November 2018 Meeting
Sandy Smith welcomed the six members who attended: Lee Forbes, Elizabeth Bates, Chrystal Schivell Jeanne Turner, Cindy Gordon, and Carin Lin.
Ellen Kemp emailed the report, which showed little change from last month. It was approved.
Sandy reported that the Princeton Area League now has 69 members, 10 more than in June. She noted with regret that Rita Ludlum passed away November 4. A tribute to Rita is on our Member News page. There will be a memorial mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 47 Skillman Rd, Skillman, NJ 08558 on November 24, 2018 at 11 a.m. and a celebration of life for friends and family at Stonebridge, on January 12, 2019, at a time to be announced.
A survey of voter service activities and statistics was requested by LWVUS and submitted by Chrystal.
Sandy reported that members of LWVPA participated in approximately 20 drives, registering about 150 voters. The drives were spearheaded by Joan Bharucha, Terri Flanagan, Jeanne Turner, Cindy Gordon, Kathleen and Madeleine Moriarity, and Sandy herself. At the Princeton University drive on National Voter Registration Day, members learned from a student about VOTE.org, a site that lets voters register in their home states – especially useful for students.
Much discussion ensued among members who had helped with registration about problems that occurred under the new Voter Registration and Application for Vote-by-Mail Ballot forms. They will try to get copies of the “Opt-out” form to include with registration materials.
Chrystal reported that in the local races covered by Jeanne Turner, Kathleen and Madeleine Moriarity, Marianne Mencher, Jennifer Howard, Jean Nitzberg, Sandy Smith, and herself, 70% of the candidates responded to the questionnaire. In the county races that she, Jennifer, and our intern covered, 42% of the candidates responded. LWVUS is collecting statewide and nationwide data about the number of voters who used VOTE411, but Google Analytics has not yet provided it.
On own website lwvprinceton.org, there were 848 users between October 1 and November 6, with 244 views of the New Jersey Ballot Question and 163 views of the Princeton School Board Candidates Forum video.
We discussed the need to sell VOTE411 to both voters and candidates, perhaps coordinating with other organizations like the Good Government Coalition of New Jersey (GGCNJ), but certainly exploring with LWVNJ ways to publicize VOTE411 more vigorously.
The forum for candidates for Princeton Board of Education brought out 50 voters, but another165 viewed the video (at least in part) online. Rebroadcast of the forum was the second most-watched program on Princeton Community TV in October. Three other forums were planned but canceled when some candidates declined to participate.
LWVNJ Advocacy for Voting Reforms
Chrystal summarized some of the positions, posted on LWVNJ’s website, for which the League advocates. They include fair districting, voting rights for parolees and probationers, early in-person voting, and a paper trail. There was discussion about how to become involved in such advocacy.
Statewide Voter Service Committee
Headed by Nancy Hedinger and Dawn Clarke, the committee will update the Voter Service Manual and address commonly encountered difficulties/questions regarding voter service. Some League policies may be changed. Chrystal is a member of the committee; others are welcome. If you have experienced problems or frustrations with registration, VOTE411, or forums that have been created by League policies and procedures, please let Chrystal know.
Dues for Students
It was agreed that LWVPA eliminate the membership fee for students to conform with LWVUS practice.
Sandy again suggested that we consider giving a yearly scholarship of $300 to a student who has helped with local League activities and perhaps naming it in honor of Rita Ludlum. This item will be on the agenda for the next business meeting on January 8, 2019.