May 2020 Annual Meeting
The evening began with a surprise Cocktail Party at 6:30 PM, featuring a slide show of the League's activities from the previous year compiled by Jennifer Howard and Cindy Gordon. By 7:00 PM we had a quorum of more than seventeen members, as well as a few guests. Sandy Smith opened our virtual Zoom meeting by introducing Susan Sferas, our LWVNJ Board liaison, and asking each of us introduce ourselves.
Sandy noted that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the League and ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, and that in 1920, the U.S. was recovering from WWI as well as the Spanish flu pandemic. She then listed the highlights of the League’s year:
Membership: We have 56 members, including four new members.
Communication Plan: Cindy Gordon is making LWVPA the go-to organization for election information and increasing our visibility through the proclamations that were signed by area mayors.
Advocacy: We participated in the fourth annual NJ Women’s March.
Princeton Community Housing: Toshi Abe is our liaison. We make annual donations to it and to the Historical Society of Princeton.
Callathon: Jeanne Turner raised $700 for the state League, of which we receive a percentage.
Census: in May, a team of eight of our members completed 500 handwritten postcards to remind residents of hard-to-count areas of Trenton to complete the Census survey.
LWVUS Convention: The 54th Biennial League of Women Voters U.S. Convention, originally scheduled for late June in Washington D.C., has been converted to a virtual platform and will be held June 25-27. Our League will have two voting delegates as well as other attendees.
CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell will deliver the keynote address for “Women Power the Vote for 100 Years.” Throughout her career, she covered American elections and won multiple journalism awards, including Emmys, for her sexual assault investigation as well as her Election Night coverage.
Ms. O’Donnell’s video address will be played for Convention attendees on Friday, June 26 and made available on YouTube shortly after.
Voter Service: Sandy’s summary of voter service activities – registrations, forums, VOTE411, GOTV – generated a detailed discussion about how to carry out the League’s mission during the pandemic. Suggestions included posting LWVNJ’s video about how to register on VOTE411, alerting voters to the difference between normal elections and this primary election, and sending postcards reminding voters to vote. Members agreed to work on these immediately.
Voting: The Nominating Committee, Princeton League positions, budget, and Leadership Committee were unanimously approved. Sandy thanked Lee Forbes, who is stepping down from the LC, for her years of dedicated service. Ellen Kemp explained that the budget reflects greater expenditures next year because items like the postponed annual dinner and Rita Ludlum award may occur twice.
Note: Ellen will step down as treasurer in June, 2021. Please volunteer now to take her position so that you may have a year of mentoring! And please send in your dues by June 30, 2020.
Report from the State Board: Jennifer Howard and Ellen Kemp explained that LWVNJ, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and a disabled voter are suing New Jersey. They contend the state disenfranchises thousands of voters every year by a system that allows county officials to reject a Vote-By-Mail (VBM) ballot when a signature does not match the one on file without telling the voter and giving him/her a chance to prove he/she voted, as some other states do.
Centennial Celebration: Sandy noted that our annual dinner has been postponed to October, when we’re hoping that restrictions on restaurants will have been relaxed and we can recognize a student with the Rita Ludlum award. More information will be coming within the next few months.
Sandy closed the meeting by encouraging members to attend our Tuesday, September 8th meeting, 7-9 PM, at the West Windsor Public Library to plan our voter service activities for this important election year.