetis reminded us that the Right to Vote is the right from which all other rights derive.
Click here to read the full report.

Comments to the Leadership Committee
All members are encouraged to send comments, suggestions, or questions about our League to our gmail address lwvprinceton@gmail.com or contact any member of the Leadership Committee. Please join one of the teams on the Leadership Committee. There is a role for every member!