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League Newsletter February 2012

LWV logo
The League of Women Voters
of the Princeton Area
 Volume 26  Issue 2
 February 2012


In This Issue

Brown Bag Lunch:
"Armchair Advocacy"
Thursday, February 23
12:30 PM, Stonebridge

Voter Services Report

Ready to Run

As We Progress

"Advocacy" vs. "Lobbying"



The League of Women Voters
of the Princeton Area

welcomes information
about issues

in our League area and
encourages comments at


Committee of the Whole

Membership: Frieda Gilvarg, Nancy Hall
Contact Person:  Rita Ludlum
Publicity: Edith Neimark
Treasurer: Ellen Kemp
Voter Services: Chrystal Schivell
Update Editor: Beverly Kestenis
Member at Large: Anne Zemann
Webmaster: Sandy Shapiro

Brown Bag Lunch
Thursday, February 23
Sandy Matsen will lead a workshop on advocacy.
To be held at Stonebridge, Montgomery
at 12:30 in the small auditorium
Some of us are armchair advocates, preferring to write letters to the editor instead of lobbying for our cause. 
But how many of us advocate on behalf of League causes?
And what if we could add “League of Women Voters” to empower letters supporting our own cause?
Sandy Matsen will lead the workshop on If, When, and How to
1.  Post information from other organizations on the League website
2.  Write letters in support of League positions
3.  Use the League’s name in support of our personal causes
Sandy will clarify the protocol involved in using the League’s name as well as what determines that its use is inappropriate.
(Note:  See information on Advocacy in this issue)

Voter Services Report
by Chrystal Schivell
Voter Services had an active fall - organizing five forums, each videotaped by George McCollough of Princeton Community TV and made available online at Princeton TV, AllPrinceton and the League's websites. George reports that at Princeton TV's website 591 viewers watched the debates all the way through. The Princeton Borough
mayoral contest received the most hits; the 16th District forum was second.  The latter was aired on South Brunswick's local TV channel and was the focus for a community discussion at Princeton Manor.  The forums were also seen posted on NJTV's website. Clearly, video is the way to go.
The forums:
September 20 – The Princeton Borough mayoral contest between Jill Jachera and Yina Moore, hosted by the Jewish Center, brought out over 140 people and was covered by The Princeton Packet.
September 26 – Princeton Township Committee, broadcast live by Princeton Community TV, was covered by both the Packet and Town Topics.
September 28 – Princeton Borough Council, broadcast live by Princeton Community TV, was covered by the Packet.
October 17 – Candidates for the 16th Legislative District debated at the Princeton Township Municipal Building before an SRO audience.  The debate was also videotaped by Blue Jersey and edited for its website. The entire debate appeared on YouTube and was covered in the Packet.
October 20 – The Mercer County Executive and Freeholders forum, sponsored by the Lawrence, Hopewell, East Windsor-Hightstown, and Princeton Area Leagues, drew a near-capacity audience to Dodds Auditorium at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.
Voters' guides for Plainsboro, West Windsor, Montgomery, and the two Princetons were published online at the League's website and in The Princeton Packet.
Voter Services is indebted to our collaborators: AllPrinceton for publicity and questions, The Princeton Packet for publicity and publishing our voters' guides, and Princeton Community TV for studio and video production.
Voter Registration

During LWVNJ's statewide registration on September 10, 15 registration forms and five vote-by mail applications were handed out at McCaffrey's in Princeton. Four registration forms were taken at the Farmers' Market in Montgomery, and none at the community picnic in Kingston. At an October drive at the Farmers' Market in Princeton, eight forms and two applications were taken and one voter registered with us.  Interestingly, 14 forms were taken at Princeton's mayoral debate and two at Princeton Future's presentation on consolidation.
In West Windsor, Joan Bharucha handed out 29 registration forms and 20 vote-by-mail applications over four Saturdays at the Farmers' Market there. Joan continues to be LWVPA's most active registrar.

Plans for 2012

Voter Services will become a committee with co-chairs for each municipality within the Princeton Area. Co-chairs will be responsible for organizing voter registration drives and for creating questions for candidates in their respective communities. They are encouraged to establish sub-committees of fellow residents to assist them. Co-chairs will cooperate on large projects such as statewide registration day, the publication of voters' guides, forums, and LWVUS's High School Registration Project.  The co-chairs are:
Princeton – Chrystal Schivell
Plainsboro – Sandy Smith
West Windsor – Joan Bharucha, registration
Montgomery – Lee Forbes
South Brunswick – Edith Neimark and Ellen Kemp, registration; and Anne Zeman, candidate questions
Please get in touch with the co-chair for your municipality if you can spare some time or thought on behalf of Voter Services.  Chrystal, Sandy Smith, and Lee have already agreed to approach their respective high schools about registering seniors this spring, but a more ambitious and fruitful goal might be to teach students in Trenton how to register voters for the 2012 general election.
2012 will be a busy year for Voter Services with the election of a whole new government in Princeton as well as the Presidential and Congressional elections, and elections in each municipality. Please call a member of the Voter Services Committee if you are willing to play a role. The more volunteers we have, the more we can do – especially in terms of voter registration.  Thank you.

Ready to Run
Each year, the Center for American women and Politics at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute hosts “Ready to Run,” a bipartisan program for women who want to run for office, seek higher office, work on a campaign, get appointed to office, or learn more about the political system. You will learn from prominent elected and appointed leaders, campaign consultants, party officials, and policy experts.
The program will be held March 9-10th.
The deadline to register is February 10.

As We Progress
The Local Princeton area League will be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. At this time it seems appropriate to look back on our history.
The 1930’s

  • First meeting of Princeton League held 10/31/32. Forty-eight women join.
  • Membership dues originally $1.
  • League began issuing a news bulletin called TheCalendar in 1939.
  • First candidates’ sheets distributed in 1939.  Within six years, 10,000 would be sent to almost every home with a registered voter.
Election machinery, public disposals, property valuation, county government, improvements in civil service, and the need for low income housing in Princeton (one of the League’s first efforts at social reform). 
The 1940’s

  • Operated consumer Information Center during World War II.
  • Campaigned for a new state constitution ratified by Voters in November 1946.
  • Changed the name of the League to League of Women Voters of the Princeton Community.
  • Solicited donations from the public for the first time in 1946.  Raised $135.
  • Membership of 273 women by 1947.
  • Began the first “Know Your town”, 1948.
Commitment to the U.N., reduced tariffs, post-war inflation, and consolidation of Borough and Township governments.
The 2000’s
Take a Bow 

Voters have finally approved consolidation of the two Princetons in a process our Princeton League has supported from 1952. It was in that year that the Princeton League studied the issue of consolidation and issued its report recommending consolidation. The merger plan was defeated by voters in November 1955. However, the League has continued to support this issue over the years until as recently as October 2011 when the League co-sponsored the Commission’s presentation at the library. We congratulate all League members who worked for passage of this law.

Defining “Advocacy” vs. “Lobbying”

The following has been excerpted from a National League article of October 12, 2011.
Advocacy encompasses pleading for or against causes, as well as supporting or recommending positions.

While lobbying can be part of an advocacy strategy, advocacy does not necessarily include lobbying.
Lobbying is defined as an attempt to influence specific legislation, including both legislation that has already been introduced in a legislative body and specific legislative proposals that the League may oppose or support.  There are two types of lobbying: direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying.
To constitute direct lobbying, a communication must be directed to a legislator, their staff or other governmental employee, who may participate in the formulation of legislation. It must also refer to and express a view on a specific referenda or other ballot measure. 
To constitute grassroots lobbying a communication must be directed to the general public. It must also express a view on specific legislation and include a statement that directs readers to contact their legislators or include the contact information for a legislator or employee of a legislative body.
Most other activities promoting League positions that do not fall within the strict definitions of lobbying noted above are general advocacy and may be funded by charitable contributions. One important caveat is Leagues are advised to keep clear lines between voters’ service activities and advocacy activities. For example, Leagues that have taken a position on a ballot measure should not include that position in their Voters’ Guide.
An example of advocacy at the national level is the
ADVOCACY ACTION ALERT: Fight back against Citizens United –January 2012

The LWVUS joined in a call to action asking supporters to sign a petition to the White House urging President Obama to appoint new commissioners to the Federal Election Commission.  At the press conference, LWVUS Senior Director of Advocacy Lloyd Leonard spoke about the League’s involvement and the importance of this first step towards fighting back against Citizens United. Media coverage included The Washington Times, Roll Call,and The Hill.
The LWV-NJ also issued a call to action in January on this issue.