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April 2020 Meeting

Attention Members:
The Annual Dinner has been postponed to late October, but voting to approve the Leadership Committee and the budget will take place via email in June.
Anyone willing to write postcard reminders to fill out the census should contact Sandy Smith immediately.
Anyone interested in expanding VOTE411 should contact Chrystal Schivell.
Sandy Smith welcomed members of the Leadership Committee and Kathleen Moriarty to a Zoom meeting organized by Jennifer Howard.

Voter Service
Given COVID-19’s impact on voting, the LC will focus on updating voters and encouraging Vote-by-Mail. Cindy Gordon will write a press release to be sent to the media, local libraries, and other organizations as well as posted on VOTE411.org.

Chrystal Schivell reported that LWVNJ asked local Leagues to cover on VOTE411 all municipal and school board elections now scheduled for May 12. Chrystal took Paterson City Council and will cover the June Democratic race for Princeton Council and any other contested primaries in Mercer County on VOTE411. She hopes to hold a forum for candidates for Princeton Council as well.

Annual Dinner and Business Meeting
The Annual Dinner was postponed until late October. It was agreed that the Rita Ludlum Award will not be given this year but will be awarded in May, 2021, when we will have returned, we hope, to the usual pattern. The Business Meeting, however, cannot be postponed but will not be conducted in person. The proposed Leadership Committee, the League’s local positions, and budget for 2020-21 must be approved by June 30.

The Nominating Committee and Treasurer will create the needed documents. Members will receive the documents and a reminder about dues via email later this spring and will be asked to send in their vote so that we have a quorum.

Communication Plan
Cindy Gordon reported that the mayors of each municipality in the Princeton Area League signed the proclamations honoring the League’s 100th year. Publicity was good; photos of League members with mayors appeared in local media. The League was also featured in the Princeton Public Library’s February “Community Partner Spotlight.”

Cindy’s plan to make the League the go-to resource for election information is bearing fruit. LWVPA now has a relationship with the Princeton, Plainsboro, and West Windsor libraries and the Princeton YWCA. Although establishing relationships with local businesses is on hold during the pandemic, Cindy and Jeanne Turner will spearhead the effort to update voters and encourage voting by mail – perhaps asking newspapers for public service announcements about the League and VOTE411.

Voter Girl
The League and Girl Scouts’ collaboration was a success. Jennifer reported that her Daisy group explored the definition of “neighborhood,” expanding it to the national level, voted on five issues, and saw the new voting machine to be used in Middlesex County. Kathleen Moriarty presented a STEM project at the event. Voter Girl received positive press and was fun and instructive for the Scouts.

Callathon
Jeanne Turner again did Callathon for LWVNJ and received pledges of $700, a portion of which will come back to LWVPA. Many thanks to Jeanne.

National Convention and Centennial Celebration, June 25-28 in Washington, DC
Sandy Smith and Kathleen Moriarty will be the voting delegates from LWVPA. Jennifer Howard, who is also on the LWVNJ Board, will attend, voting status to be determined. It is not clear whether the convention can take place as scheduled. LWVUS will make an announcement.

Mercer County Census 2020 Postcards
It was agreed that LWVPA, like the Lawrence League, would write personal notes on postcards to be sent to Trenton residents in four key, low-performing census tracts. A script urging residents to complete their census forms is available in English and Spanish. Sandy Smith will take charge of getting postcards to and from interested members. Please contact her immediately.

Planning for Next Year
Meetings will take place at the West Windsor Library on September 8, November 10, January 12 and April 13, the second Tuesdays of those months, from 7-9 pm.
The September 8 meeting will finalize plans for Voter Service – the focus of League work. LWVNJ would like to see the entire state covered on VOTE411 – each municipal and school board election. Because there are no Leagues in some areas, volunteers from other Leagues are needed to cover the orphan races. Volunteers have already covered every county office in New Jersey! And in some counties (Mercer, Somerset, and Middlesex) every municipal office and school board election is covered. We want to finish the job.

Covering the entire state is not impossible now that email addresses are required of candidates. If a few members of each League took on two or three orphan races, we could do it! Chrystal Schivell can teach you how to use VOTE411. What a useful way to spend the quarantine! Contact her now, while we’re stuck inside, to learn how to set up the races. We’ll send the questions to the candidates in the fall.