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September 2019 Meeting

Lee Forbes welcomed eleven members and one guest, Kit Murdock, president of the East Windsor-Hightstown League.

Treasurer’s Report
Ellen Kemp reported that, since we are near the beginning of the League’s fiscal year, the budget is fine. She noted that Callathon raised $363 for LWVPA, a portion of which will fund the Rita Ludlum Award for 2020. There was discussion about rewording the invitation to the Annual Dinner so that only League-invited guests are treated to the meal.

Voter Service
Registration
Sandy Smith reported that enough members have volunteered for the registrations listed below (with the organizers noted in parentheses). However, she welcomed interested LWVPA members to attend the Naturalization Ceremony at the Princeton Public Library on September 18, 2PM-4PM, Citizenship Day, where Sandy will host a registration of the new citizens.

All Saturdays in September: West Windsor Farmer's Market, 9 am to 1 pm (J. Bharucha)
September 22: Centennial Celebration in front of Plainsboro Library, beginning 10 a.m. (C. Gordon & J. Turner)
September 24: National Voter Registration Day at Plainsboro Library, 11 am to 1 pm and 5 to 7 pm (C. Gordon & J. Turner)
September 28: West Windsor Library, 1-5 pm (C. Lin)

VOTE411.org
Chrystal Schivell thanked the following League members for covering local races:
  • Jean Nitzberg and Ann Wolf of the Lawrence League: Hamilton Mayor, Council and BOE
  • Jeanne Turner: Plainsboro Township Committee
  • Kathleen Moriarty and Madeleine Zullow: Plainsboro and West Windsor Board of Education
  • Jennifer Howard: West Windsor Township Council
  • Chrystal covered Mercer County, Princeton, Ewing with the help of Georganne D’Angelo of the Lawrence League, Hillsborough with the input of Sharon Gruber of Hunterdon-Somerset, Montgomery, and South Brunswick.
  • Sandy Smith continues to cover the Lawrence races for that League. 
Chrystal noted that it would be helpful to Voter Service if every League member submitted a question or issue for the races in their communities since, although she is familiar with VOTE411, she knows little about issues outside of Princeton. She is also happy to train anyone (over the phone) to use 411.

LWVNJ will again cover not only the New Jersey Assembly races but also the county-level races in every county in New Jersey. There is still time for volunteers to cover county races in counties which have no League, like Cumberland, and even to cover municipal and school board races in those counties. The more races League covers, the more valuable VOTE411 becomes.

Forums
A forum for candidates for Princeton Board of Education will take place on Wednesday, October 2 at 7 PM at Monument Main, 1 Monument Drive, Princeton.

A forum to be held without an audience at Princeton TV’s studio is being contemplated for candidates for Princeton Council. The video would be broadcast and posted on the League’s website and VOTE411.org.

The two candidates for Mercer County Executive have been invited to a studio forum at Princeton TV. The forum is co-sponsored by the LWV of East Windsor-Hightstown, Hopewell Valley, Lawrence, and the Princeton Area. Video would be broadcast and posted by each League. Update: the forum has been canceled because one candidate declined the League's invitation; the other has not replied.

A forum for candidates for the 16thLegislative District is being discussed by LWV Princeton Area and Somerset-Hunterdon. It was agreed that invitations asking for available dates be sent.

If the last three forums are confirmed, information about viewing or attending them will be posted on the League’s website.

GOTV (Get Out the Vote)
In a statement, Jeanne Turner wrote that members wishing to Get Out the Vote need only to commit to an online training session (times to be announced closer to November 5) and to phonebanking for two hours during the weekend prior to the election. Non-League members are welcome to participate if they have taken the training. Calling may be done individually in the comfort of one’s home or as a group. One needs WiFi access, a phone, and a tablet or laptop to participate. Jeanne welcomes volunteers and will send a reminder with more details closer to the election.

It is understood that LWVUS plans to canvass door-to-door as well, but LWVPA has no further information at this time. Please check all future emails from the Princeton Area League.

Publicity and mail-in ballot press release
Recent legislation requires that voters who received a Vote-by-Mail ballot in 2017 and 2018 must opt out by mail – and soon – if they no longer wish to receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot. LWVNJ sent a press release template last week for local Leagues to publicize. Cindy Gordon, Leadership Committee member in charge of publicity, will send it to online media immediately.

During discussion it was noted that not all county clerks appear to have the same deadlines for opting out nor to have all posted the information or sent opt-out forms to voters. It was suggested that the LWVNJ Board look into what each county is doing and, as necessary, ask LWVNJ to complain formally about the lack of uniformity and the short period allowed for opting out. Jennifer Howard, who along with Ellen, is a Board member suggested looking into which media reach the most voters, especially millennials, and using them more often than the usual newspapers.

Cindy, who with Jennifer is on LWVNJ’s Communications Committee, outlined her goals, which include having members tell their League stories, reaching out to the public, and making the League’s mission so well-known that reporters and other members of the community will think to turn to the League for answers to issues. The Communications Committee will be sending questionnaires to members in the near future.

LWVNJ Updates
Lee summarized requests from LWVNJ for volunteers for the following areas. Once Voter Service activities are over, many of us will join state-wide committees to work on these areas. Please contact the person listed if you are interested.

Census Info: We want local Leagues helping to ensure an accurate census count! Email jburns@lwvnj.org if your League is interested in organizing around the Census
Fair Districts New Jersey: Lee Forbes is LWV-Princeton Area’s Fair Districts NJ liaison and Melissa Scott is joining. However, if you, too, would like to join – email Helen at hkioukis@lwvnj.org.

Lobbying for the League: if you want to lobby or interact with state representatives, email jburns@lwvnj.org to coordinate and for authorization. If you want to lobby or interact with federal representatives, email Jesse first for authorization and then there is a federal action request form: https://www.lwv.org/federal-action-request-form.

Voter Girl: Voter Girl is an LWVUS Initiative with the Girls Scouts of America. Interested in learning more about Voter Girl? Contact Kathy Abbott at abbottkmr@gmail.com.

She Is Me: The She Is Me digital campaign is being launched today by the US League. It is designed to bring new audiences (young, all genders, all races) to the Leagues at all levels by telling generational stories through social media. If you have social media vehicles and wish to participate, please search and follow #SheIsMeLWV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and follow the US accounts. When launched, the simplest first step is to re-post. This campaign is totally optional. It is not necessary to do anything immediately upon launch! The program is over a year long - running until Election Day 2020. Feel free to “personalize” the campaign to direct users to your own events, email sign ups, websites, donation forms, membership forms, etc. For details, check out the Toolkit https://www.lwv.org/league-management/guides/she-me-toolkit.

Jennifer will contact LWVNJ’s Communications Committee about reaching out to Frieda Gilvarg, LWVPA’s veteran member, for her story for “She is Me.”

Next Meeting: Nov. 12, 2019

Chrystal Schivell
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