September 2017 Meeting
September 12, 2017
The sixteen members attending introduced themselves and talked about their current League activities.
LWVUS and LWVNJ
Lee reported that she and Sandy provided input to the LWVUS Survey intended to help improve the functioning of the League in more unified ways for local, state and national levels.
There is a new google group with LWVNJ for Presidents. Lee and Ellen are currently subscribed and any Leadership Committee member that would like to should let them know. There will be regional workshops this year and the one scheduled for October 21 is in Tinton Falls, in case anyone would like to attend.
Chrystal reported that the 16th Legislative District forum and the Somerset County Freeholder forum have been canceled because one of the parties did not accept the League’s invitations. A forum between the two candidates for Montgomery Township Committee to be held on October 17 is on hold because one of the candidates has not yet confirmed the date.
On October 2 at 7 PM, the six candidates for Princeton Board of Education will meet in a forum at the Witherspoon municipal building. Patricia Casey, Elizabeth Bates, and Jessica Knowlton volunteered to help.
On October 18 at 7 PM, candidates for the 14th Legislative District will meet in a forum co-sponsored by the Leagues of Monroe Township, East Windsor/Hightstown, and the Princeton Area. The forum will be held at the Monroe Township Senior Center. Jeanne Turner and Roberta Churchill will act as timekeepers, and Toshi Abe will videotape. A request from Monroe to provide refreshments was turned down by the Leadership Committee.
Update to the report: A forum among candidates for Montgomery Board of Education is tentatively scheduled for October 30, place to be determined. Lee Forbes is in charge and needs volunteers.
The following members have taken on races for VOTE411.org. Some are covering races in which they have no stake. It is hoped that for next fall other League members will volunteer to cover the races in their municipalities.
Patricia Casey – Princeton Board of Education (BOE), Mercer County Freeholders and Sheriff
Sandy Smith – West Windsor Township Committee and Mayor, West Windsor-Plainsboro BOE
Jessica Knowlton – South Brunswick municipal and BOE
Harriet Warner – Franklin Township Council and BOE
Chrystal Schivell – Hillsborough Township Committee and BOE, Montgomery Township Committee and BOE.
It was agreed that VOTE411 should be well publicized this year. Members are encouraged to visit vote411.org website to view Voters' Guide for information on races on their ballots. Please let family and friends know about VOTE411!
Business cards and posters advertising VOTE411 are available - please contact Sandy Smith. The Voter Service Team will submit notices to local publications to advertise VOTE411.
Sandy Smith’s report of the Lawrence League’s program featuring Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello prompted a discussion about the ballots in the June primary that were not counted because they remained in the Hamilton Post Office until July. It was suggested that Bonnie Watson Coleman be contacted to encourage improvement in the postal system since it is a federal agency.
The need for a change in statute that would require candidates to supply an email address when filing for office was discussed. Ellen will speak to the LWVNJ Board about including it on their agenda.
Our League members will be supporting the Lawrence League with 7 drives at Mercer County Community College. Joan Bharucha will be conducting voter registration drives in September at the West Windsor Farmers' Market. Harriet Warner is organizing drives in Somerset County high schools and community college - please contact her if you can help! Several other members will be conducting drives in their neighborhoods.
Presentation by Mercer County Clerk
Sandy report on the presentation by Ms. Paula Sollami Covello, Esq., on September 6 at the Lawrence Library, sponsored by the Lawrence LWV. Vote by mail applications are being sent to all registered voters in
Mercer County. The Mercer County Clerk is an elected position whose responsibilities include laying out the ballots and counting the votes in the voting machines. The Mercer County Board of Elections (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans appointed by the Governor) oversees the polling places and counts the mail-in ballots. Mercer County also has a Superintendent of Elections who oversees voter registration and is in charge of the voting machines; not all NJ counties have this position. Voters are purged from the poll books if they have not voted in 2 consecutive federal elections.
Ellen gave the treasurer’s report and we all joined in thanking Jessica for making the calls for callathon this year which provided our local league with a cut of the generous donations of members in our area.
November 14th is the next business meeting. A primary agenda item will be updating the bylaws to conform to the recent LWVUS and NJ versions and to address our Leadership Committee / nominations / officer structure.
Jennifer Howard offered to help Lee with a draft for the meeting. Please let them know if you have suggestions.
Jessica Knowlton volunteered to chair the annual dinner meeting in May.