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Voter Service Report Fall 2015

In October, Nancy Hedinger and Chrystal Schivell were guests on Reed and Ponder, a talk show produced by Princeton Community TV. The topic, “Getting Involved in Politics,” gave Nancy and Chrystal the opportunity to describe what the League is doing.

Voter registration
West Windsor Farmers' Market
As usual, Joan Bharucha staffed the table. She reported that she had a lot of people asking questions or just coming by to talk about voting and the general political climate. She registered 50 voters total: 30 from Mercer County and 20 from Middlesex (an increase over last year). Details as follows:
    • September 5 – 17 Registrations, 2 Vote-by Mail Applications 
    • September 12 – 10 Registrations, 1 Vote-by-Mail Application 
    • September 19 – 10 Registrations 1 Vote-by-Mail Application 
    • September 26 – 13 Registrations 1 Vote-by-Mail Application 
Mercer County Community College
This year, the members of the Princeton Area League joined the Lawrence League's registrations at MCCC with impressive results, especially during lunch-time hours. Sheila Berkelhammer, Sandy Smith, Kip Cherry, Lee Forbes and Chrystal Schivell participated in registration, and Sandy Smith spoke about voting rights at a history class at MCCC on October 7.
    • September 17, 11:00AM-1:00PM West Windsor Campus – 25 registrations 
    • September 22, 11:00AM-1:00PM West Windsor Campus – 41 registrations 
    • September 28, 11:00AM - 1:00PM Trenton Campus – 39 registrations 
    • September 30, 4:00PM - 6:00PM Trenton Campus – 11 registrations 
Voters Guides
Voters Guides for West Windsor Council and West Windsor-Plainsbroro Board of Education were compiled by Sandy Smith. Patricia Casey covered Princeton Council, and Chrystal Schivell covered the Princeton and Montgomery Boards of Education. This year we expanded our Voters Guides to include Mercer County contests. Patricia contacted the candidates for County Executive but was unable to compile a guide because neither candidate responded to the questions on time. Chrystal compiled the guide for Freeholder and Clerk. All guides were published in The Princeton Packet and online at the Princeton League website. LWVNJ then linked to Princeton's site.

Aubrey Huston, editor of The Princeton Packet, wrote a tribute to the League's Voters Guides.

Sandy Shapiro reported on the total usage of the League's website in the month before the election. There were 1,529 sessions with an average session duration of 2 minutes 25 seconds, and 3,413 page views, with 2.23 pages/session (about twice as many as last year). Voters increasingly turn to the League as the election approaches: November 1 – 74 page views. November 2 – 496 page views. November 3 – 820 page views.

Forums
Although the Princeton Area League sponsored three forums, it had to deny requests to cover other offices because of a lack of manpower. Republican candidates challenging incumbent Democrats for Mercer County offices were irate at the denial, but neither Lawrence nor Princeton had the members to organize more debates. The League was contacted by L.A. Parker of The Trentonian about the story.

Advance publicity for each forum appeared in Town Topics, The Princeton Packet, Planet Princeton, and, for Board of Education contests, on the relevant district websites.

NJ 16th Legislative District
Jack Ciattarelli, Donna Simon, Maureen Vella and Andrew Zwicker participated in a 90-minute forum co-sponsored by Princeton Community TV on Tuesday, October 6 at 7:00 PM at Witherspoon Hall in Princeton. Dawn Clarke moderated, Anne Zeman and Melissa Scott screened, Lee Forbes was timekeeper, and John Schivell, Ellen Kemp, and Melissa passed out index cards to an SRO audience of over 100. Video of the forum received 268 plays and 1,031 loads (not watched all the way through).

Princeton Board of Education
Four candidates answered questions from the audience of 44 at an hour-long forum held on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:00 PM at Monument Main (the former Borough meeting room) in Princeton. Princeton Community TV co-sponsored the forum and provided the video. Ann Armstrong moderated, John Schivell was timekeeper, Ingrid Reed screened, and Patricia Casey welcomed voters. Video of the forum received 208 plays and 452 loads (not played all the way through).

Montgomery Board of Education
Paula Simpkins organized the forum with assistance from Debra O'Reilly of the Montgomery Township Education Association and from the Montgomery School District, which provided the venue and videotaping. Nine candidates participated in the 90-minute forum that was held on Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 PM at the Upper Middle School Media Center in Montgomery. Karen Siracusa moderated, Chrystal Schivell screened, Lee Forbes was timekeeper, and John Schivell welcomed voters. Video of the forum received 373 plays (load data were not available).

Princeton Council
A proposed forum for the four candidates for Princeton Council was canceled when the Republican candidates declined the League's invitation. Local newspapers covered the story in detail.

Acknowledgements
The following members contributed to Voter Service by creating questions for the forums and Voters Guides: Elizabeth Bates, Patricia Casey, Kip Cherry, Jennifer Howard, Edith Neimark, Ingrid Reed, Sandy Shapiro, Paula Simpkins, Grace Sinden, and Sandy Smith.

Submitted by Chrystal Schivell, Voter Service chair